Review: Quantum Theory
Despite what you may have heard before now, Quantum Theory is in no manner a bad game. It is neither an excellent nor remarkable game, but it is certainly not a bad game. It is a third person shooter that is strikingly similar to another popular TPS franchise, but you’ve heard all that already.
What you haven’t heard is that this game presents a premise, story and ambiance that are unlike any shooter on the market. It’s got a better story than most shooters I would gamble. In understanding why this game is worth your time, you must evaluate all aspects of it.
“Humanity can evolve past its petty tendencies and I will make it do so. My methods themselves will live and grow as humanity grows. Long after I am gone, my legacy will shine brightly throughout the world and humanity will look upon its benevolent splendor and know the world is good.”
The game’s story is anarchical and sweeping. Humanity has practically committed suicide, ravaging the planet into a war torn wasteland. The remaining humans have gathered together and lived in colonies. Over time a tower began to appear.
At first it stood solemnly growing, and then it began to change. From the tower came a terrible dark decay called the Diablosis. The Diablosis infected everything it came into contact with, spreading like a disease and destroying all plant and wild life.
When the disease infects humans, they become mindless and depraved killers, destroying each other. The humans have attempted to breach the tower and purge the source of the dreadful disease, but they are unable to because the tower’s defenses are too powerful.
The tower orders its inhabitants and powerful technology to repel humans. This is because, the tower is alive. Within the tower live two kinds of beings: the Nosferatu and the Gillskin. The Nosferatu are a golden race who exists to protect and defend the tower and the Gillskin are a purplish mutated life who basically exists to…kill the Nosferatu.
This element ties into gameplay nicely because you will sometimes be able to handicap a large group of enemies. In battle with either faction, the other might show up, giving you a distinct and exciting advantage. While this may seem a little odd, you will learn as the story progresses that the Gillskin and the Nosferatu contribute to a very fragile ecosystem, and it is interesting to say the least.
Towards the beginning of the game, our hero Syd is apprehended by a militia of humans preparing an assault on the tower. Syd knows that none of the humans will be able to breach it, but he will. This is because, Syd has done it before.
The only character in the game who knows that there are actually many more towers like this scattering the planet is Syd and it remains that way until the very end. Don’t worry, that isn’t a spoiler, but take it from me; your first play through will be a lot more enjoyable knowing that information.
Syd has conquered towers before. In fact, he does so in the very first sequence of the game. The Gillskin female who is alongside him at this point is about to die because nothing born in the tower can exist when it dies. Why is Syd able to do these astounding things legions of people cannot?
Because he’s not a human but instead is a mutated Gillskin, capable of advanced interaction, like interacting with humans. The living tower is thriving with the terrible Diablosis. The wall you were taking cover behind is swiftly swallowed up as it attempts to aid its inhabitants in killing you.
Inside the tower, Syd eventually befriends a Nosferatu who is intent upon destroying the core of the Diablosis, which is turning her people into killers and is why she is able to team up with a mutated Gillskin. Her name is Filena. These characters and the setting culminate to present a thoroughly engaging and interesting story. Consider this; since Filena was born in the tower, what does that mean for her if Syd destroys it?
I bargained a second play through simply to grasp a further understanding of it. The post-apocalyptic, anarchical, and multi-layered story is thoroughly entertaining, and I doubt you’ve ever experienced a similar affair in a shooter.
I would even go so far as to say it made me think of Bioshock. In terms of story, I honestly think it’s a buck better than that other TPS, though the presentation could have been stronger and a little more memorable. It is unarguably unique.
The graphics are nothing fantastic but they are well done. Certain moments look stunning and others are uninspired. All in all, they’re pretty good and the cut-scenes at the end of the game look wonderful. Again, they aren’t the best graphics, but they aren’t bad. Kind of like the game itself.
The gameplay is, and I’m going to be frank with you, very similar to that other game, but it has its own differences. For example, there is no limit to how long you can hold the run button. The gameplay during instances where you can use Filena are very entertaining, but things get a little repetitive when they separate you.
You can pick Filena up and throw her at enemies, opting to either stun a group of them or heavily damage an individual. It is an interesting mechanic and makes up for the lack of grenades or other similar explosives in the game. She is also a competent fighter on her own, handling enemies much faster than you at first.
She also engages in dialogue with Syd, saying things like “Nice shot” or “Try firing straight; you might actually hit something.” It isn’t outstanding but it’s a nice touch. There is a nice weapon variety with all your staples: shotguns, sniper rifles, machine guns, and the whole lot.
Their names and visual reorientation sets them above those monotonous titles though. Guns like Grendel, Brimstone, and Revenant add to the game’s sci-fi, almost fantasy ambiance. I was really a fan of the melee combat as well. You can swing at an enemy with the gun, and then combo with Filena if you get the timing correctly.
It will take a few tries to get used to, but they have some very satisfying results. You can also focus-attack an enemy, which is done by running and then attacking as you near the enemy, and the timing is pretty forgiving. Running and taking cover are so similar to that other game it’s frightening, but putting that out of your mind, they work pretty well.
You also get these awesome animations when you pull off a successful head shot. Aside from being wonderfully gory, it breaks up the gameplay nicely and makes you feel pretty cool. I don’t think I have ever seen one while playing online.
I love how you can run endlessly in a straight line. It helps put space between you and enemies and is an important component in the online modes. The only downfall to this is that it’s sometime difficult to turn corners and enter cramped spaces.
