Microsoft has fully revealed Quantum Break, the new game from Max Payne and Alan Wake developer Remedy, by way of a room-shaking, live stage-demo at Gamescom 2014. Good Lord, was it worth the wait.
Taking elements of the previous series’ DNA, but combining them into a high-octane new blend, it looks as bombastic as it is creatively intelligent. Appearing at first to be Dishonored: The Cover Shooter, QB blesses its hero Jack with the ability to spontaneously bend and freeze time during combat. But while the initial uses for this power--such as evading enemies and breaking line of sight with a high-speed dash, or freezing a mook in order to empty an entire clip into him--are fairly expected, it rapidly gets much smarter. Frozen fuel tanks and cars can be detonated with precise timing. Some can be punched around the skirmish zone when locked outside of time, making for immensely powerful control of space and area-of-effect damage. When all of the above is combined with Quantum Break’s frenetic action, it looks part-shooter, part spatial-puzzle, part savagely aggressive RTS.
And speaking of looks, the game bleeds Remedy class through and through. An evolution of Alan Wake’s stark, rich lighting makes the game absolutely pop, but beyond that, the sheer fidelity of the world is unprecedented on new-gen consoles so far. Truly, these are the kind of graphics you’ve been waiting for the new hardware to deliver. And beyond that, Remedy’s talent for powerful, moody, disturbing production design appears to be 100% present and correct. During a quiet moment, navigating a bridge riddled with ‘time stutters’, Jack gingerly creeps between juddering, contorted, nightmarish tableaus of the carnage exploding around him. And its victims. Frozen but not safe, his surroundings demand careful navigation and cautious timing in order to survive. And those dynamic, cinematic camera-zooms into particularly harrowing images? Brutal and beautiful stuff. Remedy are back.