Remedy Entertainment’s upcoming Xbox One exclusive, Quantum Break, might be most famous for the way it’s blurring the line between video games and TV, offering live-action episodes to break up playable segments. While the idea may be exciting?doubly so once you realize you can impact the plot of these episodes with your in-game decisions?developer Remedy Entertainment isn’t just using it as a gimmick to dress up unimaginative gameplay. Far from it. In fact, thanks to hero Jack Joyce’s time-manipulation abilities, combat might end up being even more revolutionary than the innovative story that surrounds it. Here’s a look at some of Jack’s most incredible powers and how you’ll use them to save the town of Riverport before time runs out?for good.
1. Time Stop
As the studio behind the classic action game Max Payne, you might expect Remedy to lean on the old standard of The Matrix-style Bullet Time when it comes to giving Jack tools to take on his foes. You’ll find, however, that the developers have been quite clever in putting new twists on expected abilities. The closest thing to the bullet ballet of Max Payne is perhaps Time Stop, which allows Jack to throw up a bubble of frozen spacetime, stopping anything it comes into contact with like a quantum pause button. Sure, it’s good for keeping enemies in place while you deal with their teammates, but it’s also handy for trapping your own bullets. When time unstops, they’ll all continue on to their target simultaneously. Ouch.
2. Time Vision
This ability lets Jack scope out his surroundings as a kind of tactical overview before he gets into the thick of combat. Fans of modern action games will recognize Time Vision as similar in concept to Batman’s Detective Mode in the Arkham series, Joel’s Listen ability in The Last of Us, or the other versions of the idea that have popped up in recent years. While it may not be the most original of Quantum Break‘s time powers, it’s by far one of the game’s most useful. Knowing what you’re going up against in a battle can be the difference between coming out feeling like a time-bending demigod and realizing in the middle of a hail of bullets that your time has run out.
3. Time Blast
Who needs a block of C4 or a Semtex grenade when you can send your enemies flying with the power of time itself? In what may be the game’s most fantasy-inspired flourish, Jack summons a projectile in his fist and tosses it ahead of him, looking like a wizard casting a spell. While everything he does would probably earn you the title of chronomancer in any game of Dungeons and Dragons?and probably get you kicked out of the group for making an unreasonably powerful, unfair character?this power definitely breaks down the barrier between sci-fi and just-plain magic. Then again, who cares, when it feels so good to send enemies flying in a hail of the gorgeous, warping graphical effects.
4. Time Dodge
Another power that’s useful for both offensive and defensive purposes, Time Dodge slows down time to let you sprint out of the way of enemy attacks. In fact, this ability also owes a bit of debt to Max Payne‘s Bullet Time, but whereas that game was all about slowing the clock to let you dodge bullets at a hair’s breadth and pick off distant shooters with pinpoint accuracy, Dodge actually keeps the pace of combat rather quick. You won’t be sitting around planning any finesse moves with the ability. Instead, you’ll be racing away from deadly threats and simultaneously closing the gap with the guy who sent it so you can deliver a little fist-to-face revenge.
5. Time Rush
If Time Dodge isn’t quite quick enough for you, Time Rush offers an even speedier way to get around. Remember the great scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past where Quicksilver ran circles around everyone at such a ludicrous pace he wasn’t even visible to the people he was messing with? That’s the territory you’re in here. While it’s possible to use that boost to deliver melee attacks to guards that literally won’t see them coming, you can also treat Time Rush as a bit of a get out of jail free card in a tough fight that’s not going your way. By moving too fast to be seen, you can cause guards to lose track of your position?letting you recapture the element of surprise with an advantageous flank.
6. Time Shield
In its primary function, the Time Shield works exactly as you’d expect. Throw it up in front of you, and any incoming fire will be rendered more or less harmless, leaving you free to laugh at your less chronologically empowered foes as their attacks do little more than offer eye-candy visual effects. That makes it excellent for catching a breather during a particularly tough fight, but defense isn’t all Time Shield adds to Jack’s arsenal. While the power is active, he can also use that warped spacetime to execute some up-close-and-personal melee attacks, laying out armored goons like it’s nothing. Mixing the mobile cover and close-range offense of Shield with other abilities can lead to interesting combos that amp up your effectiveness in a fight.