With the Xbox One soon to head off into the sunset thanks to the arrival of the Series X/S it’s worth stepping back to revisit some of the games that made an impact here during this generation. Not all of them are exclusive but each of them resulted in many hours spent glued to controllers and that’s all that really matters. 🙂
Quantum Break may have a been a victim of Xbox’s early push into TV and games early in the generation but it’s execution is entirely unique and that it demonstrated TV episodes that changed based on the player’s decisions years before Netflix is still an impressive feat. I’ve yet to play Remedy’s recent release Control but I do think this game is massively underrated.
Taking on the character of Jack Joyce you witness an experiment that goes wrong resulting in time itself being fractured and Jack being imbued with powers to manipulate it. Though the gameplay focuses on Jack the game’s TV style episodes that played between chapters tended to focus on periphery characters and the impact your actions have on the narrative. We’re not massively branching stories here – more A or B type options – but it can be really neat seeing something you do in the game be referred to by live actors. These were not short episodes either (maybe 20-30 minutes each?) which meant you needed to be invested in the game to want to sit through each one; if you can survive Metal Gear Solid style cutscenes you’re probably OK! The story itself I enjoyed a lot and the lore surrounding the machine I thought was used smartly with the game working within its limits.
My biggest disappointment with Quantum Break is that we didn’t see more of it. I know the same could be said of Remedy’s previous game Alan Wake but that at least had a couple of DLC episodes and shorter spin-off game which this did not. As it stands it is an interesting step in the direction of what might have been if the Xbox platform went further down the rabbit hole that lead to it’s early woes this generation. I still enjoyed it though and really wished the developers got more credit for what they achieved during that crazy time.