Quantum Break: Washing those villainous stains from the fabric of time

How do you represent a temporal distortion without twisting your own fragile brain into a figure of eight? Hire christopher Nolan to film stephen Hawking stubbing a cigar out in a gaping black hole? Much like this intro, remedy’s take on the idea with Quantum Break doesn't have any obvious grounding in theoretical science but it does come in very handy when you’re fighting a man dressed in bullet-retardant hexagons, and you need to find a cover spot in a hurry.

Among the special abilities foisted on protagonist Jack Joyce is the ability to sprint through freeze-time, the fabric of reality flapping behind him like a badly secured carpet. it’s a glorious experience enemy battle chatter is sadistically paralysed midyelp as Jack streaks invisibly down the flank but at theend of the day it’s a dash move with a budget to blow, and the sense of slight disappointment this inspires covers much of what we’ve seen so far. As far as tardis simulators go, Quantum Break seems beautiful and bombastic but just a teeny bit pedestrian in terms of what you actually do.

Remedy, in fairness, has never advertised this as a game about horsing around with the fourth dimension. it’s a game about fixing that dimension, smoothing out history following (or should that be ‘before’? or ‘during’?) a botched quantum experiment at the sinister Monarch corporation, whose top exec can read the future. fold this premise together with the developer’s knack for a sizzling shoot-out and you get ‘time-amplified action gameplay’, other wise known as Gears of Warp Factor 9.

Jack can, for example, lock down a bubble of temporality in order to stop a foe in place, or serve as a sort of outlandish damage amplifier bullets fired into the bubble hang there until they’re unleashed all at once in a deadly, white-hot burst. He can also interact with certain objects that are suspended in time for tactical gain, perhaps nudging a car that’s in the process of flying across a road, so that it rewinds straight into a pursuer’s face.

fancy stuff but again, we’re talking about sci-fi riffs on a pair of very well-worn tricks, auxiliary fire modes and environmental traps. Perhaps the abilities remedy hasn't yet shown will elevate its Xbox one exclusive above the status of an imaginatively styled cover shooter. right now, though, it’s more “oorah” than Doctor Who.

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