Cyberpunk is a fairly popular genre. Be it in gaming, movies or tv series – there's plenty of people ready to jump on the brightly lit neon/synth party train. On3D studio is looking to capitalize on this popularity with Quantum Replica. A fairly small game, but ambitious in the way it tries to blend all of its parts into a coherent whole. But does it ultimately manage to outperform despite the small scope and budget? Let's break it down.
Quantum Replica is available for purchase on Steam.
Quantum Replica features a simple, straightforward story of an amnesiac called Alpha. As Alpha you wake up in a world that is ruled by the corporate alliance known as the Syndicate and most of the populace suffer under their thumb. As you wake up, you are seemingly recruited into a rebellion of sorts and proceed to talk, fight and being bossed around by characters you barely know.
You'd think that waking up with no memory would make regaining it a priority but no, Alpha doesn't care for the most part as he proceeds to do the rebellions dirty work. Sure, there are some revelations down the line but they mostly fall flat due to how lifeless the characters can feel. If anything your handler seems to have a more personal stake in everything you do, a more interesting history and personality and there is no other notable or memorable characters to speak of. What's here is serviceable, if only as an excuse to serve up a semi-interesting cyberpunk world and all the things you'll be doing gameplay-wise.
Gameplay-wise, most of the game will revolve around stealth with brief flashes of action. Alpha is a very fragile character and can be one shotted by even the lowliest of grunts roaming the city streets if he is noticed. To help him either bypass his enemies or kill them he has several abilities and weapons at his disposal.
One such ability, blink, enables Alpha to dash a short distance 3-4 times in a row before the ability overheats, making you wait a brief period before you can use it again. The second ability, shadow mode, slows his surroundings to a crawl for a short time and enables you to bypass enemies, turrets and other obstacles in your way. He also has a weapon that can either put enemies to sleep or kill them outright but the ammo is very scarce and you'll be engaging most enemies in hand to hand. When I say hand to hand I mean once you get close to an enemy, you can either choke him unconscious or break his neck by pressing the appropriate button which will zoom the camera and lock you into an animation where Alpha does the deed.
There are also some throwable bomb weapons in form of either EMP or explosives which serve a similar purpose of either disabling for a short period or killing outright. The choice between killing and disabling boils down to the fact that if a dead guard is spotted an alarm will sound off, putting all enemies in the area on alert. Meanwhile, an unconscious guard will wake up after some time or can be awoken by another guard with no alarm.
Due to the game taking place at night and in dark areas, the enemies be it in the form of human guards or drones always have a light that represents their line of sight and later upgrade to having proximity sensors so you can't sneak up on them that easily. Alpha sneaks by default but can also run. Running is accompanied by a red circle around Alpha that represents the noise it's producing, a noise that the enemies can hear. There is also the hacking mini-game that has you matching symbols. It starts off deceptively simple but can get really tricky once more complicated symbols are introduced and the panic of time limit ticking sets in.
The mentioned elements come together extremely well and each segment of the game is like a puzzle waiting to be solved. The game and the AI can be unforgiving and will surely end you a lot of times but never to the point of frustration since the save spots and checkpoints are plentiful, quickly putting you back in the action to try another approach.
Another standout segment of the game are the boss battles. They are challenging but also very fun. Most of them are once again a combination of using the environment and your abilities while avoiding the bullet hell that the bosses will be throwing your way.
Some problems arise when the game tries to be a sort of a platformer as there are a few instances when you'll be required to use your dash to jump across gaps between buildings or speed across crumbling floors. Not only is this made difficult by the game's isometric perspective, but also the dark visuals that make it hard to discern which object is close enough for the dash to reach. These segments were the only ones that cause slight frustration due to how less in control and precise they make you feel, especially when compared to the action/stealth portions.
VISUALS AND AUDIO
Visually, for the game of such caliber, Quantum Replica looks good. Nothing here will blow you away but it fits the general theme well. The lighting is the standout visual here as the dark city streets and industrial corridors are contrasted with bright neon lights, effects of Alpha's abilities and enemy sight cones. Even the textures are fairly detailed for an isometric game which is visible when the takedown animation zooms in on the action.
All of this creates a moody dystopian cyberpunk world and it complements it with suitable synth music that fits the game so incredibly well that only in its absence will you realize how good it can sometimes be. Voice acting is nothing to write home about and what little characters there are, voiceactors do a serviceable job to provide some emotion to their static floating avatars.
It's important to say that the game is very polished and it ran very smooth on max settings no matter what was happening on the screen. It's also safe to say that it will do so even on lower end machines out there.
Quantum Replica will take you around 6-8 hours to complete. It puts progressively harder obstacles in your way while also giving you more tools to get around them. It reminded me somewhat of early Metal Gear which also featured isometric point of view and was heavy on the stealth. While it is weak on the story and has some small gameplay issues, this small cyberpunk action stealth package has personality in spades, is appropriately priced and will keep you entertained throughout.
|+ Great stealth mechanics||– Weak story and characters|
|+ A fun blend of gameplay elements||– Platforming segments|
|+ Thematic visuals and sound|