Tecmo Koei has clearly taken an “inspiration” from Epic Games’ incredibly successful Gears of War
franchise for their latest game, Quantum Theory
. The cover-based, third-person shooter game shows no shame in encompassing what is almost an exact replica of Gears of War.
Playing as a steroid-pumped Syd that is the embodiment of the masculine stereotype (Marcus Fenix flashbacks, anyone?), players rely primarily on sticking behind cover to attack enemies who are also guarded under cover (which is almost always one of a dozen similar-looking pillars) for protection. Unfortunately, there’s nothing fun about attacking the predictable diablosis-infected soldiers who will only either hide under cover, run side to side awkwardly or run directly at you while you attack from underneath cover, both blind and leaning outwards.
More important, still, are the sluggish and clumsy controls that you’re left to deal with. Dashing and ducking into cover, the exact gameplay from Gears of War, is not nearly as fluid as the game’s inspiration was made. While Tecmo certainly has good taste in their selection of which game to imitate, their execution was shoddily done and does a terrible butchering of the kind of gameplay mechanics that made Gears of War what it is. Even the enemies and weaponry feel the same, although missing the one feature that would have been appreciated: Active Reload.
Syd will generally be amongst several teammates at a time, while every so often going off on his own to tackle waves of boring enemy battles. This is another similarity to the experience of Gears of War, minus the boring enemy battles, of course. When Syd finally meets his female companion, I immediately thought that she would be a better main character than the brutish Syd. Filena is lithe and equipped with a shining and intriguing blade that she fights with.
Playing alongside Filena provides one of the few experiences that is unique to Quantum Theory. Battles can be fought by tossing her at opponents, or combing forces for an epic melee attack. Melee fighting is otherwise still fairly scant in Quantum Theory, which could definitely have been put to more use given the enemies that run seemingly aimlessly at Syd.
The meaning of Syd’s existence is primarily to tackle the threat of Arks taking over the earth and infecting its inhabitants with diablosis. The presence of the Ark creates an interesting dynamic in gameplay in that the field is constantly shifting. Cover will disappear while others will rise from the ground due to the Ark’s taking over the earth, and some enemies will even be consumed to reveal even tougher ones. However, Tecmo does not monopolize on the few unique gameplay features it does boast. Rather, battles will typically be the same repetitive pattern of catching enemies in a matter of time as they pop up from cover. Oftentimes the levels are so cluttered and difficult to tell when new waves of enemies are approaching, most prominently due to the dozens of architectural pillars. In an attempt to eradicate this, it seems, the developers implemented yet another Gears of War feature. With the press of a button, the camera will direct you at the next point of interest, which is oftentimes the next enemy; this is almost assuredly to make up for the lack of innovation in what are almost identical levels. You can expect no more from the fairly typical multiplayer experience with similarly terrible maps and troublesome controls.
Initially I had expected the storyline to redeem the gameplay being that, although it was not very unique thematically, it was at least something to hold the player’s interest. This interest will not be held for long as you realize the storyline is as empty as the feeling you have when playing the game.
Ultimately, Tecmo Koei adds nothing to what can already by had in Gears of War, and in fact sullies the memory of the experience of Epic Games’ cover-based shooter. All gamers should be advised that lackluster controls and both a dull gameplay and storyline experience are all that Quantum Theory will offer.