Quantum Theory Review

By Darryl Kaye on September 26, 2011

When Quantum Theory was revealed a few years ago, there was actually quite a lot of anticipation about the title. It was a PlayStation 3 exclusive that was meant to rival Gears of War, after all. However, since then it became multiplatform and was also delayed. It's easy to see why too, because Quantum Theory realises very little of its potential, which is a real shame.

The story of Quantum Theory revolves around a beefy guy called Syd. His background is rather hazy initially - he's just a big dude with some tattoos, a crazy red eye and a huge gun. He's also hell-bent on destroying "living towers" which have appeared throughout the world. His reason for doing so is actually quite flimsy and although his past is explained a bit throughout the campaign, it's very light on substance. A bit more is explained through orbs which can be collected throughout the game, but even this adds only marginal amounts of depth.

This is rather interesting, because the developers made a point of stating that they wanted to bring a richer story to the third person shooter genre. In short, they failed. Players are likely to care just as much about Syd at the start of the game, as they are at the end. Even the addition of a female side-kick, called Filena, doesn't really do much to build on the story either

When taking a look at the gameplay, things don't improve much either. The majority of it is rather standard. Syd can quick-run, take cover, shoot and aim - it all does its job, but none of it is overly inspired. There are also some parts that just don't even feel finished. For example, the running is very digital. Syd can only run in 8 directions; forward and back; strafing left and righ; and then the diagonals in between. It feels weird to experience this, because most games now have a left-stick that's completely analogue. After all, that's the whole point of the analogue stick - otherwise, you might as well be using a d-pad.

Quantum Theory Gameplay Syd

Quantum Theory does attempt to bring some originality to the genre though, and this is experienced when Syd and Filena are able to fight together. Syd can pick Filena up and throw her at a desired opponent and they can also perform combo melee attacks. The first part isn't actually too bad and it adds an interesting dynamic to the gameplay, but the second is quite annoying as quite often Filena's attacks will miss if the initial attack from Syd isn't lined up perfectly.

It also has a slightly interesting take on the cover system mechanic, but it's not exploited nearly enough. Because the game takes place in the "Living Tower", it is self-aware. And because it's self-aware, it can make life difficult. This means it can alter the cover whenever it chooses, or put in place destructible cover. It's a great concept, but it only comes into practice, in a meaningful way, a few times throughout the entire game. The one time it works really well is near the end of the game and only serves to emphasise that a real opportunity was missed.

What isn't exciting and engaging is the poor attempt at platforming sections. It's understandable why they're in the game, to break up the monotony of constant shooting, and they only succeed at that objective because they're so frustrating. The game will let the player know when they are able to jump between objects, but it's not infallible. In fact, in some instances it's quite easy to miss the intended target, because the game just tells you that you "can" jump from that point, not that it's actually a good point to jump from. So, sometimes jumps will be attempted, they will be failed and you'll have to go all the way back to the start of a checkpoint because of something menial. There are also some weird climbing sections too, where it's possible to roll up a wall and have the camera go crazy.

Quantum Theory Gameplay Syd Filena

A weird camera is just the start of the game's presentation problems. The character models aren't the best, the textures are very bland and the animations of characters are often very shoddy. For example, when anyone jumps over cover they feel the need to clear it by a huge margin. The AI is also a bit weird as despite often having superior numbers and being in defensive positions, they will frequently retreat and in doing so, open themselves up for attack.

The campaign will last around 6-7 hours and while there is a harder difficulty, there's almost no reason to go back and experience it again. There is also an online mode, but it's very bare. There are only a handful of game types and although options can be changed, it's still very limited. Also, and this is rather strange, when in a game it's not possible to even access a menu or check scores.

Final Thoughts

There isn't really a nice way to say this, but Quantum Theory is a huge let down. The game had some real promise with its dynamic cover system and a new take on melee combat. However, neither of these concepts were implemented fully and it means we're left with a game that doesn't even feel like it's finished. Quantum Theory is a game that should be avoided.

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