Quantum Theory is a third person shooter from Tecmo Koei, their first in the genre, and it is a damaged clone of the great games in whose footsteps it follows. I would like to say the game was too ambitious and that is why it fails on nearly every level, but that is not the case, it is just simply a bad game.
The story features a completely generic and unbelievably ugly (some of the worst character textures I have seen this side of PS2 games) protagonist named Syd. This hulking scarred brute is on a mission to destroy Living Tower which is the source of Erosion, which is the source of the corruption that is taking over the remaining pockets of humanity. Apparently there was a great war and in the aftermath this Erosion appeared and then other stuff happened. The story is barely there, the motivation for Syd’s journey is never really explained properly, and who he is never really clear. The characters are so paper thin you could have swapped them out and put anyone in their place and it would not have mattered.
The developers try to add some interesting dynamics into the game with the introduction of your female companion Filena. She is a lithe sword/gun wielding character and is one of the only mildly positive points in the game. She joins Syd reluctantly as he explores the tower and they team up to eliminate the enemy forces constantly rushing you. They have a couple of joint attacks that add a small twist to gameplay. Syd can pick up and throw Filena at an enemy and she will slice them to pieces or he can hit buttons in sequence during melee to have her join in. These additional tweaks are useful at times, but not necessary and mostly underused because of how weak the gameplay is on the whole.
Speaking of gameplay, the developers of Quantum Theory owe Cliff Bleszinski and Epic a royalty check (if the Quantum Theory developers make money which is doubtful) and an apology. They seem to have looked at the Gears of War series for nearly all of the inspiration for their game, but implemented it what they found in a sloppy, unimaginative and broken way. Let’s break down the game mechanics and styles shall we:
- Cover System? Check. In Quantum Theory you can stick to cover, vault over cover, shoot from cover and shoot blindly. The problem is the cover is not context sensitive and requires button presses to get in and out cover (and the presses don’t always register). You can’t leap to other cover, the blind fire is useless, and the aiming is so broken that firing from cover is nearly pointless.
- Carry multiple varied weapons? Check. There is a suspiciously familiar D-pad selection system for the weapons, there are “many” weapons but most of them are just more powerful or altered versions of the standard shotgun, machine gun, sniper rifle, and launcher styles of weaponry.
- Movement and melee systems? Check. You can ‘dash’ which I swear is an animation rip from Gears of War, with head down and a bobbing run. You can melee with your weapons which also look eerily familiar in the wide swipe animation that is used.
- Enemies are varied and intelligent? Laughable. The enemies are varied and have the intelligence of a mule. They again follow the Gears‘ model of brutes — bigger brutes and faster more agile smaller creatures, but none of the enemies have any personality whatsoever and they always, always follow the same patterns when attacking. The shotgun brutes rush you from cover to cover; the rifle ones hang back and peek out at regular intervals.
- Co-op gameplay? There are 2 characters (Syd and Filena) and they team up at times but it is always controlled by Syd via your actions as the player. Tecmo Koei could have found a way to add some fun and originality by implementing Co-op but they didn’t.
As mentioned many times and in nearly every review and preview, Quantum Theory is a Gears clone through and through but the heart and spirit that makes Gears so great is completely missing from this title. Even the throwaway multiplayer modes that I was barely able to try (there was no one playing the game on the PSN) are unimaginative and in no way distinguish the minor differences Quantum Theory has from Gears.
It has to be said again that this is also one of the ugliest textured games I have ever played through. The faces, armor, weapons, environments, and enemies all look like lumps of half molded clay painted dark colors (except Filena who wears white). The rest of the game from an aesthetic standpoint is not very effective either. The animations are okay, the lip-synch is terrible, and the designs of both the monsters and characters are hideously bad. Unsurprisingly the voice acting is sub-standard and the sound effects are marginal.
Is the game all bad? Not quite, Quantum Theory does have a few neat tricks such as tossing Filena, riding some crazy organic carpet things, and morphing landscapes. The problem is that the core gameplay is too sloppy, the graphics terrible, and the aiming so bad that these slight shining moments are not nearly enough to add any enjoyment to playing this title.
Quantum Theory is a game that is full of half steps, from the copied but gimped gameplay, through the horrible presentation and on to the fact that the title of the game is not even explained. It is a game that will swiftly be forgotten by players and hopefully Tecmo Koei as a failed attempt to emulate a successful franchise with Japanese influenced design.
Quantum Theory is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360