Review – The Quiet Man

One of the weirdest games revealed at Square Enix’s pseudo E3 conference this year was The Quiet Man. The trailer didn’t showcase much besides the fact that the game had live action cutscenes mixed with in-engine cinematics, as well as a deaf protagonist. Fast forward to November 2018 and The Quiet Man has just shown up on the PSN store as quietly as its main protagonist. There’s a good reason for that. I really doubt Square Enix wanted to remind people of this game’s existence. This is one baffling experience. The Quiet Man is, purely and simply, one of the worst games of 2018.

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Think of the protagonist as the love child between River Phoenix and a fine plank of wood.

If I had to define The Quiet Man in one word, that word would be “hubris”. The Quiet Man desperately tries to convince us that this is a thoughtful and innovative piece of interactive media and that if you don’t like it, it’s because you just don’t get it, man. At the end of the day, it ended up being one of the most confusing things I’ve ever seen. You’ll understand the reason behind the word “thing”.

Calling The Quiet Man a game is not entirely accurate. I’m not kidding when I say that I have only spent around a third of my time actually playing this. The vast majority of The Quiet Man is spent on cutscenes, be it live action or in-engine. The scenes are dull and borderline never-ending, with some of them clocking in at over twenty minutes. Metal Gear Solid 4 would be proud. There was one instance in which a cutscene started, I left my room, went to the toilet, then went to the kitchen to grab a drink, then played for a few minutes with my dog in the living room, and when I came back to my room, the cutscene hadn’t ended yet. In fact, it would still go on for an extra ten minutes. By the way, have I mentioned that there is no sound during those cutscenes?

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Pro tip: mash the square button without even looking at the screen. You’re still going to beat the game by doing so.

Yes, that’s The Quiet Man‘s “main catch”, if you can say such thing. You’re a deaf dude, therefore there’s almost no sound during the entire game, with the exception of one fully voiced scene in the first minute or so, as well as some air vibrations during the rest of the game. I couldn’t imagine a worse design choice even if I wanted to. Being completely devoid of sound isn’t the issue, but being completely devoid of a sound design in its entirety is.

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That’s how I felt while playing The Quiet Man.

Let me remind you that two thirds of this game is comprised of cutscenes. Now let me point out once again of another important factor: you’re deaf. There are no subtitles. Two thirds of the game are comprised of people talking to you while you experience it in silence. Stuff happens onscreen and it’s completely devoid of sound. Look, I get it. I’m supposed to be deaf, but if that makes my experience worse, why even bother adding this “mechanic”? Removing 99% of all sound effects and voice clips in the game just made me severely uninterested in what was going on. It made the story abso-freaking-lutely incoherent.

What I could comprehend about the story is that our main character, someone who has less charisma than the plank of wood from Ed, Edd and Eddy, is beating the living crap out of hispanic gangsters, as well as some other weird dude with a bird skull mask, as a means of getting revenge on some hispanic dude who shot the protagonist’s mother/sister/aunt/whatever due to a discussion over a pair of shoes. If that sounds stupid and incoherent, I dare you try to comprehend a story so uninteresting and disjointed without the help of a guide or, y’know, sound.

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All sanity-challenging cutscenes aside, there’s also alittle bit of gameplay and it’s atrocious. The Quiet Man‘s gameplay is comprised of unbelievably simplistic beat ’em up mechanics. All you need to do is go to a room, fight the same three to five hispanic thugs in green, move to the next room, punch a few more hispanic thugs in green, and repeat that until you trigger the next mute cutscene. All you need to do is press the square button until everybody is lying down on the floor. There’s no depth or strategy. You can literally kill everyone, with the exception of maybe one or two bosses, by simply mashing the square button and the L2 trigger every now and then in order to trigger a focus mode or some crap. I’ve seen NES games with a deeper combat system than The Quiet Man. May I remind you that the NES only had two buttons?

While the controls respond quite well, the complete lack of a fun gameplay is absolutely frustrating. The collision detection is wonky as heck, by the way. To top things off, the game constantly shoves live action flashback clips onto the screen while you’re fighting and I can’t find any intelligent reason as to why would anyone think that this would make the combat better. If anything, it just makes things a lot more visually convoluted than they already are.

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Take a look at those guys. You’re going to punch a lot of their clones until the end of the game.

I have no idea what made Square Enix decide to greenlight something as terrible as The Quiet Man. Did they owe the developers a favor? Was the game part of some major Illuminati conspiracy? Did the devs blackmail someone at Squeenix? Whatever the case, The Quiet Man is abysmal. Its gameplay is atrocious, its graphics look like an average-at-best PS3 game, the story is incoherent to the point of being insulting, and the decision to put the entire game on mute reeks of pretension. At the end of the day, this is just a very bad drama flick coupled with maybe half an hour of the most basic beat ’em up combat ever since the creation of the genre. Please avoid it at all costs.


Graphics: 4.5

The live action production values aren’t entirely bad and that’s the biggest praise I can give for the visuals. The in-game graphics look, at best, like a mid-gen PS3 title.

Gameplay: 2.5

Just press the square button until the game is over. This combat system is completely devoid of depth or strategy. There are also some camera issues and collision detection glitches.

Sound: 0.5

Being devoid of sound isn’t the main issue. Being devoid of a reasonable sound design is what hurts this game the most.

Fun Factor: 1.0

The (mute) story is nonsensical at best and the (mute) cutscenes are Metal Gear Solid 4 levels of never-ending. Oh, there’s also a game scattered throughout this bad movie, but it’s equally terrible.

Final Verdict: 2.0

The Quiet Man is available now on PS4 and PC.