The Quiet Man Review – Quietly Put Him Down

First announced during Square Enix’s completely unnecessary E3 presentation video, ‘The Quiet Man’ is a disaster of a video game.

Co-developed by Human Head Studios, the developer behind the first ‘Prey’, their newest title is so shockingly bad that I won’t be surprised if within the coming weeks or months the studio is quietly taken behind a shed and put down.

I would argue that the studio doesn’t deserve it as even the worst and most experimental of video games are needed to help discover new ideas, but ‘The Quiet Man’ is so utterly atrocious that Square Enix has to be ashamed.

The Quiet Man
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix, Human Head Studios
Platform: Windows PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Release Date: November 1st, 2018
Players: 1 Player
Price: $14.99

Yet even if they are, as a consumer I find it wholly offensive that this flaming pile of bio hazardous waste was allowed to be released at all.

Presented within the title is a game that is so poorly conceived that it should have been chalked up as a financial loss and all files of its existence deleted.

Even as a budget title at just under 15 dollars, this game should not have been released. From the moment the game begins it’s obvious just how horrible it will be.

Upon hitting play, players are greeted with a live action cutscene that for the first and almost only time during the game’s three or so hour runtime features any distinguishable dialogue or audio noises.

The entire rest of the game, minus a quick end scene, has absolutely no audible dialogue or environmental sounds.

For the duration of the experience all that can be heard is an occasional heartbeat that is used to lead the player to items of interest, and a dull thudding sound meant to represent deafness that makes up the entirety of the game.

Playing as a character that is presumably deaf, and I say presumably as there are a few odd moments within the cutscenes that maybe raised this into doubt, the development team decided to go with the bold choice of having little to no sound.

On paper that may sound like a decent idea, but the execution is botched. Though it’s worth noting that had dialogue been present, given the writing of the opening scene, it would have been bad regardless.

This game features more cutscenes than gameplay and at first it’s laughable. At one point I labeled ‘The Quiet Man’ as the ‘Trolls 2’ of video games.

It was so bad it was good simply due to how funny it was, but by the halfway mark that sentiment was replaced as the game became so horrendously horrible that it should be considered a hate crime against gamers.

Why are the cutscenes so bad you may ask? Because often they run for 5-15 minutes and feature little to no action and are just dialogue. A tactic that works in some titles with great stories, but it utterly fails here.

Remember what I said above about there being essentially no audio? Yeah. This game has ten minute cutscenes that are nothing but dialogue that the player has no chance of making out because there is no sound.

These are made worse in the ones that switch from live action to in-engine rendering, a design decision that makes it so even the most scrupulous among us are unable to read the character’s lips.

What can be made of the story is confusing and shoddy. I don’t even think I could explain it here.

You should just know it involves a creepy bird mask, a pair of shoes, a corrupt cop, flashbacks to a childhood incident in which a mother was shot, a wealthy black man, a gang that only ever wears green, and eventually some magic powers or something like that.

Oh, and when you fail at combat and die you get a quick POV screen in which I believe you’re a baby staring at your mom.

Seriously, I don’t know. As a critic it’s frustrating to be unable to properly explain the story, but the game is just that terrible.

Gameplay wise it plays worse than a cat walking across a piano keyboard. The only gameplay is combat sequences that make the Xbox 360 Kinect title ‘Fighters Uncaged’ look like a masterpiece. It’s that bad.

Using the four face buttons to punch, grapple, kick, and dodge, combat plays out fairly simple but is a visually grotesque and sordid affair.

Animations are missing and brief moments of teleportation are common, a result of there being few transitional animations.

Things are also made worse by enemy characters that often clip through the environment, and even in areas where new enemies are clearly coded to enter through a doorway, it was common for them to just strut through a shut door or even materialize out of thin air.

Towards the end of the title the fights also become stupidly prolonged and a few of them became difficult. This wasn’t because the game itself is challenging, or, at least not purposefully challenging, but because it’s just a broken and buggy mess.

Oftentimes enemies will form a circle around you, which blocks out the camera so that I couldn’t see my character. In a title where just a few hits can knock you out, especially by enemies wielding bats or machetes, it was incredibly irritating to die due to what was essentially just a broken system.

Hilariously though, the character you play as maintains the most derpy face during combat. Even during frustrating moments I was almost always able to laugh at just how silly he looked.

If you’ve seen the Shenmue 3 trailer from last year then you know how bad a title can look when characters don’t have realistic facial expressions during action scenes, and in this title, the face is comically stiff.

Adding to the absurdity of this game is live action footage that sometimes imposes itself over combat within the game. Not only does it show just how ugly the game can be, but it’s stupidly obnoxious.

Quite a few times it caught me off guard or was just too distracting that I would end up taking a few hits from the enemies around me because I couldn’t see them over the images being shown on the screen.

The Quiet Man often switches quickly from combat to cutscenes and it’s a jarring affair. The scenes often don’t line up and so it involves a lot of ugly jump edits.

Overall, this is a weird game that shouldn’t have been released. Even at around 15 dollars I feel ripped off. The plot is an incoherent mess and the combat is buggy and broken and worst of all, it’s just not fun.

How the development team thought people would enjoy a title filled to the brim with dialogue driven cutscenes that includes no audio or subtitles is more confusing to me than the game’s plot that already makes no sense.

Worst of all, the game seems to end with the threat of new content being released or patched in by this time next week.

The Quiet Man was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a review copy obtained by Niche Gamer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

The Verdict: 2

The Good:

  • It’s so bad that you may get a good few laughs in, I guess

The Bad:

  • Everything

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Sophia was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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