Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of the Xbox One’s official reveal. In honor of this, we decided to look back at the library of exclusives that the system had to offer. One game, in particular, stood out, Remedy Entertainment’s 2017 third-person shooter, Quantum Break. An Interesting Concept Originally, Remedy began production on a sequel to the Xbox 360 exclusive, Alan Wake. Throughout the original Alan Wake, there was a live-action program displayed titled Bright Falls. This was used as a way to expand on the world of its titular character. Remedy loved this feature and wanted to expand on this in the sequel. The idea was pitched to Microsoft but, because of poor sales, the company was not interested. Instead, they wanted to add something new and fresh to their upcoming lineup of games. Microsoft did, however, like the live-action concept and asked them to keep this in their next project, thus spawning Quantum Break. The biggest draw of the game was definitely its interactive narrative. At certain points in the game, players could view an optional 30-minute television episode. These were live-action, highly produced, and expanded on the game’s story as a whole. Side characters who would otherwise be unimportant were able to have a full backstory and motivations. They also included top-notch stars for Microsoft’s blockbuster, such as Shawn Ashmore from the X-Men film series and Aiden Gillen, whose scheming, conniving, and morally ambiguous portrayal of Littlefinger in the Game of Thrones series puts him in a class of his own as far as acting is concerned. It was an interesting approach that paid off. The world of Quantum Break was able to be explored in a way that couldn’t have before. A Rich Narrative The story was also incredibly unique. It took on the complex subjects of quantum physics and time travel to beautifully mesh together its plot. It formed a cohesive narrative, which is a pitfall of many time-travel tales. The story is about two characters who gain time traveling powers through a scientific accident. These two are then shown an apocalyptic event known as the “End of Time.” They both differ in how to handle this event and the former friends are now on opposing forces. By showing these two as friends who have split over this event, the player is able to view each side differently. Time travel is never an easy subject but Remedy takes this in stride. They can answer complex questions while also doing a bit of world building. By the end of the game, players will see this story come full circle without plot holes. It’s a smart story that does the time travel concept justice. Fun Mechanics Quantum Break plays very differently than previous Remedy games. Alan Wake and the Max Payne games had players shoot through levels while also uncovering the larger narrative. However, in this game, there is a bit more to it. With the protagonist’s time-traveling powers comes time-traveling abilities. The player can dash through time to quickly melee enemies, freeze enemies to counter their moves, amplify bullets through a time bubble, and even spawn a shield that can stop projectiles in their path. All of this may seem overpowered at first but quickly you’ll realize that there is a cooldown timer and that the enemies have the technology to counter some of this. This makes each enemy encounter different and makes the gameplay feel fresh as the story continues to unfold. A Bad Rep Although this wasn’t a huge commercial success, it was a severely underrated one. Many critics cited a lack of replayability in their respective reviews. This is a misconception, although many simply didn’t want to put in the effort. Gamers can play through the game a number of times as there are multiple story options that can create different outcomes. Players can experiment with the varying paths that are offered to see how it causes each choice to affect the overall result. These branches are pertinent to the game’s narrative. Some also disliked the television portion of the game. At certain points, as previously mentioned, a 30-minute episode would pop up. Gamers cited this as breaking the pacing and forcing the game to be dragged on. There are only four episodes that are offered to the user. While these do provide backstory, they can be skipped entirely if the player wishes to continue with the gaming portion. These were intended to only provide substance and are not essential to understanding the story. Quantum Break is a fantastic exclusive on the Xbox One and one of the best this generation has to offer. In fact, it’s the system’s best exclusive. It has a rich narrative that perfectly blends television and video games together into one a medium of its own. It stars two of the biggest names in acting. Most importantly though, its gameplay is superb. Those looking for a unique single-player experience, look no further. There is no other game like this in existence.