Gamescom has brought back the excitement (at least among some) for the interaction between Quantum Break and its TV series. Personally, I’m not overly interested in TV series, so I’m going to be focusing mainly on the game itself.
I’ll just say that we were shown a scene in which the game and the TV series showcased exactly the same scene from different perspectives, and that was really, really cool.
That said, you’re very free to consider the TV series a nice additional bonus, but Quantum Break is a game, and it will live or die on his playable aspects.
The good news is that the game seems to have some very solid legs to walk (and quite possibly run) on its own, as the demo we were allowed to see behind closed doors in Cologne quite aptly showcased.
Interestingly, Remedy destroyed another ship in the demo, and this one is the second in two consecutive Gamescom. Creative Director Sam Lake mentioned during the presentation that they don’t hate ships. In fact they “love shipping, shipping games at least.” This really doesn’t have anything to do with the preview, but I thought I’d mention it, and give it the DualShockers award for the most awkward joke of the show.
I will also admit that I was very tempted to comment that said love must be the reason why they always take their sweet time doing the shipping, but I held back, until now. After all, I was the only one in the room to laugh, and that says a lot about my own crooked sense of humor.
Let’s get something out of the way: Quantum Break looks fantastic. I’m not exaggerating. Not only the models and textures are very detailed and stylish, but the cool lighting that pervades the world and the effects that give the time stutters their recognizable look create a mix that results in one of the most beautiful games I’ve seen on consoles.
Of course we haven’t seen much of the game just yet, but what we have seen is definitely a joy for the eyes, and gives me high hopes for what other teams will be able to juice out of the hardware in the future.
While unfortunately the live gameplay I saw was hands-off, so I didn’t get as much of a feel for the game as I would have liked to, the mechanics looked extremely interesting.
The protagonist can use a variety of time powers, here’s an overview:
- Time Blast: it breaks time in a focused area with destructive results.
- Time Rush: it allows running while time is frozen, escaping mortal danger.
- Time Dodge: a quick dash out of harm’s way.
- Time Shield: a protective bubble that can deflect bullets.
- Time Stop: freezes time in a focused area, including opponents and objects.
While those were the powers showcased in the presentation, Lake mentioned that they are unlocked through the story, so it’s very possible that there will be more. Each power has its separate resource gauge, so you can mix them up in order to maximize your flexibility in combat and during traversal.
While I mentioned traversal, don’t think about fast-paced parkour. When we’re stuck in a time stutter, we’ll have to work our way through the collapsing and imploding environment in order to come out on the other side unscathed, and that involves careful movement, timing and extensive use of the powers mentioned above.
The same goes for combat, that isn’t as fast paced as your usual action adventure or third person shooter. I would define it methodical, encouraging the player to take his time to move and use his powers tactically in order to maximize their effect.
From what I was given to see, the best way to handle combat is to always think a step ahead, making sure that you have your enemies exactly when you want them to, while you’re already planning your next move. It’s definitely a quite original approach to battle gameplay. The concept will have to be tested with the controller in our own hands, but it does have the potential to be really, really fun.
As the folks from Remedy played the game in front of my eyes, I was already considering what I would have done differently to kill the enemies in sight, and many of the plans that came to my mind definitely seemed feasible. That’s a very good sign.
Ultimately, Quantum Break has a whole lot of potential. It’s obviously a great showcase of technical prowess, but the gameplay seems to be definitely intriguing as well. If the two elements will integrate and mix as perfectly as it seems so far, we’re definitely in for a treat on April 5th, 2016.