Published on June 10th, 2022 | by Abdul Saad
The Quarry Review (PC)
Summary: I believe Supermassive Games did a great job with The Quarry. While it doesn't offer much in terms of gameplay, the story and characters are by far the best it's been in some of the developer's recent titles and provide an experience that can even rival the spiritual predecessor, Until Dawn.
The Quarry is Supermassive Games’ latest installment in its long list of horror narrative games. However, unlike its latest titles in the Dark Pictures Anthology, which features multiple characters of varying ages but with a set theme, the game takes inspiration from the developer’s renowned title Until Dawn by placing several adolescents in particularly unfavorable positions and horrific situations.
The Quarry follows a group of teenage camp counselors in Hackett’s Quarry Summer Camp. After one event leads to another, the group of teenagers is forced to spend the night on the campgrounds on their final night, where they’re then hunted down by some malicious and psychopathic hunters along with strange vicious creatures.
After a nerve-racking prologue, the story takes a while to progress as we’re first introduced to each character and learn their interpersonal relationships, which are eventually fleshed out as the story progresses. These characters are undoubtedly one of the best aspects of the game as they feel genuine while exhibiting flawed actions common with teenagers and have dialogue that surprisingly managed to engage me throughout, especially during comedic moments between the characters that get closer as the game progresses. Every character is distinct from one another, and their actions reflect how they act in the game, even during gameplay. In addition, each of the actors put up an excellent performance immersing themselves in their roles as teenagers, which is great as, unlike the Dark Pictures titles, the game has no central theme from the get-go, so they are the main focal point in the narrative.
Speaking of the narrative, another element of the game I greatly appreciated is how it actually tries its best to keep the player’s attention by mixing things up in the story. At the game’s halfway point, the narrative begins to ramp up dramatically, with some new characters even being introduced and new mysteries unfolding. Like other games in Supermassive Games’ repertoire, the player will make decisions that will affect relationships and determine the character’s fate in the long run. A highly noticeable aspect of the game is that decisions you’ll make in one chapter might not result in anything until a few chapters later, so some decisions and choices you think aren’t big deals may come back to bite you.
Gameplay-wise, don’t expect anything new from The Quarry, as the game still follows the same formula seen in the developer’s previous titles. Players take control of one of the 9 central characters at several points in the game. They will be able to fully explore Hackett’s Quarry, finding hints, historical items, and clues explaining events in the game. Players can also find Tarot Cards which serve as collectibles in the game that can be used to gain insight and learn ways to prevent certain character deaths if lucky enough.
When things aren’t so calm, players will face multiple hazards and threats that will force them to engage in combat by shooting enemies in specific scenarios or evading them to defend themselves. This can be done through a sequence of Quick Time Events, Button Mashes, and button holds to hold your breath when faced with danger you can’t run from. Overall, the gameplay elements I’ve seen so far are incredibly similar, if not the exact same, as other games from the developer, with the exception of one newly introduced mechanic: Death Rewinds.
Death Rewinds serve as the game’s life system and maintain its VHS aesthetic by letting the player prevent a character’s death by rewinding to the very moment their death was set in motion. While using these lives may feel a bit cheap at times as you’re using them to cover your mistakes, it is worth noting that the game only provides the player three, so using them only in moments that count is advisable, and they are also helpful in some parts of the game that genuinely feel unfair.
The Quarry noticeably sports incredibly detailed and crisp visuals and impeccable cinematography, making playing through the game feel like watching a movie. The several camera shots, pans, and zooms expertly evoked fear during moments of turmoil for the characters and the players, and in the moments of calm provide a feeling of serenity thanks to the outstanding sound design and soundtrack that’s filled to the brim with pop songs from various highly notable artists many of which match the mood of the scene/section, while others admittedly ruin some moments in the game that’s meant to be serious.
Other than that, the game runs smoothly on PC on an RTX 3060. I found no issues with the frame rate or glitches. However, I should point out that while the acting in the game is superb, the modeling of the characters’ faces can be incredibly awkward at times, especially in moments they’re clearly meant to be emotive.
All in all, I believe Supermassive Games did a great job with The Quarry. While it doesn’t offer much in terms of gameplay, the story and characters are by far the best it’s been in some of the developer’s recent titles and provide an experience that can even rival the spiritual predecessor, Until Dawn.