‘The Quarry’ Video Game Review – The Final Verdict

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Supermassive Games, they are obsessed with horror movies and the many ways the human body can give up. That has not done the developer any harm in the past. With the successful Until Dawn and the annually published parts in The Dark Pictures Anthology, the studio managed to carve out a nice niche for itself. The concept is simple, but elegant: each time you are presented with a horrific scenario, through which you can guide a handful of characters. Your decisions determine whether or not they make it to the finish line. With The Quarry, Supermassive Games is not reinventing the wheel. There is hardly any deviation from the success formula. The result is therefore not surprising, but it is solid again.

Nine little teens…

The Quarry can simply be described as Until Dawn 2. I personally wouldn’t even be surprised if this was the working title of the game at an early stage. The premise has remained almost completely the same: a group of teenagers in a remote place become completely isolated from the outside world and have to deal with dark forces that try to sell them an early (and extra painful) ticket to the afterlife. It’s up to you to prevent that… or to encourage it. Meet the camp leaders of Hackett’s Quarry, who, after a summer of entertaining children, are suddenly forced to spend an extra night in the titular quarry due to unforeseen circumstances. No problem, you might think. Until it turns out that there are a few very bloodthirsty figures wandering in the woods.

Unsurprisingly, Supermassive Games waits several hours to put all its cards on the table. The Quarry does not just reveal its mysteries and therefore presents some cool plot twists, which we will of course not reveal here. However, if you’ve played Until Dawn or one of the scions of the Dark Pictures stable, you know roughly what to expect. Nothing is what it seems; everything is possible. The difference between The Quarry and The Dark Pictures Anthology is mainly in play time and production value. The Quarry takes ten hours to complete, so it has plenty of time to quietly deepen its characters and plant seeds that only bloom later. With success, because the group of potential survivors that you get under your care is one of flesh and blood, full of dreams and flaws, that settle into your heart without difficulty.

A feast of tributes

To make this happen, Supermassive Games called on a cast of familiar faces. Young violence like Justice Smith (Detective Pikachu) and Ariel Winter (Modern Family) give the best of themselves, but old genre rotters like Lance Henriksen (Aliens), David Arquette (Scream) and Lin Shaye (Insidious) are also on a high level. Act. In addition, they provide a base of recognisability, which every horror fan will love. We could go on and on in that regard. Supermassive Games clearly has its classics. For example, the game starts with a sweeping camera shot that seems to come straight from The Evil Dead; the synth soundtrack more than once hints at the ominous tune of A Nightmare On Elm Street; and had to look twice to make sure the yellow camp sign said Hackett’s Quarry, not Camp Crystal Lake.

The not-so-hidden horror nerd in me crowed with pleasure several times, but my head also harbors a genuine nitpicker who managed to pierce through the euphoria a few times. After all, The Quarry’s script – which is mostly well put together – contains some off-notes, which took me out of the experience. Characters who perform completely illogical acts… You can consider it a necessary evil of the genre, but it made certain parts you have no control over a bit annoying. Also, sometimes scenes don’t seem to connect well. Take, for example, a character who suddenly sits at the campfire, while five minutes earlier he had announced with the necessary fanfare that he would not participate… These are small irregularities that somehow limit your influence.

And then they were with…

The main selling point of The Quarry is that each character could die in multiple ways. Each of your decisions would be critical. I always take such statements with a grain of salt and that turned out to be necessary again. It’s true that some characters can die early and in a very varied way, but this certainly doesn’t apply to every teenager you get under your thumbs. What’s more, some of them can only end one way or the first chapters carry an impenetrable “plot armor” with them. This doesn’t make the first turn any less exciting, of course, but it can still rob a later playthrough of some beauty. You have been warned.

In terms of gameplay, The Quarry leans on the pillars that Supermassive Games have used since Until Dawn: exploration, dialogue and Quick Time Events. When you explore the quarry, you do this just like in House of Ashes with a free camera, which you can easily maneuver around your character. You send dialogues in a certain direction with targeted replies, with far-reaching consequences at a later date. Collisions with the creeps that kill the characters happen via QTE, in other words pressing a button on your controller in time. I personally have no problem with this, although the QTEs in The Quarry are so damn easy that I never felt like I was in any real danger. Even the minigame where you have to hold your breath until an attacker gives up, lacks some challenge. Offering multiple levels of difficulty could have helped here.

Shredded paper

Technically, Supermassive Games – which has long used motion capture to show its Hollywood stars frolicking on your screen in all their glory – continues to make slow but steady strides. The Quarry runs locked at 30 fps and seems to (for good?) get rid of the framerate problems that sometimes plagued The Dark Pictures Anthology. In addition, graphically the developer continues to bravely try to look as realistic as possible. At times this also succeeds quite well, although the ‘uncanny valley’ occasionally rears its head here and there, with the occasional leather facial expression as the main culprit. Fortunately, these are exceptions; Supermassive Games succeeds more than ever in making you feel like you have a real movie in front of you. If desired, you can take that literally: The Quarry contains the option to omit all gameplay and just watch the story – with many or few fatalities.

The environment splashes off your screen in a 4K resolution and that looks mostly fine. The quarry from the title is therefore a location that begs to be explored. From the dozen wooden log cabins on the camp grounds, to the tree house towering above everything and everyone, to the scrapyard strewn with rusty car wrecks… they are all locations that set the stage for exciting horror scenes. Unfortunately, I also found some rough edges here. For example, during night scenes, characters sometimes have a pretty hazy aura around them, which skillfully frustrates the intended realism. By the way, never show The Quarry to a physics professor; if he sees how Supermassive Games shapes splashing water, he will probably have a heart attack. As if a toddler has torn a ream of paper to shreds and throws the shreds in your face. Whatever the thinking behind it, that’s not how water behaves.

Supermassive Games has provided some graphic filters, which can literally and figuratively color your experience differently. ‘Indie horror’ lights up the screen in a slightly warmer glow, ’80s horror’ packs a grainy image that surprisingly fits the genre perfectly, and ‘classic horror’ transports you back to the sixties with accompanying black and white footage. . Each one worth trying. In terms of audio I am also satisfied. I already mentioned the excellent performances of the cast, but I would also like to pay tribute to the atmospheric synth soundtrack and the excellent audio design – which makes you spontaneously paranoid. The game also calls on a whole series of pop songs, which are perfectly chosen and invariably offer added value. This is how every horror game should sound.

Played on: Playstation 5.
Also available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC.

Conclusion

The Quarry does what Supermassive Games has been doing well for years: presenting gamers with an interactive horror film full of memorable characters and a hefty number of potential (and each extremely gory) death scenes. The extra hours of gameplay compared to the shorter parts of The Dark Pictures Anthology do wonders for the empathy, while the cast of famous names gives the whole the allure of a Hollywood film. It’s not all roses, however. For example, the possible outcomes are slightly less numerous than promised, the Quick Time Events suffer from an acute lack of challenge and The Quarry is not entirely convincing on a technical level. In short, Supermassive Games presents a familiar story with The Quarry. That may mean little innovation or progress… but absolutely no setbacks either.

Pros

  • Interesting story
  • cool characters
  • strong cast
  • Plays very smoothly
  • Nice audio design
  • There is still no wear and tear on the success formula!

Negatives

  • Less replay value than promised
  • Occasional lack of logic
  • QTEs miss challenge
  • Technical irregularities

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