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← Quantum Break Review

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Showing Revision 10 created 03/19/2018 by bunnysteak.

  1. "(Jack)This is what you need to know."
  2. "Time broke, a growing fracture leading to
  3. the end of time."
  4. "And of course,
  5. time travels."
  6. "(Clarice) Jack!"
  7. "(Jack) Going too fast for you?"
  8. Quantum Break is the latest third-person
  9. shooter from Remedy, the same studio that
  10. brought us Max Payne way back in 2001,
  11. and boy, does that lineage show.
  12. Like that game, this one revolves around a
  13. flashy gimmick that serves to differentiate
  14. its gameplay a bit from that of other, more
  15. straightforward third-person shooters.
  16. And like Max Payne, as well as Remedy’s
  17. 2010 game Alan Wake, it stars a dude
  18. who cannot stop narrating his story for us.
  19. "Paul has always been hungry for success."

  20. "Time, is going to end."
  21. "That was the first time my powers started to manifest."
  22. Sadly, Quantum Break’s story is just a mess.
  23. Because of reasons, time is fractured,
  24. stuttering with increasing frequency and
  25. possibly approaching a point at which
  26. it just breaks down completely.
  27. Different men have different ideas
  28. about how to deal with this problem,
  29. and they fight with each other while
  30. uttering standard lines of dialogue like
  31. “It doesn’t have to end like this.”
  32. There are very few clear rules established
  33. in Quantum Break about how time works.
  34. It just behaves in whatever way it needs
  35. to behave to throw the characters into
  36. another complication or to give the
  37. main character new powers.
  38. Things just happen because they’re
  39. convenient for the story, so there’s
  40. nothing clearly at stake.
  41. You might argue that the quality of
  42. the story in a game like this isn’t all
  43. that important, but the thing is that
  44. Quantum Break really wants you to
  45. care about its story.
  46. You see, Quantum Break is one part game,
  47. one part live action TV show,
  48. and a good chunk of your time is spent
  49. watching the four live-action episodes
  50. that play out over the course of the game.
  51. And they’re just such generically bad TV,
  52. filled with cliché dialogue and cookie
  53. cutter characters, right down to the comic
  54. relief tech geek hacker type that seems
  55. to be a necessity these days in every
  56. mediocre crime drama.
  57. "(Brenner) That's pretty awesome."
  58. "(Charlie) laughs it's... cell phone rings shit."
  59. There are a few fine actors here, including
  60. Lance Reddick, who proves he can bring
  61. gravitas to even the goofiest material.
  62. "(Martin) Do I look threatened to you?"
  63. But the most that decent acting can do
  64. here is serve as a smokescreen to distract
  65. us from just how bad the story actually is.
  66. Quantum Break is, at its core, a tale of
  67. three men. You play as Jack Joyce, a man
  68. who comes away from a time travel mishap
  69. with the ability to manipulate time in specific ways.
  70. It’s sort of like last year’s adventure game
  71. Life Is Strange, only instead of using its
  72. concept to explore relationships and
  73. serious, real-life issues like bullying and
  74. suicide, Quantum Break just uses it as a
  75. source for spectacle.
  76. Jack’s brother Will is an eccentric genius,
  77. and the villain, Paul Serene, is a powerful
  78. CEO of a massive corporation named Monarch.
  79. Both Will and Paul’s characters are just
  80. recycled archetypes without any new flavoring.
  81. Quantum Break doesn’t even try to break
  82. from traditional male-dominated convention here.
  83. The TV show portion of the game also
  84. spends a lot of time on a supporting character
  85. named Liam Burke. Burke gets into weird
  86. escalator kick fights!
  87. Burke unleashes manly screams while
  88. strangling someone to death in a hospital
  89. as a bunch of people just stand around and watch!
  90. Burke has a pregnant wife who he would
  91. do anything—ANYTHING—to protect.
  92. Games and other mainstream media often
  93. reinforce the false notion of women as fragile
  94. and men as protectors whose role and
  95. responsibility requires them to do anything
  96. to either protect or avenge their families
  97. —Max Payne was definitely in this mold, too—
  98. but Burke is a particularly bland and
  99. formulaic take on this character type,
  100. and that’s really saying something.
  101. In Quantum Break, men are the prime actors
  102. and doers. Men are the ones with vision and
  103. ambition, who set things in motion and who
  104. then do whatever they can to make things
  105. go their way. The only female character
  106. who gets any real development is Beth Wilder,
  107. who helps Jack for reasons that aren’t
  108. immediately clear. In one of the game’s
  109. only moments that even come close to generating
  110. actual interest in its characters, we do
  111. eventually get to know Beth’s history and
  112. her motivations. Her main purpose here,
  113. though, is to serve as a love interest for
  114. Jack, and she’s ultimately more important
  115. for the emotional impact she has on him,
  116. than she is as an individual in her own right.
  117. "(Beth) My ride, my music. Deal with it."
  118. It’s also worth noting that like most of
  119. the enemies, Beth works security for the
  120. Monarch corporation. She must be the only
  121. woman on a team otherwise made up of
  122. hundreds of men, because there are no
  123. female combatants in this game.
  124. As for the combat, there’s a certain novelty
  125. for a little while to the spectacle of
  126. Quantum Break’s action.
  127. Seeing environments shatter in slow motion
  128. and seeing people get stuck in time looks pretty cool.
  129. But that’s all it does. Quantum Break’s
  130. structure feels overly familiar and predictable,
  131. from the heavy enemies it introduces with
  132. the weak points on their backs to the
  133. checkpoints near the end in which it throws
  134. so many enemies at you that you just
  135. want it all to be over.
  136. It’s unfortunate that Quantum Break’s
  137. ambition to tell video game stories in a
  138. new way is wasted on a story that
  139. doesn’t do anything new.
  140. The game doesn’t seem to care if it makes
  141. any sense or if its story actually tries to say anything.
  142. All it cares about is being “awesome” in
  143. the most insubstantial way possible,
  144. in the sense that it’s “awesome” to watch
  145. a locomotive crash again and again and again.
  146. There’s nothing underneath. Maybe, in 2001
  147. when Max Payne came out, a flashy gimmick
  148. was enough to make the mere act of
  149. filling hundreds of dudes with bullets
  150. more than a hollow exercise. But not now.
  151. We’re not actually stuck in time. But playing
  152. Quantum Break, it sure feels like we are.
  153. "(Will) If time is an egg, then that egg"
  154. "is fucking broken. The time egg is fucked."
  155. "(Jack) What? Why is there an egg in this?"