Wyoming-based indie studio Teamkill Media's long-awaited horror adventure is here and we're anything but impressed.
I can relate... I feel understanding of what Wyoming-based indie studio Teamkill Media expressed the other day in a blog post. They had had enough of fans and game critics who unanimously called their overambitious horror-action project Quantum Error one of the worst games of the year. These are not pleasant words to read or hear after working hard at it for several years. I can only imagine how demoralising that must feel. Like a sharp knife right into the heart. Think about it yourself... The project that you, on indie premises with no or greatly reduced salary, worked incredibly hard to complete and send out into the world, is not received with the open arms you had hoped for, but instead is hacked to pieces with pitchforks and sledgehammers by players and critics who loathe it.
In the same breath, of course, I can relate to all the dedicated fans who counted down the days until the release of Quantum Error and invested €60 in a game that was supposed to mix Dead Space with The Chronicles of Riddick but in the end only got polygon-based pile of pure trash. The fact that they express disappointment, irritation and anger about it... I have every understanding of that, too. Playing bad games is not fun. Sitting and trudging through hours of failed, poorly executed entertainment is miserable, and being forced to do it in batches as part of your daily work, of course, means you can't just turn it off, uninstall and forget. Instead, we in the critic corps have to go back, replay, review, inspect and analyse it, and all my hours with Teamkill Media's horror games have been terrible.
The year is 2190 and artificial intelligence has largely taken over the world. Chaos reigns and at the remote Monad Quantum Research Facility located ten nautical miles off the California coastline, a violent fire has broken out and must of course be extinguished. This is where you are sent. Captain Jacob Thomas (of the Garboa Fire Department) and your colleague Shane Costa who are both seasoned firefighters and two really tough guys. Once there, both you and Shane realise that this really isn't just an ordinary fire, but rather a truly massive concoction of monsters, mutants, AI soldiers, conspiracies, parallel universes, and everything in between. Teamkill Media has gone out of its way to mix Doom 3 with Dead Space, The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay and a dash of Resident Evil and while the ambition is entertaining... There's pretty much nothing in this game that isn't purely gut wrenching. Quite simply, prepare for pain, because Quantum Error is one big mistake.
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Traditional "tutorials" in many of today's games are by far the worst I know, especially when they are done in that slavishly uncompromising, tough and stupid way. When it's done well like in Halo: Combat Evolved or woven into the narrative like in Half-Life, I have zero qualms with a crash course in what to expect, but like here in Quantum Error, for me it quickly builds to a boiling point that then takes at least half an hour before it subsides. Teamkill Media put me as a player through two tutorials in this horror adventure and both parts are so poorly structured and stupidly designed that it's hard not to tear up the whole living room. When that piece is finally finished and settled, it doesn't get much better.
You play Quantum Error via a first or third-person perspective, and there's a genre mix here that feels very ambitious. You put out fires, solve puzzles, shoot mutant demons, and explore. The idea is to let the player experience several different types of problems, of course, slow down the pace with challenging and often environment-based puzzles and then pick up the pace with a couple of enemies who want nothing more than to maim and annihilate you, completely. But nothing works. Nothing. The exploration is stiff, bland and woefully pointless, the puzzles are hopelessly predictable and lacking in ideas, and the firefights are the worst I've experienced in years in a game of this type. Just the fact that there are invisible enemies that you don't find out about until after they kill you says it all. The fact that it takes half a minute to select weapons via a crappy user interface hardly makes things any less miserable. Added to this are ultra-stupid enemy artificial intelligence (which is absurd given that part of the game's basic theme revolves around quirky AI taking over parts of our immediate future) and boss fights that really feel like pure torture.
Of course, the fact that Quantum Error is far from finished now at launch doesn't make it any better either. The game crashed twice in my first two hours, and as if that wasn't enough there are plenty of moments where Quantum Error has deleted my save file or just lost my next mission and ended up in some sort of contentless deadlock where I couldn't do anything but restart from a previous save file. The checkpoints in the game are also completely useless and the way the minimap works feels like a bad joke designed solely to annoy. In 2023, it's hard to find a more frustrating game than this, especially for €60 and based on what is generally considered the world's best game engine.
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However, Unreal Engine 5 does a nice job with the graphics and while there are better looking games out there, the graphics are the single best part of Quantum Error. The cutscenes are nice and the character models are more than acceptable and the fires to be put out are fancy and the way they lick the steel grey walls of the research facility, are satisfying. The sound is not as good but clearly approved and the voice actors do a competent job even if the story and dialogue often feels banal.
No one seems to like Teamkill Media's ambitious horror adventure, which pissed them off beyond reason and I can definitely see all the hard work that went into the production. However, there is no other way to avoid it, Quantum Error is one of the worst games of the year. It's drowned in bugs, has save file problems, bad design, lousy game mechanics and idiotic enemies, which of course cannot be appreciated. With stiff competition from The Lord of the Rings: Gollum and Skull island: The Rise of Kong, this qualifies for the worst game of 2023 category.
2 / 10
Terrible game mechanics. Stupid enemies. Pointless puzzles. Hopelessly monotonous. Lots of bugs. Deletes your save files.