Have you ever thought to yourself, "˜Gears of War is a great game, but what it really needs is a Japanese inspired story and art direction'? If the answer is yes, then Quantum Theory is the game you've been waiting for. Developed by Team Tachyon and published by Tecmo, Quantum Theory doesn't try very hard to hide numerous similarities to Epic's Gears of War, expect that it's a PS3 exclusive. However, the game does purpose a few unique ideas to differentiate itself - the most important being the interaction between the two main characters, and the ever changing environments.
Quantum Theory is set in a world where a catastrophic world war has ripped apart most of the human race, to the point where only a few survivors remain. Those that survived the war are now threatened by a strange, dark force known as "Erosion" which has turned the landscape into a post-apocalyptic wasteland. A militia is soon formed to attempt and destroy the heart of Erosion which lies inside the giant "Living Tower". Players take control of Syd, a stalwart warrior whose only objective is to annihilate the tower. He soon teams up with a mysterious female companion named Felina. Together the two must reach the top of the treacherous tower in order to save their world from certain destruction.
The interaction between Syd and Felina is a major element of Theory Quantum that Team Tachyon believe will separate it from the crowd. Aside from the standard, Gears-esque third-person shooter combat and cover mechanics, players can perform special moves and generate combo attacks by combining the skills of both Syd and Felina. For instance, if a turret emplacement is pinning Syd down and isn't susceptible to a frontal assault, Syd can throw the more agile Felina behind the turret gunner, causing him to leave his post and allowing Syd to move up and catch him off guard. The two main characters can also perform joint melee attacks and combos, increasing the damage dealt to an opponent significantly.
While these maneuvers are generally optional, there will be points in Quantum Theory where teamwork is mandatory. The boss fight Team Tachyon showcased forced Syd to throw Felina at the beast, causing him to grab her and thereby exposing his weak point. This style of gameplay lends itself perfectly to cooperative multiplayer, but unfortunately Quantum Theory will only feature a single-player campaign. Felina is always controlled by the AI which seems like a huge missed opportunity.
The other unique element of Quantum Theory is the shifting environments inside the "Living Tower". Since the Tower is alive it's able to alter the battlefield at will which pose challenges for Syd and Felina on their quest. One such challenge is the ability for the game to randomly alter cover - Syd could be taking refuge behind a wall one second only to find himself completely exposed the next, creating a more dynamic battlefield. Another example, which allows the developers to incorporate complex platforming, is the moving portions of each level. Syd will be forced to make precise leaps for one moving platform to another in order to progress, often without warning.
Quantum Theory certainly isn't the most original game concept in the world, with the developers inspirations in plain view, however, there are a few intriguing aspects which could make the game worthwhile. The interplay between the two main characters and the dynamic environments are interesting additions to the third-person shooter formula popularized by Epic. It remains to be seen how far Team Tachyon will take them. PS3 owners can look forward to Quantum Theory sometime later this year, currently scheduled for a summer 2010 release in North America.