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Quantum Error Review (PS5) – An Error On All Levels, Quantum Or Otherwise

Quantum Error Review (PS5) – It’s been a decade or so since I played Alien: Colonial Marines. That’s an experience you don’t forget. Unfortunately, games of that caliber still go live to the public to buy. This time around, a bad experience like this goes by the name of Quantum Error.

Quantum Error PS5 Review – An Error On All Levels, Quantum Or Otherwise

You play as a firefighter who finds himself in a fire call that he and his crew have never dealt with before. After entering this lab, they go deeper and deeper into it to find strange occurrences, endless black voids, and murdered lab technicians.

Quantum Error presents itself in the form of cutscenes for most of the time, especially early on. Nothing is motion captured, and voice work is workable. There aren’t many demanding scenes for the actors to portray, which helps the presentation, given the circumstances.

This is about where the buck stops, however. Quantum Error is a clinic on what makes a game bad. The first actual gameplay puts you out in a dilapidated street, fighting your way to your allies.

Control Delay

When I say fighting, I actually mean that you fumble your way through the controls.The controls function like any other shooter, but nothing responds to your inputs like it should. Sometimes it shoots multiple bullets when tapping the trigger, and sometimes it shoots one bullet when holding the trigger. Reloading usually takes a couple presses of Square before it registers.

Other times, you struggle to make the gun actually shoot. Switch between guns to trigger a 4-second period where you can’t fire anything. Then, combine that with using the D-Pad to switch between weapons and equipment. The final icing on the cake is putting all that into boss fights, gunfights, and defense sequences. Yeah.

From switching weapons to fighting segments, absolutely everything takes too much time. A defense sequence, for example, takes two minutes to start. Then, an enemy comes in one every 30 seconds, with each round throwing 20 enemies at you. Combine that with three waves, with each wave separated by two minutes, and sensory deprivation sets in.

Frustrating AND Boring

If you die or fail, which happens frequently due to cheap hits and unresponsive controls, you restart the entire sequence. Checkpoints do this game no favors. Unless you find a manual save hub, you rely solely on auto saves, which only trigger every 20 minutes or so. Massive chunks of the game need repeating after death, compounding all of the frustration.

Alongside that, you deal with the enemy AI. If you’re familiar with the complex AI of the cult classic Fear, then picture the exact opposite of that. Enemies stand up completely straight and out in the open, perpetually aiming their guns. If you rush them, they turn and walk away, still standing completely straight, still aiming with one hand, and then waving with the other.

This enemy AI carries through what portions of the game you can actually play. In the next-door level, you only hold an ax and a hannigan as potential weapons against these gun-toting cardboard cutouts. They often sense you without seeing you, so stealthily getting around makes no difference.

Give Up

They continue standing wherever the hell they want and shoot at you, dealing a lot of damage. You either strafe to avoid their 3-round bursts or just take the hits in order to ax them down. Even if you hit their chest, their heads fly off.

Speaking of hitting enemies, your attacks don’t register if your target is meleeing you. Your ax passes through them while they attack. They also can walk up to a wall, glitch the gun through the wall, and shoot you. It’s also relevant to mention that you can’t do this in return.

After literal hours of trying to get through this second area and continually dying, I dropped playing legitimately and began to find ways to cheese the game. You can regain your lung health in smoky rooms by standing next to the fire. You can trick enemies into forgetting about you by standing behind glass for a bit.

Breaking The Game

The big one: You can block practically all bullet damage with an ax. When I found this out, I stopped fighting and just went through areas while holding up the ax. Enemies don’t follow you when you leave their zone either. When you move far enough away, enemies also despawn.

This becomes convenient just because progressing requires constant running back and forth through the entire zone, looking for codes to open doors. Apart from one or two, these codes are placed far away from their corresponding door. So not only is the gameplay a clunky mess, your objectives lack any intrigue whatsoever.

Then there is one glitch that, unlike many of the others, made me reset the game just so I could continue. A couple times after picking up a hose, I get stuck to it. Somehow, it ends up unequipped from my hand and placed in my stash, replaced by my ax or other tool. This leashes me to a wall, and I cannot get out of it.

Waste Of Space And Time

What absolutely pissed me off the most with Quantum Error is not the fact that it’s a game with horrendous design on all fronts. It’s not that it even feels low budget across the board.

It’s that the premise the game delivers in its janky cutscenes is beyond intriguing.

A looming threat keeps showing itself as you go, mystifying every aspect of the game. It’s a combination of corporate greed meets Event Horizon meets Cthulhu. To boot, the thoughtful effort put into the overall cinematography in cutscenes deserves a nod.

If this game had chosen a different gameplay style, a different overall presentation, hell even a different medium, the ideas behind this game could have had the time and effort they deserve.

Instead, you end up suffering through lackadaisical exploration, unresponsive combat, and janky mechanics across the board, leaving the few strengths this game has to rot under an experience more akin to a toxic bog.

The culmination of all of this comes to a head in boss fights. These exchanges highlight the already vividly obvious issues with the game but all at once. That’s a barrage of devastating cheap hits, attacks not registering, and clunky controls. That trifecta damns any of the potential of Quantum Error.

At this point, the only way to give this game a chance is to automatically activate the game’s cheats that make you invincible and have infinite ammo. That way you can laugh at what you see in a healthy way instead of that laugh you do when on the edge of a meltdown. Unfortunately, the only way to do that as of this publishing is to finish the game first.

A Litany Of Mistakes Sent To Market

There’s no other way to say it: Quantum Error is a waste of time, potential, and money. There’s something interesting in this game, buried deep down in the murky cesspool of bad game design, delayed controls, and a lazy gameplay loop.

Quantum Error needs at least another year in the oven for refinements. Without that, this might as well be an alpha build.

Quantum Error is available to all players on PS5 on November 3, 2023, with early access for those who paid a premium beginning on October 31, 2023.

Review code kindly provided by the publisher.



The Final Word

The only interesting part of Quantum Error is the premise, hinting at some intriguing cosmic horror ideas. Unfortunately, it's buried underneath rubble filled with bad controls, janky performance, and humdrum gameplay. Unless a complete overhaul could be implemented, there's no way a patch could save this game from itself.