Feature

Fight For The Top 50 2016 – Quantum Break

by Brian Shea on Nov 24, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Each year, we do our best to keep up with the games released so that we can make educated decisions when it comes to accurately rewarding titles a spot on our annual Top 50 list. Unfortunately, while the early months can be simple to stay on top of, we can quickly find ourselves buried under the avalanche of games as the year progresses, and several games wind up not having enough people organically playing it to argue for their spot on the Top 50. That's why we've done the Fight for the Top 50 each year in the lead up to our Game of the Year discussions. The goal is for a Game Informer editor to challenge another one to play a game they think was underplayed by the rest of the staff that deserves consideration for the Top 50.

For my game, I've decided to champion Remedy's innovative title, Quantum Break. With a big-name developer behind it and a unique concept that intertwines video games and a television show starring established acting talent, the title was shown off as one of the flagship titles for Xbox One leading up to the console's launch. Unfortunately, with it hitting a few years after the console's launch, I feel like a lot of the enthusiasm surrounding it fell off. Regardless, I feel it deserves a spot on Game Informer's Top 50 Games of 2016 list.

First things first: I really enjoy the gameplay of Quantum Break. While the gunplay is far from the best you'll encounter this year, it's competent enough that the awesome elements of the rest of the game can carry it. Those elements I'm talking about are the time-manipulating abilities of player-character Jack Joyce. The game drip-feeds you Jack's powers at first, but once you unlock all of Jack's powers, you can create some really cool moments within the gameplay. I always felt like a badass as I combined time bubbles with warps and time-dashes to take out full rooms of heavily arms guards. In that regard, Quantum Break nails it. I always looked forward to the gameplay segments of Quantum Break, and I wasn't often disappointed (except for a pretty terrible final boss fight).

Quantum Break is the most recent title from the studio behind series like Max Payne and Alan Wake, and it pushes that team's exploration of unique storytelling to a whole new level. For each couple-hours-long gameplay segment you play, you get to make a decision. The choice you make influences the future events of the story. That in and off itself doesn't sound particularly groundbreaking – games have been doing that for years now – but in addition to influencing the in-game sequences, your choices also affect the outcome of a live-action TV show. The TV show that is bundled with the game "airs" after each in-game decision point to not only further the story surrounding the events happening in the game, but also to show you how your choices are affecting the broader picture.

The live-action show has some strange moments where it feels like it begins to lose its focus, but it always circles back to the plotlines I cared most about. In addition, the production values are on par with nearly any show out there (save for some jarring CG sequences that don't quite work), and the cast features strong acting talent that has enjoyed high billing on shows like The Wire, Lost, The Following, and Game of Thrones. 

The Top 50 Challenge

As I previously mentioned, I feel  Quantum Break hasn't gotten its fair due this year due to a variety of reasons. Maybe it's the fact that this year has been exceptionally strong in terms of action games and shooters. Maybe it's because the game took so long to come out. Maybe it's the fact that it's hard to justify sitting through a TV show in the middle of being really into playing a game. Whatever the reason, I'm challenging Suriel Vazquez to give Remedy's latest game a shot and deliver his thoughts on if the game belongs on our Top 50 Games of 2016.

Come back tomorrow at 4 p.m. Central to see what Suriel thinks about Quantum Break and if he thinks it belongs on Game Informer's Top 50 Games of 2016.