The Quarry Review Until Dawn, developed by Supermassive Games, was an outstanding horror experience that delved deeply into narrative choice. The game gave the player the ability to choose which teens made it through a night of hell.
The Dark Pictures Anthology, the developer’s follow-up release, had a significant drop in both the amount of available options and the overall quality of the game. Despite this, it still managed to give a good number of jump scares.
The decision-making process is once again put front and centre in the most recent release from this developer, titled The Quarry. This approach pays off handsomely in a game that is packed with surprising turns and twists, as well as a spiderweb of routes leading to 186 different possible conclusions.
Even though The Quarry is more accurately described as Until Dawn’s spiritual successor, we are really excited to finally get our hands on the actual sequel.
The atmosphere shouts out to be a tribute to the horror film genre. The last day of summer camp at Hackett’s Quarry is intended to be filled with emotional farewells between friends and flings, but a broken-down vehicle enables the adolescent counsellors one more day to party together without caring about the children in their care.
Supermassive employs this booze-filled campfire moment to develop connections, taking the time to get to know each counsellor while providing the player the ability to shape how they respond via relevant feedback. The bonfire scene also has a lot of alcohol.
The expressions of feeling are brought even more effectively by superb licenced music.
Conversations between two characters are often cut off in order to provide the player with two possible courses of action, such as “assertive” or “apologetic,” to choose from in order to choose what will take place next. Depending on the reaction, relationships are either strengthened or weakened, and these changes have the potential to lead to significant tonal shifts that generate alternate narrative trajectories.
Exploration of the environment and participation in a few quick firing sequences both result in a variety of interesting results and are fun in their own right.
Although Supermassive does a fantastic job of letting you know when you’ve taken the tale in a different path, many options are too ambiguous and may lead to unforeseen events, like the possible death of a counsellor.
In the middle of the game, I had the option to either open a trap door or collect a sack; neither option provided any information about what would occur as a result of either choice; yet, one of those choices resulted in a character being consumed as a midnight snack.
Within the Special Edition of the game, which I played, and for further playthroughs, Supermassive Games has built in a ludicrous “use a life” mechanism that allows players to erase certain decisions that they know are essentially a coin flip.
You get three lives for the whole of the game, which is three more than you need seeing as how the most important aspect of Supermassive’s horror series is making decisions and dealing with the repercussions of those choices.
The life system mitigates some of the tension and will almost certainly result in more players having more favourable results towards the conclusion of the game. When I finished a round of Until Dawn, one of my favourite things to do was to ask other people, “How many survived?” The responses were disorganised and inconsistent.
To get the most out of the game and observe how your decisions pan out, I suggest playing the regular version, which only offers you one life, or simply disregarding the lives entirely.
Quick-time events (QTEs) provide possible failure areas in action sequences, however they are telegraphed for an excessively long time and are quite easy to perform. They are surprisingly useless and drag down the frenetic rhythms at crucial points in the game.
The action that results from pressing these buttons is little, making this a facet of the game that has been gradually toned down in comparison to Until Dawn. For example, you won’t come across as many “run” or “hide” moments or environmental interactions that alter the course your character takes through the game.
The Quarry is less of an interactive experience and more of a cinematic one thanks to the efforts of Supermassive Games. The lack of control is a bit disheartening, but the fact that I had to keep the youngsters alive mostly by making choices (and there were a lot of them) was more than enough to keep me going.
As was the case with Until Dawn, I want to revisit this game for a second, third, or who knows how many more times to explore the several branching pathways and discover their respective outcomes (even if many are just text). It’s possible that certain characters may pass away rather early on, and I’m interested to see where the story goes from here without them.
I won’t give away who or what is following the youngsters, but the survival part is exciting, and one of the game’s great hooks is trying to figure out what is really going on. However, the most beneficial aspect is the counsellors. Every character is intriguing in their own unique way, and you learn a lot about them as the story progresses.
Their connections with one another and the goals they have set for themselves are at the centre of most of the decisions they make, and they often clash with the goals set by other characters. I would often take some time to reflect on how a certain choice would influence the experience of another person when we were at camp.
The plot advances at a reasonable speed and visits intriguing locations, although at times it may be difficult to follow both in terms of logic and clarity. You’ll find yourself wanting to yell at the people on screen for not doing obvious things, but I guess that’s par for the course in adolescent slasher movies and may have been done on purpose. You have to tell your brain to stop thinking about the intricacies and simply let them go.
In spite of the fact that he has a wound that might cost him his life, a character in The Quarry behaves as if nothing is wrong with him. It is corny and completely implausible, but above all, it is entertaining to laugh at as you root for the characters to succeed.
All of the teens have their own quirks and qualities that make them charming in their own special ways. It should come as no surprise that Supermassive has a history of putting together stellar casts, such as the one in Until Dawn, which included Rami Malek, winner of an Academy Award. The show is stolen by the younger ensemble, despite the fact that David Arquette and Ted Raimi are two of the biggest stars on the ticket.
The performances given by Evan Evagora, Siobhan Williams, Ariel Winter, Justice Smith, and Halston Sage are excellent, and they make you want to do all you can to keep them out of harm’s path in one moment, and then you want to strangle them in the next one.
Their back and forth is entertaining, and the development of their relationships allows you to put yourself in the characters’ shoes and influence how they mature.
The artistic staff at Supermassive should also be commended for bringing the characters’ likenesses to life with a terrifying level of realism and for capturing the fleeting expressions of emotion that may reveal a character’s inner motivations for a fraction of a second.
The game has a really dramatic feel to it, thanks in large part to the moody lighting and well-crafted settings, which assist to build up the suspense.
Even more impressive is the fact that Supermassive has incorporated a movie mode, which enables players to put their controllers down, relax, and watch the results of their randomised choices play out.
Despite the fact that I wish the player had more control over the primary game’s events, I can’t deny how captivating the decisions are, particularly when they result in total anarchy.
As soon as the frantic rushing through the woods starts, the gloomy secrets and the excitement of keeping people alive are both great hooks that will keep you gripped in suspense until the titles roll.