I was a fan of Supermassive Games’ Until Dawn. There was just something so exciting about the horror genre of the game, which was more like you directing a cast in your own movie than just playing a game. However, I wasn’t too impressed with the shorter The Dark Pictures Anthology series, other than the final episode.
Supermassive Games are back with their new horror game The Quarry, which sees them return with a new 10-hour game that is very similar in the style that made me love Until Dawn when it was first released. Now, I want to start off by saying that I will attempt to be as spoiler-free as I can. The whole idea of this type of game is to get you enthralled in the story, as well as the jumps and scares, and I really don’t want to spoil anything for you.
What I will say is that the prologue you play before actually getting into the main story had me on the edge of my seat and actually made me feel quite unsettled. As with most horror games/movies of this type, the actual story is a standard affair. At the end of summer camp, all of the kids have left, leaving the counsellors and camp owner on-site. Something is off from the start as the owner is fairly anxious to get everyone off the camp as soon as possible. You just know that there must be something untoward, and everything won’t be plain sailing.
After their van breaks down, the counsellors end up having to spend another night together at the dissatisfaction of the owner. As they party the last night away, you will take control of all nine characters in a desperate bid to keep them alive as they become more intoxicated and rowdy. Whilst this may sound like any other teen slasher game/movie, don’t give up just yet though as the characters, storytelling and visuals really are outstanding.
This review has been quite difficult to do as I really don’t want to give too much away about the story or its many hidden mysteries and secrets since it will totally spoil the experience for readers. However, the prologue will certainly give you an idea of what to expect during the rest of the game. The plot with its twists and turns is great, and you will be on the edge of your seat until the very end credits, trust me.
The cinematography in this game is stunning, only let down by the odd iffy camera angle. Walking through the forest with fog creeping around the ground and the reflection of the moon on the lake is a marvel to behold. The lighting and character models are also brilliantly done. I own a fairly high-spec gaming laptop and was able to have all of my settings on ultra, which I have to admit, gave me no noticeable framerate drops, and everything performed smoothly.
As I mentioned earlier, you get to control nine different characters, all with their own unique personalities. Some you will love, and some you will hate, but all are voice acted extremely well, and it really was like watching a movie at times. As characters go, you get the standard bunch of oddballs, like the boisterous Jacob and the socially awkward Abigail, just to name a couple.
I did laugh and frown at times though when it came to character and facial expressions, especially with the female in the prologue. Facial expressions were extenuated and almost like caricatures of real people. You will understand when you start playing the game, and at times it can be a little off-putting. However, get past this, and you will see some of the best and most realistic facial animations seen in a game. Everything from the fear, to flirtatious behaviour purely through the expressions is fantastically done and is a step up from Until Dawn.
The game is full of quick-time events, which are quite simple, involving you flicking the left analog stick in the direction shown on-screen to succeed. Face buttons are occasionally used for button mashing, and it’s unlikely you will fail any of these.
An interesting feature in The Quarry is that death is not necessarily final. If a character dies, you will be given the option to spend one of three lives to rewind time and change the character’s fate. This makes it more interesting as you need to decide whether to use one of your lives now or wait until later. It just adds another layer to the gameplay without spoiling it.
In addition to the lives feature, there is also a ‘Movie Mode’, which allows you to sit back and watch events unfold, either opting for everyone to live or for them all to die. Then there is the Director Mode, which allows you to predetermine a character’s behaviour and see what effect this has on each scene. These are welcome additions that change the game’s longevity and the way it’s played.
Supermassive Games are very open to the fact that The Quarry is basically an interactive movie. Nothing much has changed since Until Dawn was released some years ago. The system of choice and consequences is still very effective at building a suspenseful and scary game. Characters are personable and voice acting superbly performed, making you care about them. The story has some very exciting twists and turns and will genuinely make you jump. I loved my time with this game, and with around 20 different endings to see, I can’t wait to jump back into it. Now, where’s my popcorn?!!
Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, Microsoft Windows
Release Date: 10th June 2022
Gaming Respawn’s copy of The Quarry was provided by the publisher.