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Quantum Break (PC) review: A time-bending adventure hobbled by technical mishaps

Hayden Dingman | April 18, 2016
Microsoft's push into PC gaming continues to be hobbled by shoddy PC ports.

Whatever the case, the point is that Quantum Break is a terrible ambassador for Microsoft’s already-hated Windows Store walled garden and a terrible example of DX12 in action. Again, it's not unplayable! If your goal here is to simply go through Quantum Break without buying an Xbox One, you can probably do that. Double-check your specs, but I managed to mostly stay above 30fps at 720p-upscaled...on a GeForce GTX 980 Ti.

Just writing that sentence makes me laugh, though. A GTX 980 Ti should breeze through this game like a car strapped to a jet engine. That I sometimes noticed dropped frames and stuttering? Unthinkable.

Quantum Break

Remedy’s aware of the issues, and Remedy is apparently working on them. But the fact remains that while the game is playable, it’s certainly not polished. When it comes to ports, that makes all the difference.

Okay, now that that’s over

What makes the whole situation more criminal is that Quantum Break is damn good, though probably not an instant classic like Max Payne, or even a cult-classic like Alan Wake. The universe/aesthetic here isn’t quite as memorable as either of Remedy’s previous games.

But it’s undeniably Remedy, and undeniably weird. The game opens with you—Jack Joyce, a.k.a. bland shooter guy—being called to the local university to meet with your old buddy Paul Serene, who just so happens to be a millionaire building a time machine. Childhood friend. You know how it goes.

To absolutely no genre fiction fan’s surprise, Paul’s time machine pretty much explodes, opening a fissure in time and essentially kickstarting the end of the universe. Oh, and conveniently endowing you with time-warping powers that allow you to freeze time, dash/teleport like a maniacal human pinball, and make time...explode? Something like that.

Quantum Break

Really all you need is the dash move. With it, Quantum Break plays pretty much like Max Payne. You run into a room, dodge around, slow down time, crack off a bunch of one-hit-kill headshots with the heavy pistol, and repeat. It actually makes the game laughably easy on the PC, and belies the fact this game was clearly built and balanced around a controller’s imprecision. But so it goes.

There are five acts to Jack’s story, centered around him and his quantum physicist brother William trying to prevent the “End of Time,” which—corny name aside—is a moment in the future where time will seemingly unravel and freeze forever.

...Unless you have the technology to counteract it. Jack’s main obstacle is the shadowy Monarch Corporation, a company founded seemingly in preparation for the End of Time. They’ve developed an Ark, a secret facility where they can keep time running and hopefully “solve” the End of Time.

 

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