Time Is A Battlefield: Hands-On With 'Quantum Break'

Nearly three years since its initial reveal at E3, Quantum Break is finally close to launch on April 5, 2016. With a little more than a month to go, we were finally able to play the first act of the game to get a sampling of Remedy’s latest title.

Story Time

From the very beginning, Quantum Break places a big emphasis on its narrative. You play as Jack Joyce, who is summoned by his friend Paul Serene to help test a time machine. However, events turn for the worse as Jack’s brother, William (who is the main scientist in charge of the machine) interrupts the test because he believes that the device could produce catastrophic results.

As the story unfolds, we find out that Serene traveled far back in time to gain control of the device in the present day, and he eventually kills William. Now, it’s up to Jack to use his newfound powers (after exposure to the time machine) to avenge his brother’s death and kill Serene.

Laying The Scene

For some, the first half hour of the game can be quite slow. You’re forced to work through certain areas as you listen to the characters engage in conversation. Various locations also hold collectible items, which help with additional story details and should provide more insight into each character.

Once the time machine explodes, and Jack gets his new powers, the action begins to escalate. As Jack and William escape the time machine lab and evade the evil Monarch Corporation, Jack begins to discover his new powers, such as the ability to trap an enemy in a time bubble, or he can quickly dodge incoming shots and avoid damage. Jack can even raise a time shield around him, which stops projectiles in their path. Obviously, these powers have cooldown timers, so you’ll have to use each ability wisely as you take out multiple enemies.

In addition to his powers, Jack can also hide behind cover and use an array of weapons to shoot his way through a room full of enemies. These scenarios are bursts of excitement as you combine bullets and powers to force your way through foes. You can even use certain powers one after another to deal even more damage. Jack’s powers make for some intense actions scenes, and it’s interesting to see how you can use each ability to easily tear apart the Monarch forces that stand in your way.

Decisions, Decisions

At various points throughout the game, you’ll be able to control Serene as he makes crucial decisions that will affect Jack’s progress in the story. You can make Serene’s actions more aggressive with the “Hardline” choice, or you can choose the calm and calculated approach, also known as “P.R.” Before making a choice, you can see how each decision will play out over the next few chapters, which can help you choose between the two options.

To top it all off, the game also includes some live-action elements to advance the story. It’s strange that the game would switch from in-game graphics to a live-action shot, so I’m not sure why it’s in the game. Most of these scenes could have been rendered as an in-game cutscene, but it seems that Remedy wants to flex its storytelling muscles by providing various methods to show the ongoing plot.

Tick, Tock

The idea of time travel is bound to make most science fiction fans curious about the game, and Jack’s unique powers combined with guns could provide for some exciting enemy encounters. There’s so much more to uncover in the final game, but for now, it seems that Quantum Break has the potential to be an interesting title.

Follow Rexly Peñaflorida II @Heirdeux. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • Cons29
    saw a video of this, no offense, but I think it's feature might render the game too easy. at least based on what I saw
  • realnoize
    I'm curious about that game, mostly because I like what the developer made in the past, but really, no word about all cut-scenes in the game being streamed (on PC) instead of stored locally, requiring the player to be connected to the net at all times while playing? Even for a single-player game?

    As I understand, the cut scenes can be downloaded locally on Xbox One. But that option is absent for the PC version, which will require an online connection to view them.

    So really, while the game looks interesting, this kind of strike this game off my wishlist now. I play on a gaming laptop, and not always where there is an internet connection available. I don't like buying games that dictates where and when I'll be able to play them. Oh well, more money to buy other games.