Most of the time I try not to get dragged into comparing games to other games when typing up a review. Quantum Theory makes that nearly impossible when nearly every aspect of the game is copied from Epic’s beloved Gears of War series. From the color palette to the button configuration, this game feels like it was destined to be the PS2 prequel to the series. I say that because what they failed to bring with the cloning was a deftly crafted experience. While it may look, sound and feel like the locust-bashing game we have all come to know and love, this is one experience you will want to steer clear of even when it hits budget bins.
The story in the game was the one area I could potentially get behind. The premise lies behind these mysterious Arks that pop-up around the world. They turn soldiers into monsters and generally lay waste to the surrounding area. It isn’t the most award-winning idea, but at least it is somewhat fresh. You play as Syd, a rough drink of water that looks half-turned himself. Now the premise intrigued me, but the execution and writing ruined every aspect that seemed interesting.
Syd joins up with some humans to take over the latest tower, who inevitably all die before they reach the main area. Syd then meets up with a new female sidekick (he had one in the intro where he was destroying a previous tower) who he joins forces with to wipe out boring room after boring room. The story never manages to get off the ground and the voice acting is so bad, it is impossible to take anything the characters say seriously.
Story aside the game could still have been a winner. I am a sucker for just about any shooter, but when you can manage to bore me within the first hour that is not a good sign. From the outset you can feel the developers were aiming for the same visceral stop-and-pop combat that has made Gears of War so popular. The controls here are nearly identical minus the active reload functionality. Still even with the copy and paste mentality the game falls flat at almost every turn. For one the shooting feels random and the cover mechanic is poorly implemented. There are several areas where cover is nonexistent and enemies run head-first at you just to stop and punch you in the face. There are several instances of this random gameplay that make every room feel like just another hurdle to reach the end.
The one thing Quantum Theory attempts to do to spice things up is the addition of platforming. Yeah as you can imagine trying to pull this off with the Gears perspective and control scheme is as frustrating as you can imagine. Syd’s awkward jumping animation ends up in cheap deaths over and over again. The other dynamic is the addition of your female companion that you can hurl at enemies and watch her slice them up. This is a cool idea once again hindered by execution. Your partner’s AI is downright brain-dead and more often than not you will be scraping her up off the ground after an enemy encounter.
This is sadly the running theme with Quantum Theory. The game even hosts an online mode that I was completely unaware of until my review copy arrived. As I expected once I logged onto the servers (both PS3 and 360) the lack of players to be found was staggering. Most games have a serious lack of combatants in the first week of play, but QT literally was a ghost town. Only a few hundred leaderboard entries and plenty of sitting in an empty room waiting for players to join. Unless you know a solid group of people planning to get online, the multi-player might as well have not been added.
I really wanted there to be something redeeming about the game as I love third-person shooters in general. I thought maybe at least the visuals would be a tour de force that would give Gears a run for its money. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This game is ugly at almost every turn. It already sports the dark look, but combined with horrid animations, shoddy textures and some truly uninspired locales. Somehow the frame rate also manages to stutter more often than not. There is simply nothing about the visuals that stand out. The character designs are lacking and enemy types are limited. Sound doesn’t fare much better with some uninspired music and truly terrible voice acting. The main character has about as much personality as a wart.
Quantum Theory was certainly never expected to replace our favorite shooters on the market, but at the same time I don’t think anyone could have imagined it would be this disappointing. There is no reason to pick this game up. It is devoid of any redeeming factors including the novelty of being a terrible game. There are better terrible games out there with some satisfaction behind playing them. Quantum Theory lacks any personality whatsoever and deserves to be ignored as it is likely to be during this holiday rush of fantastic alternatives.
Review copy provided by publisher.