Quantum Break Xbox One Review

April 3, 2016

Quantum Break is Remedy Entertainment’s latest cinematic action blockbuster, developed exclusively for Xbox One and PC. The game blends the strong storytelling elements of their previous title Alan Wake with the time-bending gameplay of Max Payne, culminating in one of the most memorable shooters of late.

Players begin Quantum Break as Jack Joyce, played by Shawn Ashmore, returning to his brother’s university at the behest of friend and leading innovator Paul Serene. Joyce and Serene power up a machine capable of transporting people back in time just as Joyce’s brother and scientist breaks in to stop them, warning of the dangers of playing with time. The machine inevitably powers up, and legions of soldiers from Monarch Solutions appear, pointing their weapons at Joyce. We learn that the machine has triggered what might just be the end of time as we know it, and Monarch Solutions see themselves as the only ones capable of setting things right, even at the cost of world destruction. Joyce, now with a newly granted set of powers manifested by the time machine allowing him to both bend and stop time, sets about foiling Monarch’s malevolent plans and uncovering the truth behind the time distortion.

Quantum Break continues Remedy’s strong storytelling pedigree, with interesting characters and a narrative well beyond your average run-of-the-mill videogame. This is largely due to an excellent script and strong performances of the Hollywood cast of Shawn Ashmore, Aiden Gillen, Lance Reddick and Dominic Monaghan. The characters are relatable, engaging, and drive the story with a sense of urgency. The game bounces back and forth between Joyce and Serene, giving players a deeper perspective of the character’s motivations. The narrative is broken up by several excellent live-action episodes that delve deeper into Monarch’s operations and the lives of their staff. The videos feature high quality production values and convey more of an episodic TV show experience. The result is a engaging, cinematic story with solid pacing and a desire from the player to never put down the controller (or perhaps the remote is a more apt description?).


Players are given the opportunity to change the course of Quantum Break‘s story. At several moments within the game, you can choose from one of several choice’s that influence the narrative. The player’s choices change both the direction of the live-action episodes and the path’s of the game’s characters. The outcomes are often clearly sign-posted, but nevertheless seeing how your choices affect the story can be enlightening and entice more than a single play through of the eight-hour plus campaign to see all possible results.

Quantum Break ticks the boxes for presentation and visuals, and also features excellent gameplay along the lines of Remedy’s original hit Max Payne. At it’s core, the game is a third-person cover shooter, but Jack’s time-manipulating powers adds another innovative layer of strategy. The shooting mechanics are on par with players expectations, and taking cover is context sensitive, meaning you automatically duck behind objects when close to them. While I personally prefer a manual cover system, where I can choose when to duck behind cover at the press of a button, Quantum Break‘s system is nevertheless solid and easy to get used to too.

Where the game really comes into it’s own, however, is with the time manipulation options. Players can activate a number of core powers that expand beyond the simple bullet time gameplay Remedy used in Max Payne. Jack can trap enemies in a time bubble, essentially freezing them on the spot and allowing him to unload a full clip of bullets into them. He can also knife at bullet speed around the environment and cast a time shield to stop bullets in midair. Using these powers gives players a number of options for defeating enemies, and learning to use them together is even more entertaining and creates a more tactical gameplay experience. In situations with more challenging enemies, using Jack’s entire range of powers is essential to staying alive, especially on the higher difficulty.


Jack’s full raft of powers is available from the get-go, but may be upped over the course of the game by locating upgrade points. This system encourages you to scout the environment so that you might build the strongest possible bank of powers. However, having to find all the upgrade points can sometimes feel like more of a chore. Several other collectibles can also be found throughout the game, giving more information to the narrative and the character’s back-stories. Some light platforming is also built into the game, and players often have to use Jack’s time manipulation powers to traverse a bridge or get to higher vantage point. Solving the platforming sections is always easy on the mind, and serves more as a pacing mechanism for breaking up the action-heavy sequences.

Quantum Break is a visual feast on Xbox One, with some of the best graphics to date on Microsoft’s console. The level of detail in the game’s world is jaw-dropping, with realistic environments, lighting and textures completely immersing players. The game also maintains a very consistent frame rate, even during action-heavy scenarios. Character models are top-notch, perfectly capturing the likenesses and expressions of their real-life counterparts. The transition from cut-scenes to gameplay is seamless, helping to convey the notion of playing a character from a TV series. My only negative observation is that the lip synchronisation can sometimes be a little off, which can be jarring when transitioning between the perfect live-action segments to the animated cutscenes.

Quantum Break is one of the best produced videogames of late, comfortably sitting among Remedy’s catalogue of hit titles. Many games might claim to create immersive and cinematic experiences, but Quantum Break truly delivers. The seamless integration of live-action episodes and gameplay creates a unique and engrossing game than feels very akin to a blockbuster television event series. Top-notch visuals, entertaining gameplay and a engaging story again demonstrate Remedy’s talent for crafting high-quality interactive experiences. Quantum Break is highly recommended to all gamers, especially those who love engaging stories and edge-of-your-seat action.


Story and live-action episodes | Time-bending powers & gameplay | Visuals


Upgrading powers can be a chore | Wonky lip-sync

Overall Score: