Review: Quantum Replica
A blend of Cyberpunk and stealth that doesn’t truly innovate, despite the conventions of the subgenre it caters so heavily to.
Cyberpunk. A genre that’s all the rage now with more deep dives into how we can visit these dystopian worlds of the future. Self-augmentation and surveillance in a gritty, neon-lit society of tomorrow is how we look at the budding subgenre and all the media spawning out of it. Most of the media blends together into this same view and works off the same foundations: technology is so accessible that it runs everything and everyone.
Why do I bring this up now? Because with On3DStudios latest release, Quantum Replica, you get this feeling like you’ve seen everything it offers before…and you most likely have. In this isometric 3D stealth game, you play as Alpha, an amnesiac techno-hacker in an unnamed metropolis as it crumbles around you. You’re tasked, by the man on your headset you know nothing about from the moment you start the game, to help destroy “the syndicate,” a nondescript business conglomerate that holds the populace under it’s control. These bare minimum’s don’t receive significant change over the course of the game, leaving the story as arguably the weakest point of this title.
I say arguably because definitively, the weakest aspect of Quantum Replica are its level design and objective markers. With a cyberpunk aesthetic, you imagine your objective markers and maps would be crystal clear for the player and even have added emphasis but in this case, there are a number of levels that are more a test of patience than a test of your mettle.
In one particular instance early on in the campaign, you are abruptly dropped into a maze-like area while your health constantly depletes due to poison gas and are tasked with shutting it off so you can survive. The main issues here lie in that there is no guidance whatsoever on where you are supposed to go to find the terminal. Because of this, you are forced to rerun the area multiple times just to complete this segment as you will not have enough health to run between the different sections of the maze and check for the terminal you’re after.
Unfortunately, these directional issues plague this linear title from start to finish. From the man on your coms informing you of a lethal upcoming hazard after it has already killed you to your map showing objective markers for something nearly 10 minutes ahead of you in progress instead of the sub-objective you are currently pursuing. It gets a bit frustrating to say the least as this even carries over to boss fights which are abruptly thrust on you, kill you quickly and require a trial-and-error repetition to complete even short phases of.
I mentioned the boss fights briefly before, so I should mention them here briefly. While I find they hamper the experience here, I think that it’s because they take you out of the better aspects of the game. You’ll be escaping an area, quietly and nimbly as can be, only to be abruptly forced into a boss fight in a closed arena with none of the polish that the stealth gameplay had. It takes you out of the experience and once you complete those segments, you come back to stealthy movement and item management wondering what it all meant.
But thankfully, the negatives stop here. The controls are functional and while you cannot change your controller mappings in-game, I didn’t feel like this hindered me in any way. The stealth aspects of the game are also polished with vision cones being clear and enemy pathing being easy to memorize so you can slip through a level how you see fit. Additionally, the save points in the game are plentiful and autosaving happens even moreso. These are the bare essentials for good stealth gameplay as sneaking through an area should be a challenge but not a chore, so these are clean enough to be noted here. Becoming detected happens abruptly in-game but thankfully doesn’t feel so punishing that you have to go through the trial-and-error brought on by the level design since the alarms are relatively short.
All-in-all, while Quantum Replica has its fair share of flaws, it is a functional title. If you can push past the neon lights hiding the relatively polished stealth play, you’ll slink by having a good time, even if a number of other stealth adventures and cyberpunk excursions do it better.
Quantum Replica is available on PC through Steam.