The Quarry is the latest game from developer Supermassive Games. They mainly focus on creating games emphasizing interactive storytelling, cinematic presentations, and a horror setting. They were responsible for creating Until Dawn, another Playstation exclusive. The game came out in 2015 and was a massive success.
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Until Dawn mainly relied on horror tropes in B-Grade or Slasher horror movies. The game was campy but utterly self-aware. It did not break ground with storytelling, but it was entertaining enough to capture people’s attention.
After the somewhat mixed reception of the Dark Pictures Anthology, Supermassive Games are returning to their roots with The Quarry.
It’s another interactive horror experience, but one that takes place in a camp. The setting is very cliche, including the characters. However, the reason for The Quarry’s success is that it is also self-aware, much like Until Dawn.
Many would argue that Until Dawn is in a league of its own. While this game isn’t inherently as great, fans of the genre will find this very entertaining.
Here’s What You’re In For
If you are a fan of Slasher movies that revolve around a group of teens in an isolated place, you’re in for a treat. Fans of movies such as Cabin Fever, Friday the 13th, and Evil Dead will find great amusement in this game.
Keep in mind this is an interactive horror game. This is somewhat similar if you’ve ever played games from TellTale like The Walking Dead series and Tales from the Borderlands. Of course, the setting is quite different from both of these games.
The Quarry relies on chilling visuals, a great soundtrack, sound design, and a great cast. It features licensed tracks from various artists, and the opening scene features Moonlight by Ariana Grande. Not only that, this game features a lot of pop culture references as well.
Apart from that, you’ll find familiar faces among the cast, such as Lin Shaye, Ariel Winter, David Arquette, Lance Henriksen, and even Ted Raimi. Needless to say, with a cast like that, the acting in this game is superb.
So, where does this all take place?
The Quarry takes place in a sleep-away summer camp called Hackett’s Quarry. This summer camp is hidden deep within the woods of upstate New York. Hackett’s Quarry is in a remote location, hidden from the civilization of modern society.
While this camp is quite secluded, it does happen to be robust. It consists of many buildings that look sturdy, and the camp is surprisingly expansive. There’s a good contrast between the peaceful nature and the creepy ambiance surrounding this camp.
Hackett’s Quarry invites a good amount of exploration since there are a lot of branching paths. One might take you to an open meadow, while the other could take you to a lake. The woods are a bit further away from the camp but still within walking distance.
The camp’s owner is none other than David Arquette from Scream. David plays the role of the camp owner/supervisor Chris Hackett. Let’s just say he is far from your average camp supervisor.
So, the setting here is done quite well. It helps in engaging you from the start, which is essential for an interactive game such as this one. The game consists of 10 chapters, and the story is told through different characters.
The main cast here consists of the camp counselors. These are just your average teenagers who maybe want a summer job. As you can expect, there’s relationship drama, a clash of personalities, and a lot of uneasiness among our young cast.
What’s It Like To Play?
I’ll say this at the risk of sounding incredibly unoriginal: It plays like you’re watching a movie. Every reviewer has said this about interactive games, but that is the easiest way to describe this. If you’re looking for deep gameplay with polished mechanics, you won’t get that here.
This game focuses on the presentation, story, characters, and frightening visuals. That makes it sound like this would be an easy game, but that’s not the case. Instead, the developers need to nail this game’s storytelling, pacing, and atmosphere.
Fortunately, that is precisely the case with the Quarry. As I mentioned earlier, the plot is revealed through different characters throughout this game. You switch around between them quite a lot. You might end up playing with a character for 2 minutes or almost half an hour.
This constant jumping around between perspectives is an excellent way of storytelling. It keeps the player hooked and makes sure the pacing is enthralling. Plus, it keeps you on your toes and makes things interesting.
However, other sections of the gameplay aren’t so great. For example, Quick Time Events (QTEs) feel very low-stakes. The game is forgiving in most scenarios, and while running, you can mess up a QTE or two.
On the other hand, some of the choices here are highly predictable. Now, this might be so that you can deliberately change the story’s outcome. Still, it does feel a bit odd when it is that obvious.
An interesting decision was that while hiding, you need to hold down a button to hold your breath. It’s pretty easy but does make things tenser. Occasionally, you’ll end up using a weapon, like a gun. These situations are few and far between, but it looks and feels decent.
It’s also worth mentioning that this game now supports various co-op modes. After an update, they added online multiplayer, allowing you to play with a friend. This way, you can experience this story with up to seven players at a time. That sounds cool if you want to debate and discuss certain decisions with a group of people. It makes it more like going to the cinema with friends.
This is a game that truly shines when it comes to presentation. The team knows that the game is campy, some of the dialogue can be cringe-inducing, and some scenes are pretty awkward.
