Game Review: Quantum Conundrum – The Desmond Debacle DLC
This review primarily focuses on the Downloadable Content pack ‘The Desmond Debacle’, and is written under the assumption that you are aware of the core mechanics of Quantum Conundrum. Read the full review if you missed it earlier this year.
The Desmond Debacle is an expansion for the downloadable first person puzzler Quantum Conundrum. It certainly comes at an attractive price of only 240 MSP (~£1.99/$2.99) with the promise of providing ‘hours of inter-dimensional puzzle solving’. While the core puzzles are certainly brain teasers, everything around it just feels a bit empty, is it really worth hopping back into the Quadwrangle Manor once again?
Value proposition is an important issue when it comes to downloadable content, as fans can be very critical about getting ‘value for money’ when new gameplay is delivered via this method. It’s important that DLC provides a low barrier to entry, as putting more money into a title after the initial purchase isn’t always a gamer’s favourite thing to do, but if it’s worthwhile, it can keep the game at the forefront for months to come.
There are examples on both sides of the coin, for instance Bioshock 2’s Minerva’s Den, or the substantial DLC for Fallout 3 and GTA IV often changed up the core gameplay substantially, offering something new and unique to the fans, while other games have had much less luck, providing DLC which seemed a little hit or miss, for example Saints Row The Third with the numerous short DLC packs, which did little to expand the gameplay.
The Desmond Debacle is one of the cheaper DLC packs for a downloadable title, but it does seem to fall a bit short of its initial promise. Sneaking into the game via the Level Select option, there isn’t any continuation of the story, or any explanation of how this fits into the core narrative, instead it feels very tacked on, once again providing an ending that leaves a lot to be desired. Quantum Conundrum offered a unique atmosphere, where your uncle would spurt amusing lines as you progressed, commenting on both your successes and failures, but there’s not even a sound in the DLC, well, apart from the music of course.
There’s no introduction, no real ending, and it just appears to be a mis-mash of levels that seem plucked from all areas of the game, and it can seem like you’re being thrown in at the deep-end to begin with, though of course it doesn’t take long to pick thing back up.
Of course, the narrative isn’t the only thing being judged here, and thankfully the levels themselves actually prove to be quite fun, providing a good mix of gameplay, utilising all the dimensions to create a number of unique new levels which may tax even veterans of the title. The six levels do throw up some interesting obstacles, though you’ll likely be done in around ninety minutes, even if you do get a little stuck from time to time. The original Quantum Conundrum featured a diverse range of levels, both linear and more open, and thankfully The Desmond Debacle is no different, providing both fast paced and more open, puzzling scenarios.
The length of the included levels does vary quite drastically, and while it never quite reaches the scale of some of the larger levels from the core title, it successfully brings some new ideas to the table, such as in the last level where you have to switch the batteries in and out on the fly as things are in motion. It may hurt your brain a little, but it’s an interesting new concept that they should expand upon if they are to produce further DLC, as there’s a lot of potential there. The other levels use all of the dimensions very well, where you’ll be both directing objects around the environment with Reverse Gravity, as well as taking numerous Safes for a ride once again. There are collectable on offer as usual, but there’s little use to collecting them all, unless you’re after an achievement or trophy to add to your collection.
The Desmond Debacle is worth the money overall, though the severe lack of the core atmosphere and character which the original game provided is sorely missed. If you have some spare points it’s certainly worth revisiting Quantum Conundrum, as it will provide a challenge, but since it doesn’t feel like it fits in with the core title, it will soon be forgotten.