Quantum Theory has had both an up and down development cycle and reception among gamers and the press, and for the second time it's back at E3 in hopes to revitalize excitement for the game. Last we heard from the Quantum Theory team, the game was delayed until the vague Fall 2010 area, and with that in mind Gaming Union got some hands-on time with the still in development game on the E3 2010 show floor.
The premise to Quantum Theory is quite simple. Leading man, Syd, and his partner, Filena, are fighting their way to the top of a dark tower that looms over a desolate world. The tower itself is more or less alive, constantly changing and morphing as Syd battles his way through it. Walls rise and collapse, and whatever cover you might be squatting behind might just disappear before you'd like it too.
For our hands on time, we were dropped into what we assume is the same area we've seen from the game time and time again: a well lit, high ceil, wide corridor with a perfectly smooth floor and walls, with boulders and other rock-like structures strewn about. Equipped with a shot gun, Syd was faced with an onslaught of large grunt-like enemies of quite the large stature, as well as a few enormous beasts with rocket launchers. Combat is balanced between hiding behind objects and peaking out to shoot, running and gunning (a very effective strategy we found), and hand-to-hand fighting. On top of this, Syd can chuck his partner, Filena, at enemies in various ways.
Shooting is quite standard as one would expect, and hand-to-hand combat is composed of using two buttons. With the two buttons, and nailing them in timed sequence, plenty of different combos can be strung together. Altogether the shooting, ducking, and fighting systems really allow the player to either play the game in a defensive, slower paced manner, using lots of cover, or in a very offensive manner, running and gunning, and stringing together combos and launching Filena at enemies to help take care of business. The aiming for guns needs work for sure however, as we had to seriously jack up the sensitivity of the aiming controls just to make offensive play doable. Even then it was far from smooth or natural.
On the graphical end of Quantum Theory, the game looks quite average for this generation, at this point in development. By all means they're likely to improve by the Fall release, but at the moment they look quite muted, lack detail, and all around don't add to the experience all that much. The area we played was mostly white, grey, and black; hopefully environments get more creative further into the game. So far from Quantum Theory we've only seen the same sort of environment every time, but some variety is definitely needed to keep it from being a repetitive experience.
AI was also not bad. Enemies hid from our fire, and when we snuck around, they didn't unnaturally know where Syd was before spotting him. All in all, the game looks like a promising experience if the final product does have the variety it desperately needs. So far the delaying of the title has seen it improve slightly, hopefully Tecmo Koei continues to make great use of their extra development time.