At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking Quantum Replica may well be a, ahem, copy of Cyberpunk 2077. Granted, in terms of look and feel both games have a lot in common, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
Quantum Replica is a top-down action adventure set in a world where a ruthless organisation known as the Syndicate rule with an iron fist. You play as Alpha, a young vigilante who is struggling to put together the pieces of his past whilst avoiding capture by the totalitarian state.
Alpha is a stealthy chap, and you’ll need to make use of his skills in order to avoid a head on encounter with Syndicate forces, which you will rarely survive. This is because if you are discovered, the alarm will be raised and all nearby enemies will converge on your last known location, marked with a red silhouette.
The Syndicate grunts have flashlights which also represent their cone of vision, in a similar way to Metal Gear Solid, acting as a guide on how to avoid being spotted. Unfortunately their sight of vision is literally confined to the cones, which makes it unrealistic when you can walk right on by without being detected. I guess it must be really dark in Quantum Replica.
At first it’s easy to get around enemies without being rumbled. However security soon gets tightened as news of your activities travel and the Syndicate starts to get worried about the trouble you are causing for them. This means there will be plenty more enemies packed into areas, security lasers and mounted turrets to deal with. This does mean you’ll get off the streets occasionally, stalking across rooftops and through underground facilities to try and avoid the heat (quite literally at one point).
Quantum Replica has a fairly gradual difficulty curve which does offer a genuine challenge in the later levels. You’ll need to learn enemy patrols and time your movements carefully to avoid detection. This said, there have been a few segments of play where my patience abandoned me, and I decided to successfully leg it through after being killed several times.
It’s a good job that Alpha has a few tricks up his sleeve to help himself out. He can sprint, but this makes noise which is represented by a rippling red ring that enemies can pick up on if it reaches them. As you play, you will acquire new abilities such as dashing and slowing down time itself. Dashing comes in handy for clearing crumbling platforms and dodging enemies, whilst using your time manipulation ability gives you the opportunity to find a route through particularly tricky encounters. All of Alpha’s abilities require energy to use (represented by a blue bar), which will slowly replenish over time but can be quickly refilled by using certain items.
Sometimes firepower is necessary and Alpha has his trusty pistol to hand. This can fire lethal and non-lethal rounds, and like all items can be found by exploring each of the Quantum Replica’s seven levels. You will also be able to use bottles to cause distractions, and EMP grenades to freeze enemies for a short period. Aside from all this, you can do things the old fashioned way by creeping up on enemies and either knocking them out or snapping their neck. Be warned however, the sound the latter makes is particularly unpleasant.
A big part of being a young vigilante in the future is being able to worm your way into security systems. Alpha is pretty proficient at hacking, and can infiltrate pretty much any network to disable lasers, view security cameras and more. It’s a simple trick to pull off, with you having to match the code or symbols which appear to one of the options assigned to the B, X and Y buttons. As you would expect, hacking gets more difficult as you progress against increasingly shorter timers.
Most of the levels in Quantum Replica will see you face off against a boss character. These encounters are very much hit and miss, which often result in you dodging then shooting your enemy as much as possible, repeating the process until you empty their health bar. Your battle with the Mad Bomber is an enjoyable game of cat and mouse which feels a little different to the rest.
Quantum Replica doesn’t break any graphical boundaries, but it certainly realises a strong theme which makes the world a pretty absorbing place to be, despite it being a future dystopia. There are five different districts which essentially fall into overworld and underworld levels. There are a few new gameplay additions chucked into the mix as you progress, which gives the game a pleasing pace. The action is complimented with the dialogue between yourself and the mysterious “Althus”, who guides you, making for an interesting story that certainly goes someway to keep the player engaged.
Overall there are a fair few hours of gameplay here, and Quantum Replica feels as if it should be more expensive than it is. The game can be a bit buggy at times, with some animations reducing to a stop motion frame by frame effect, and I managed to skip a boss battle by complete fluke after only one death. However, these niggles aren’t enough to detract from the enjoyable experience the game offers overall.
Quantum Replica tries to keep things fresh even though it borrows from those which inspired it. Despite some rough edges, what results is a surprisingly comprehensive adventure.
Quantum Replica is now available on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One for £7.99