Reviewed: October 7, 2010
Released: September 28, 2010
There is no conceivable circumstance where I could or would recommend Quantum Theory. It is not a good game. Itís desire to be Gears of War is admirable in a creepy stalker sort of way, but it really misses dozens of marks at every turn. The graphics are incredibly dated, the story is non-existent, character development is right out the door, but I will say this about Quantum Theory: it is functional.|
That really is the best thing that can be said about this Gears of War clone. It works. There were many instances of terrible direction in game play mechanics, but the act of actually playing the game is short on technical glitches and frustrations. That is not to imply that there are no frustrations -- there are many -- but it does imply that none of those frustrations were connected to the game crashing, or terrible glitches. Thatís the nicest thing I can say about Quantum Theory.
The words, ďGears of War clone,Ē will be featured in every review about Quantum Theory, and even just seeing a few screen shots of the game will make anyone understand why. If you were to quickly scroll down to see the screenshots on the end of this article, and quickly scroll back up, itís very likely that you would mistake the images for low resolution screen shots from Gears of War. Itís a cover shooter like Gears, but itís really the details that really make you wonder why Epic Games didnít send a cease a desist letter to Team Tachyon. Everything from the aesthetics, to the stories, to even the brief mortality of the characters of the two games are almost identical. Dilapidated post-apocalyptic city? Check. Giant character models with fingers the size of my neck? Check. Gigantic guns? Check. Enemies that emerge from the ground? Check. Arbitrary choices of branching paths? Check. Ambiguous story that attempts to create mystery by omitting important narrative facts? Big Ďol check.
The previous paragraph shows why the game is uninspired, and bland, but it is not the reason the game is bad. We love carbon copies of our favorite ideas. Many similar games are allowed to exist in the same genre. Itís a fact of creative media. Films do the same exact thing. Quantum Theory does take it a step too far, but the real reason the game is bad is because it is not fun to play. While the gameplay is functional (the greatest compliment I can offer), itís just dull. Very quickly after starting the game I was already scouring the Internet for a walkthrough. Not because I was stuck, or because the game is extraordinarily difficult. I was searching because I wanted to know how long the game was. I wanted to know exactly how many levels there were so I would always have a sense of how close I was to the end I was. As long as I could see the finish line, I knew I could make it to the end.
I just didnít care about anything that was going on. The story starts on an interesting note, but quickly turns into a, ďwhat the hell are you talking about?Ē series of anecdotal one liners, and forced character relationships. Why am I supposed to care? What is my goal? Who is my enemy? These things are never made entirely clear to the player.
The game does offer a small twist on the typical cover shooter mechanics. In later parts of the game, the landscape will change and shift, forcing you to stay on your feet to find new cover. This provides an interesting battlefield, but often the result is that your cover just suddenly disappears. There are also moving platforms that you can jump on to that will carry you to different parts of the levels. These sections turn into brief on-rail shooter segments. They work okay, but there will often be prompts that inform you to ďjump to the next area.Ē Those prompts have about as much context in the game as they do in this paragraph. What section are you talking about? Where am I supposed to jump? These things are never made entirely clear to the player.
Death brings up another debilitating aspect of the game. Checkpoints are terrible. I think thatís all that needs to be said about that. There is a multiplayer mode included on the disc, which is somewhat entertaining. Fighting real people is much more interesting, considering the incredibly low IQís of the enem AI in the single player.
All the guns have wide reticles of fire, so itís really difficult to pull off any kind of accurate shooting. Most battles result in two people running at each other trying punch each other, and then rolling circles until somebody dies. Exciting as that is (and Iím sure sounds), the result can be kind of bland. There is experience to be gained, and points to be earned, but it adds up to nothing more than a rank for your character. No unlockables, or other worthy incentives. The multiplayer mode ends up being a distraction, but nothing more.
Iím going to take another crack at some positive things to say about the game. Itís not unplayable. I have definitely played worse games. When it drops down to $5, I might even consider recommending it. Itís like one of those films that tries to capitalize off of the success of other popular films by creating a similar title, and having nearly identical box art. Quantum Theory looks, sounds and tastes like Gears of War, because it wants Gears of Wars fans to accidentally buy it. Those who do, and I hope you are not one of them, might even not hate it.
As a placeholder saving the shelf space for Gears of War 3, it could be a lot worse. The game works, and has some nice cut scenes, boob physics and some fleeting moments of production value. Ultimately though, it is just a waste of time and effort on the developers and the players part. Itís that time of the year when brilliant games are releasing every week, so there is absolutely no reason to swipe your debit card for this one.