Quantum Error is Cosmic Horror?
If you are like me every October you celebrate Halloween. Every year I always find myself throwing on a hoodie turning off the lights and booting up some horror games to play. If you’re not like that as well, then this review may not be for you. So let’s talk about Quantum Error!
Back in 2020, we were graced with an awesome-looking trailer for this new horror title called Quantum Error. I was absolutely hyped, how could I not be? It displayed a lot of what I love in horror fps and really gave me a mix of DOOM 3 and DOOM 2016 vibes.
While I still agree with that statement, however, the delivery for Quantum Error leaves me scratching my head. It is also important to note that this game was developed by four brothers. You can tell that they are passionate about what they are building but as a reviewer, I have to ask. Does it deliver?
Now that we have that out of the way let’s dig into the game.
Let’s talk about the good. Quantum Error is developed on Unreal Engine 5. This game shines a lot in the visual aspect. The levels are very well-detailed and the framerate is at a very stable 60fps. Except for some instances where you can notice that it dips. But overall the PS5 performance is great. You will find yourself exploring many corridors where combat can get a little claustrophobic. To some open areas across different planets.
The greatest part of Quantum Error to me was the exploration. I really enjoyed the aspects of finding out how to get from Point A to Point B. My only gripe is that I wish you could have an in-game map available to you at all times but I understand that was a design choice. To help you navigate there are kiosks littered through levels that can provide you access to the in-game map. So you are not completely lost.
There will be doors and locations that are blocked off by certain elements whether it be electric or fire-based and using your firefighting tools to help you overcome these elements was a plus. You have a plethora of tools at your disposal. They can range from the Jaws of Life that you can use to pry open doors to a sledgehammer that you can use to knock certain environments into place.
You’re a Firefighter Jacob!
In Quantum Error you play as Jacob who is a firefighter. With that, you will find yourself doing some firefighting-type activities. There are fires to put out and people to save! One cool bit that I did enjoy was finding random workers or characters that you can save. Some of these can be simple from hailing a person to come follow you and take them to a point that says “Safe Area” on the floor.
Other people to save though can be sometimes a little more in-depth. You may find someone trapped and surrounded by a pool of water that is electrified and have to find a way to free them. Or find someone who is lost in a pool of smoke and drag them to safety. These incidents felt really thought out and fun to complete. It’s also noted that these are side content and you do not have to complete them in order to beat the game you can also miss opportunities to save others if you don’t do enough exploring. When you do you will receive rewards from these characters that range from weapon mods, to access codes to unlock certain locked doors.
QA Is A Game’s Best Friend
A lot of the issues I have with Quantum Error is that I feel like it wasn’t play-tested outside of the developer’s circle. With a lot of the issues that I came across I almost felt like I was more so doing QA for the game than actually reviewing the game.
For example, the game does not introduce you to enemies they just spawn in front of you and you are required to trial and error a way to take them out. Sometimes that consistency is off and hit detections do not register. Enemies very rarely respond to your attacks. They will plow through your point-blank shotgun blast and still land an attack from a missing limb of theirs. One section of the game where you have to protect someone from enemies while they perform an operation on another character was the most frustrating to play through.
Enemies will high tail it straight to the person you are protecting. Then start wailing on them. This is where enemies not reacting to your attacks comes into play as well as the inconsistency of the damage they take. Some will die in two hits and be dispatched others can take up to four or five. But regardless if the person you are protecting takes too much damage they die.
On top of those inconsistencies, enemies spawn in the game sometimes even right in front of you. Or in some cases right behind you as well. This can be horrifying in itself. Especially when you are low on your health and have no time to react. Or in most cases, your shots will not register. The AI is the weakest part of Quantum Error in my opinion.
Most enemies will stand in a set location and fire at you. Or they will slowly walk towards you while shooting whatever cover you are taking. Other enemies will slowly walk to you in a zombie-like fashion. Or will run straight into your bullets in a straight line. I will say there is a nice variety of different foes to fight on top of some memorable boss fights. One boss fight in particular has you going through multiple different areas during the fight. In those areas the environments change. The boss itself adds different obstacles for you to overcome. Unfortunately, that feeling of epic boss fights is few and far between. It seems like everything was put into making a few great fights mixed with others that were very lacking.
Firefighter Meets Horror
The basis of Quantum Error’s story can be a little confusing at face value. You play as a firefighter named Jacob Thomas. You have been tasked with helping assist the Monad Quantum Research Facility that caught fire after suffering an attack. From there your journey facing the horrors across multiple worlds takes place. Cutscenes have a sense of awkwardness that I just couldn’t put my finger on exactly why. Part of me feels it is mostly around the fact that most characters seem lifeless. The majority of cutscenes deal revolve around a close-up of the character talking followed by them standing in a set pose with minimal animations.
I know this could be partly due to the small development team and this being the second title they have produced but the overall animations across all characters are minimal to the point where you the player feel like you’re in a weird simulation. Voiceovers seem dull as well and the sound design is off as there is no depth to them. The sound design seems to be mixed with the VO and music playing almost at the same level.
I will however say the music in the game is great but sometimes overbearing. There are cases where you are walking and exploring while music is just blaring in your ears for no real reason. Also, I have yet to figure out why there are babies crying and screams of people dying randomly across the whole game. Those seem out of place and really pull you out of the experience. I honestly enjoyed the areas that were more quiet. These areas left a certain sense of suspense that is lacking when music is constantly blaring in your ears.
What’s holding Quantum Error back?
In 2023 bugs seem to be in every game and there seems no way around them. This is the unfortunate state of gaming in 2023 and Quantum Error is no exception. Issues I have come across in my playthrough have ranged from Enemies spawning in the ceiling that can attack me and easily kill me. Weapon Wheel UI not popping up to swap weapons or tools in a timely fashion(Most notable during combat.) Save Points where enemies spawn directly behind me and kill me instantly. While it might not be a bug more so a lack in game design. You cannot manually load a save either
You will come across areas where you can save your game and upgrade Jacob as well. These points you do manually save at. However, if the game auto saves in certain areas you can not go back to that older save. This was where I came across the issue of having 1 HP in my spawn with two to four enemies spawning directly behind me killing me repeatedly. The definition of insanity was running through my head as I had to try and brute force my way out of this situation.
Underneath the Bad is Good
While I have my issues with Quantum Error I can see that underneath all its issues. There is a good game that can be experienced. But with the lack of QA and polish it’s pulled me back from really having a spectacular time with this title. There are too many glaring issues at launch to really recommend it. Some of those are fundamentally baked in the game’s design and others may be able to be fixed with patches down the road.
My hope for Quantum Error is that the developers use this game to learn and hone in on their craft for the sequel. Hopefully see a bigger budget that allows them to hire some more talent. While I feel the first entry in Quantum Error may be a bit of a miss. I do however have good feelings about a sequel for whenever the time comes to fruition.
The review code was provided by the developers for the purpose of this review. Logan spent 23 hours fighting through the horrors within Quantum Error. The game was played on Fire Chief difficulty (Hardest choice.) While obtaining 30/45 Trophies.