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Hands on preview: Quantum League Beta - Back in a flash

Published: 19:13, 31 March 2020
Updated: 19:21, 31 March 2020
Nimble Giant Entertainment
Key art for Quantum League.
This one really threw us for a LOOPER... we'll show ourselves out.

Quantum League's high concept time manipulation is towering in its ambition, packaged in such an accessible, polished manner that even in Beta form, it's clear to see that Nimble Giant Entertainment have something special on the brew.

Understanding the premise might at first glance seem like an impenetrable fortress, but take a moment to appreciate its deceptive simplicity and the pieces will quickly fall into place. You take the fight to your opponent across three 15 second rounds of first person combat. It's a one life situation (so to speak) and health is fairly small. 

Your objectives will vary depending on gametype, but expect standard zone control and capture the flag variants mixed in with traditional deathmatch. 

At the end of the first 15 second round, everything resets to the beginning. But, when the second round begins, your actions from the first round play out as they did before, alongside your new "Round 2" actions. 

And then the same thing happens at the end of Round 2; everything resets once again, only this time both your "Round 1" and "Round 2" actions occur simultaneously, while you make your final moves in Round 3. 

The possibilities here are somewhat mind blowing, but if you stick with us, we can frame these divergent tactics in a way that [hopefully] makes sense. Lets say, for example, your "Round 1" ends with you being sniped and killed from across the map. 

When "Round 2" begins, if you manage to kill your opponent's "Round 1" sniper before they kill your "Round 1" character, you'll prevent their demise and stop the enemy team from scoring. 

It's timey-wimey causality loop madness on a level even Star Trek isn't prepared for, and it's absolutely genius. 

Nimble Giant Entertainment Final moments in Quantum League. These players are living on the... EDGE OF TOMORROW... I'm so sorry.

What Quantum League does so well is directly counter the notion that death means failure or denotes the end of a particular engagement. Referred to as the Desync / Resync mechanic, your character can continue moving around, performing actions, and even fire their weapon after they've been killed (or "Desync-ed"). 

If you manage to bring them back (perhaps via the "kill the sniper" scenario outlined in the previous paragraph), all those same actions you performed while Desync-ed will affect the game and you'll be "Resync-ed" back into the action. 

Here's another potential outcome. You die really early on in Round 1, but while Desync-ed, you move to the objective and stand in place. Then, in Round 2, if you manage to prevent your Round 1 death, that Round 1 character will reappear (or Re-sync), and they'll automatically capture the objective they were standing on! We really hope we're making sense here...

Suffice it to say, we had a blast playing Quantum League, and feel like we've only scratched the surface of what's tactically possible with this fascinating title. Success with a competitive arena shooter like this has a high asking price, and thankfully, it's visually crisp and runs well. Performance is key when you're forced to make snap decisions on the fly, and it's an area that has clearly seen a lot of investment.

The world itself is bright and distinctive, with character models clearly distinguishable from the environment (here's looking at you, Battlefield V). UI design is simple but mercifully uncluttered, and the scope for expanding upon this delicious premise knows no bounds.

We urge you to keep a close eye on this one, and considering that temporal distortions are the beating heart of Quantum League, you should have no trouble finding the time.

Nimble Giant Entertainment Round 3 in Quantum League. For these competitors, this whole event must have felt like GROUNDHOG DAY... I cannot apologise enough...

Quantum League launches in 2020, for PC, and Switch.

PC Beta access provided by Nimble Giant Entertainment. 

We also interviewed Balthazar Auger, Lead Game Designer for Nimble Giant Entertainment. You can check it out here

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