Rolling is a useful action as well, although I didn’t need it too much during single player. The environments are varying and kind of strange. They have a very artistic flair and the architecture is completely unique. Some of the inspired stages wouldn’t be out of place in an RPG and I found them to be phenomenal.
Such a setting has seldom been explored in shooting games and it feels fresh. Ammo is handled appropriately, although there were one or two instances where I had run out of ammo and had nowhere to turn. There are a number of times when you’ll be swept away on a throbbing segment of Diablosis, and you’ll have to shoot enemies from all sorts of bizarre angles.
Some of these sequences where too long and I can’t lie; I didn’t particularly enjoy them in general. There are a lot of times when they are fun, like in the Trachea level. I think that they are well done, regardless. You’ll also need to make use of a look button from time to time, but honestly it only turns Syd in the direction he should be heading.
In combat it will show you the nearest enemies, but I can honestly say that throughout the progression of the game I rarely, if ever, saw what they prompted me to “look” at. He just looks at walls most of the time, but this does tell you where you should be heading.
This is another thing that reminds you a lot of that other TPS, but in this aspect it’s a little irritating considering it works better over there. You could probably say that about a lot of things in the game, but I’m sure you’ve heard it by now. You will experience a good number of cheap deaths as you perverse the tower.
Like what happens when all the little crawling Nosferatu attack in sync. And the auto save could be a lot better. I sometimes got killed and sent to the beginning of the stage when I distinctly remember one or two points that could have been checkpoints along the way.
Looking at the bigger picture though, it kind of reminded me of the tough games of my youth that were unforgiving in their punishments for loss. The bosses are fun, most of them providing a good amount of challenge. The final boss was a little difficult though, and required a ton of tries to complete.
The music in this game is phenomenal, especially in the early and later parts. It is so dramatic and sweeping, and it’s a true standout of the title. Some of the boss themes are excellent too. The sweeping orchestral arrangements add to the urgency of the story and is very ambient. I extend my utmost compliments to the composer.
The campaign has a satisfying conclusion and sets the stage for another game, which we may or may not see based on sales. The online play…well it’s a mixed bag. There are four game modes, one death-match, one team based; one that I think is like Capture the Flag, and a custom game mode.
Unfortunately, the reason I can only think that Controlled Chaos is like Capture the Flag is because I’ve never had the opportunity to play it since no one has ever been in a match. As of October 1st, the online community for the PS3 is dwindling at best.
If you boot up a game and no one in the world is online, which has been the case with me two of three times I’ve been on, it feels frustrating and sad. Simply go create a match and then wait, wait, wait.
It can take anywhere between thirty minutes to an hour to get a game going, and the handful of people who play are generally decent folks. You’ll want to immediately add anyone you play with, just so that you can try to catch them when they’re back online to continue playing.
It really goes to show you how the reception has hurt this game’s sales. This unfortunate situation is really a shame because it’s really good fun when you get to play. You can choose from a variety of characters that appeared in the campaign, although in reality there are just two character types: The infected/Syd, and the Nosferatu/Filena.
In this way, the game is very different from that other TPS. First of all, the female characters are fast, nimble and agile, giving a refreshing feeling to the combat, especially after playing through the entire campaign with only Syd. These characters can also use long swords in combat, which allow them to maintain a safe distance from their powerful counterparts.
The females are fun to play within the team based modes, but I don’t recommend picking one in a free for all. Most players use male characters and in some of the tight, cramped levels; it’s suicide for a female character.
Most of the levels are crafted nicely, like the hall which rewards the diligent team with a powerful turret. Each area has specialized hiding spots for snipers and the like, but you have to find them to make use of them. The females have the edge in team based play because a team of them can quickly decimate a foe with melee attacks, but males have the advantage in free-for-all because of the heavier and more powerful guns they can carry.
The online play is very fun, but alas, almost nobody plays it on PS3 and matchmaking can be the most irritating task you’ll face in the game. All things considered, I’d have to say that I recommend Quantum Theory. While it is absolutely beyond me how people have came up with such ridiculous scores for this game, in truth it’s better than you’ve heard.
The fact that this is a Japanese developer’s first foray into the TPS genre is noticeable in both many good and many bad ways. For one thing, the game’s ambiance and swag is unlike any other shooter available, bar none. The story is rich and engrossing, the world is varying and detailed, a remarkable soundtrack and the game is altogether a very unique experience.
Reversely, comparisons to that other game are inevitable. Contrived mechanics add nothing to the genre and the online community is more ravaged than the world in which the game takes place. There is the gaping absence of Co-op play, which is ridiculous considering how well done and easily it could have been implemented and also a lack of local multiplayer making the game, in a nutshell, less worthwhile than many other shooters available. That being said, it’s worth playing for the campaign alone.
Tecmo Koei may have struggled to get things exactly right with this one, but it wasn’t too far from the mark. With the experience of this game under their belts, I’m actually hopeful that we’ll see another entry into this new IP. The game’s full potential may not have been realized, but I’d be lying to say it didn’t put on a good show.
If you’re that rare breed of gamer who plays a shooting game for its narrative value, you should definitely think about giving Quantum Theory a shot. Regarding the online, perhaps more people play it on the Xbox 360, but I don’t know for certain. Whatever consoles you game on, don’t let mob mentality convince you that this game isn’t worth playing because it definitely is.