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Inspiration is a funny thing. Most things start as some form of creative spark—It’s crucial to the creative process. Truly inspiring games often rise to greatness while a lack of inspiration just leaves you with nothing more than a steaming pile of horse dookie. Unfortunately, Quantum Theory leans a lot toward the latter.
The most glaring of flaws in Quantum Theory is the fact that the game is virtually identical to the Gears of War games. Now there is nothing wrong with mimicking Gears of War, it’s a great game in it’s own right and it’s flattering to the guys over at Epic to pay a tribute to it, but when a game doesn’t bring anything else to the table and there is no novelty at all—you are just wasting people’s time.
In Quantum Theory you take control of a bulky and overly macho protagonist in a 3rd person shooter environment, you jump from waist high wall to waist high wall for cover, against waves of enemy monsters. Weapons are managed with the control pad and players can pick up Gears style ammo boxes that are littered around the levels. What Quantum Theory doesn’t steal from Gears of War is it’s fantastic attention to detail, tight controls and at least somewhat interesting narrative. There were times where I wanted to bash my own skull with my controller because of how awkward everything was.
Gameplay is a pretty big yawn fest and the enemy AI is laughable. Unlike Gears of War where outsmarting the AI is encouraged and rewarded; in Quantum Theory enemies will attack in bull rush patterns or just stand in the open for you. Each level unfortunately breaks down into “Kill these 10 guys and then a door will open”. That is about the extent of gameplay diversity and it will get old fast.
The graphics are flat out abysmal. To call the graphics “PS2 era” is an insult to one of the greatest consoles of all time. Graphics aren’t everything but when it begins to draw attention away from the game you have something wrong on your hands. It’s really pretty depressing, Quantum Theory actually features a handful of really well rendered cutscenes, so it’s sad that more effort wasn’t put into the playable portions of the game. I don’t know if the cutscenes just looked good in comparison to the rest of the game or not, but I would be ashamed when the vibrant and exciting cutscenes completely outclass the actual game.
The story ends up being pretty weak as well, however, in spite of Quantum Theory’s other flaws I didn’t mind it as much. The story for lack of a better term is very… Japanese. There’s a lot going on and not a lot makes sense or gets spelled out for you. Everything felt so convoluted that I eventually just ignored what was going on and kept shooting.
It’s one thing to pay a homage to a popular game, it’s another thing entirely to blatantly rip off an entire games control scheme and play style. Evidence of this done right is 3D Dot Game Heroes, it was a perfect homage to Zelda that looked and felt amazing. Quantum Theory on the other hand is just lazy game making and feels like a shameless quick cash in. The graphical and technical issues make Quantum Theory extremely hard to keep playing. At the end of the day Quantum Theory feels like Gears of War’s little brother who was kicked in the head by a horse—Stay far away!