Why Quantum Break Could Not Live Upto the Expectations

The time-manipulation mechanism wasn't enough to make it successful.

Why Quantum Break Could Not Live Upto the Expectations
Why Quantum Break Could Not Live Upto the Expectations

I still remember the hype surrounding Quantum Break when it was announced in 2015. How it promised a groundbreaking blend of video games and TV shows and a unique storytelling experience that would blur the lines between mediums. I was very excited about it, just like everyone else.

Developed by Remedy Entertainment, known for hits like Max Payne and Alan Wake, it was announced as a time-manipulating action game with a powerhouse cast.

Key Takeaways

  • Quantum Break’s mix of gameplay and live-action episodes was innovative but ended up interrupting the flow of the game.
  • While the concept of time manipulation was interesting, the story itself struggled with complexity and underdeveloped characters.
  • Similarly, the core gameplay of shooting and basic puzzles felt repetitive and often broke the flow of the gameplay and failed to satisfy players.
  • The game suffered from performance problems, especially on PC, with frame rate drops, crashes, and graphical glitches. All of these problems were enough to make players realize the game wasn’t going to live up to their expectations. 

It had all the ingredients for a masterpiece. But when I jumped into the world of Shawn Ashmore’s Jack Joyce, I couldn’t help but feel a gap. Turned out I wasn’t the only one and the game was lacking in some critical aspects.

A 9/10 rating on Steam might make it look like a success, but the point is it didn’t rise to Remedy’s standard, and the number of concurrent players ever since its release shows the real story.

While reflecting, I can recount a few reasons contributing to its under-performance:

Ambitious Concept But Flawed Execution

Quantum Break’s core idea was actually interesting: a game incorporated with live-action episodes. The player would play through a segment of the game, then watch a 20-minute episode of a TV show that continued the story.

I still think the idea was innovative: the show offers backstory and character development, while the game lets you take control of the action. This hybrid approach was meant to create an immersive experience, but it often did the opposite.

Quantum Break gameplay
Quantum Break’s gameplay got more attention – Steam

While the game segments were action-packed and visually stunning, the live-action episodes, meant to be the highlight of the game, felt rather like an interruption. It was the gameplay that got most of the attention and praise. Similarly, switching from gameplay to watching a TV show broke the flow of the game.

I remember getting really into a gameplay section, only to be pulled out and forced to watch actors I wasn’t that invested in. The pacing suffered because of this constant back-and-forth.

The episodes, although well-produced, didn’t always match the intensity or style of the gameplay. All it did was give players an inconsistent experience.

Storytelling That Missed The Mark

Even though Remedy Entertainment’s games are known for their storylines, Quantum Break’s story wasn’t up to the mark. For reference, the game follows Jack Joyce as he tries to fix a time travel experiment. The concept of time manipulation was great, but the story also had a shadowy corporation and a lot of scientific jargon.

Even when the time travel mechanics were cool, the story itself was complex. I especially thought that the character of Paul Serene, played by Aidan Gillen, was interesting but it felt underdeveloped.

The multiple timelines and repeated shifts in perspective made the story hard to follow. I found myself scratching my head more often than not, trying to make sense of what was happening.

It felt like the developers were competing with Christopher Nolan for a complex story but ended up confusing themselves.

The game also relied heavily on collectibles like emails and documents to fill in the story gaps. While this is common in many games, in Quantum Break, it felt like a chore. Having to take a break from the action to read through long emails took me out of the experience.

Predictable Gameplay

Every newly released game has bugs and glitches. The same was the case with Quantum Break. Many players reported issues like frame rate drops, crashes, and graphical glitches. I remember trying to run the game on my reasonably powerful rig and being frustrated by constant stuttering and screen tearing.

The time manipulation mechanic is actually my favorite feature of the game. Jack Joyce could freeze time, create time shields, and dash around enemies, which made for some exciting combat scenes. However, it was all overshadowed by repetitive shooting mechanics.

The enemies were mostly generic soldiers, and combat was usually very predictable. Enter a room, shoot some bad guys, move to the next room, and repeat. The innovative time powers were not enough to keep the gameplay fresh throughout the entire game. I often found myself wishing for more variety and challenge.

Quantum Break's gameplay
The time manipulation mechanic wasn’t enough to prevent a predictable gameplay – Steam

The game tried to incorporate puzzle elements using time manipulation, but these were few and far between. When they did appear, they felt more like a distraction than an engaging challenge.

Honestly, it was a good game just not a great game according to Remedy Entertainment’s standards.

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