Quantum Break has been one of the most mysterious Xbox One games yet. Gamers (including yours truly) the world over have been dying to find out more about developer Remedy Entertainment’s follow-up to Alan Wake, especially regarding what the gameplay would be like. At gamescom 2014, the developer behind Max Payne’s groundbreaking bullet time and Alan Wake’s remarkably balanced light/dark mechanic finally gave us a taste of what we’ve been waiting for, and it’s clear that Quantum Break will be another Remedy title that perfectly combines a compelling narrative with awesome action.
But before we get into the action, let’s review the story so far. You are Jack Joyce, a man caught in the blast of a university’s failed time travel experiment who gains the power to manipulate time. Given that the explosion has also started to break down the fabric of time itself, this ability comes in more than a little handy. Quantum Break follows Jack as he fights to keep time from unraveling. Fighting whom, you ask? All we know so far is that a corporation called Monarch Solutions is opposing his efforts, which seems like a bad idea given his efforts are to save our very existence.
The behind closed doors demo of Quantum Break began much like the stage demo at the Xbox briefing (you can check that out above). Jack makes his way out of a room and onto a fire escape, where’s he greeted with a temporarily time-stopping flash of light that freezes a helicopter in mid-air. When time begins moving again, it’s clear that something is amiss, as Monarch has set up roadblocks despite the public’s protestations. When Jack gets down to ground level, he’s greeted by armed corporate stooges out for his blood.
This is where the demo got really exciting, as we were finally given a look at Jack’s awesome time-amplified powers. Gun drawn, Jack encased the closest thug in a shimmering sphere that froze him in his tracks. A few quick pistol blasts at the paralyzed enemy took him down in a blur, and before his friends could even turn around, Jack had briefly slowed time to change position. With his foes looking at he had been instead of where he was, he was able to drop one of them with a few tightly controlled shots before dashing around to another position. To finish off the final baddie, Jack did the time-stopping dash toward him and finished him off with a prompted (and badass) melee attack.
Moving on to the next area, Jack was confronted with a larger group of enemies. Dashing around and surprising enemies looks like a ton of fun, as does the gunplay. This is definitely an action game through and through, as evidenced by a sequence in which our hero charged up his time-stopping bubble to make it larger, then fired a few shots into a handy propane tank frozen alongside an enemy. The resulting explosion was shown from an alternate angle that really highlighted Quantum Break’s cinematic sensibilities.
After clearing all of the enemies from the area under a large bridge, Jack made his way up the side of it. Suddenly, a tractor trailer truck came barreling over the guardrail, stopping in mid-air thanks to a powerful time stutter that freezes both it and all of the action unfolding on the bridge. Taking some time to examine the scene, Jack sees protestors who’ve been gunned down by Monarch forces, with the perpetrators still in the act of firing. The oddly tranquil peace of the frozen scene is shattered by a hulking juggernaut in a heavy-duty exoskeleton that hurls a car at Jack.
A solid minute of cat ‘n mouse ensued, in which Jack takes out one of the two juggernauts, our hero’s back seems to be trapped behind car frozen mid-crash. Showing off the extent of his power, Jack unfreezes the car once his powerful enemy is in its path. Snapping from potential energy into brutally kinetic energy in the blink of an eye, the car crushes the juggernaut before it can even react.
Once the coast was clear, Jack continued up the bridge. While making his way across the top, the time stutter ends and a previously frozen cargo ship barrels toward him. Crashing into the bridge, the cargo ship tears it to pieces. As it collapses, another time stutter temporarily freezes some of the action while looping other parts, forcing Jack to make his way across the hard way. It was nice to take a closer look at some of Quantum Break’s platforming elements, which appears to be imaginative and challenging. Dodging broken chunks of ship and scurrying across catwalks suspended in midair, Jack finally makes his way to the deck, where he turns to see everything reverse and repairing itself. What in the world is really going on here?
This closer look at Quantum Break’s gameplay elements got us even more excited for the game. You can be sure that we’ll be bringing you more on the game between now and its release.