That’s all part of the fun, though. There’s a large majority of people out there who enjoy B-Grade horror movies for this exact reason. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, just like reality TV and popcorn flicks.
So, The Quarry leans into this element instead of shying away from it. There is a good bit of humor with the characters playing with each other. A good chunk of it is pretty decent, while some might make you cringe.
However, even with those “cringe moments,” you laugh at the awkward situation anyway. Ironic humor is everywhere these days, and that’s obvious with The Quarry.
As for the characters, they are incredibly likable. For some people, these games should just be standalone movies. While that would work, playing these experiences as a game for 8-10 hours lets you appreciate the stakes and the characters more.
The Quarry would not be bearable if it were a 3-hour movie. The fact that it’s an interactive game that does not overstay its welcome is what makes it work. Eight to ten hours is not that much for a video game.
Furthermore, the atmosphere around Hackett’s Quarry engrosses you within this tiny world they’ve built. Supermassive has worked on perfecting the ambiance of their games for a while now, and they’ve finally nailed it to perfection.
The game is not overtly grim or dark, and a few scenes highlight the situation here and there. Sure, some elements get downright disturbing, which works well with the game’s pacing.
Apart from that, the tiny details, such as the title font, the plethora of pop-culture and horror movie references, and sleek animation, all elevate this game to another level.
Storytelling And Decision-Making (Spoiler-Free)
Since this game relies so much on the story, I won’t be spoiling anything in this review section. Instead, I’ll focus on the storytelling method and branching paths.
All of the positives I mentioned in the previous section also help the storytelling a lot. Again, this is an absolutely stacked cast, and these people know how to act. That element helps sell this story and does an excellent job convincing you of the high stakes.
The pacing is also perfect, and much of that is due to the constant switching around of characters. Now, like most cheesy teen horror stories, this is one where people die.
If you’ve ever played Until Dawn, you know that’s not always the case. A lot of your decision-making will have consequences in this game.
Character deaths are not set in stone. Sometimes you’ll have to pick between people; other times, another element will influence your decision.
There are a lot of chase scenes, but I won’t explain why that is to avoid spoilers. Just know that things tend to get a bit wild. There are many jumpscares, but surprisingly fewer than Until Dawn.
So, the decisions you end up making are important. Characters will remember certain situations. For example, you can be aggressive towards one person and generous towards another. This makes more sense once you’ve played the game.
While all of this works well, it fizzles out a bit in the end. The ending is about what you’d expect but is not as satisfying as Until Dawn. It felt unsatisfying to me personally, but the story is still worth going through.
The Quarry Is Not For Everyone
This is not so much about the game itself as it is about the nature of the game. The Quarry is something that simply won’t click for many people. The game itself is excellent, but I’m aware some people are not used to this type of game.
If you need gripping gameplay, good combat, or a deeper narrative, you won’t find it in this game. Some people might want to go into this, thanks to the hype around the launch. Most people will like it, and others might be disappointed.
Again, this is at no fault with the game itself. I don’t like how they marketed this game as having 186 endings. That number is quite mind-numbing, and that’s precisely why they’re touting it. Keep in mind most of those are not significant endings.
I only played through the game once, but if I had the time, it’s the type of game that you can immediately go back to and experience different endings.
I lacked the time, so after finishing the game, I watched the other endings on Youtube. Unfortunately, none of them provided any real sense of closure to me. Of course, your mileage may vary.
I’m trying to see this: I don’t want to go into this game expecting a masterclass in game design or even a deep/thoughtful narrative. Expect a campy, cheesy teen horror experience that is somehow too entertaining.
That about wraps it up for The Quarry Review. In all honesty, I was a bit surprised by how much I enjoyed this game. There are a lot of great games released so far in 2022. I enjoyed playing Stray, Horizon Forbidden West, Grid Legends, and Sifu.
With such a high bar already set, I thought The Quarry was something I’d play once and forget about. Despite that, my expectations were somewhat subverted. Granted, I should have known this, considering how I enjoyed Until Dawn, but the Dark Pictures Anthology skewed my excitement for this game.
In a twisted way, I’m glad it did. I enjoyed the characters and explored Hackett’s Quarry more than I thought. This game won’t be for everyone, but people should give it a shot. If it’s your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy this game.
Superb atmosphere and ambiance
An exciting group of characters
It leans into horror tropes with style
A unique presentation that grabs the attention
Support for both couch and online co-op.
QTEs are hard to care for
Endings don’t provide much closure
Minor graphical issues
The Quarry Review
The Quarry is the spiritual successor to Until Dawn, and it's a true successor at that. While for some it might not reach the highs of the studio's first entry, the Quarry is an interactive experience that is entertaining, creepy, and campy in all the right ways.