Supermassive Games has taken a quick detour away from its Dark Pictures Anthology series to deliver a new kind of horror story. I use the word “new” here very lightly because The Quarry isn’t far off from what we have come to expect from the studio. Yes, it is a new story and has some new cast members but the general branching-path horror gameplay is still intact in The Quarry. So much so that you’ll need to replay this game a few times to see it all. For the most part, the game tries its hardest to create a new thrilling story to follow but in the end, it doesn’t shy away from its inspirations from Until Dawn. Nor does it hold back on the annoying cast members either.
The Quarry follows a group of teens as they have wrapped up their summer camp period as counsellors. Just as the group are about to leave and possibly live another day, some dumbass who thinks with his dick causes them to stay behind. As horny teens do, they decide to take advantage of the abandoned Hacket’s Quarry Summer Camp and have a party. Little do they know, the place isn’t as abandoned as they thought. There are deadly things lurking in the shadows waiting to take them out. They also have themselves to worry about because many of them don’t have half a brain to work with either.
As past Supermassive Games go, The Quarry is a narrative-driven game. It lasts just over ten hours and how you play it is up to you. Every chapter focuses on a different set of characters at the camp and how the group struggle to make it through the night. Of course, this means some might not make it while others might survive but let’s just say they won’t be as whole as they were the day before.
If you have played any previous game in the series, you won’t find much new here to discover in terms of gameplay mechanics. There are loads of collectables around each chapter to find that give you a little insight into the game’s backstory and characters. There’s also some old crone lady who reads your fortune. Granted I had to find a tarot card somewhere in the chapter first by walking to a specific area forcing the camera to spot it first. You can also expect all the thrills that come from spamming buttons and timing analogue flicks as you try to survive the game’s QTEs.
The Quarry does feel like the most fleshed-out game from Supermassive to date. While the story doesn’t hit the same level of a masterpiece as Until Dawn, I enjoyed how modern it felt with the annoying characters all being somewhat relatable. Don’t get me wrong here, every single character in The Quarry is a pain in the ass. Jacob is an alpha male asshole that will do anything he can to prove how macho he is. Emma is a so-called “influencer” who spends her life vlogging and speaking about her “fans.
Nick is a whiney English guy who is blinded by a crush he has on another councillor. Dylan is a complete airhead who doesn’t have any basic life skills. Kaitlyn is loud and obnoxious and has that “I am too good for anyone” personality. There’s Abigail, the all-American girl who lets a crush get in the way of having a good time. Let’s not forget my least favourite character, Ryan. He is the sarcastic downer that no one can live up to.
You can tell by now that these characters are quite annoying to spend time with. Thankfully, you can kill them all which makes The Quarry a lot more fun for some people (like me). With that being said, I did complete my entire first playthrough without losing anyone. A great feature of the game is just how intertwined the entire experience is and how most decisions I made in the game, had some impact on the story later down the line. Something as simple as breaking down the door to get something inside resulted in an intense scene a few chapters down the line.
I did enjoy how The Quarry felt more meaningful with its decisions. A major issue I have with the Dark Picture series is how a dumb dialogue choice would often result in a character being killed off much later down the line. However, in The Quarry, these story points felt more streamlined to actions and what I did to the world and the other characters in that chapter. It was more logical.
Most of the tough parts in The Quarry revolve around these decisions. While character relationships do play a small role in some outcomes, most of the game’s big turning points are kept to how I performed during some chapters. Sometimes I could not do anything like not shoot the bush or not scream out “hello” when alone in the woods. Other times I had to spam a button to climb up a ledge or flick an analogue stick to perform another task. Failing to do so would not be pretty for the character.
There’s a lot of shooting in The Quarry. More so than any other previous game. Mostly, these aiming moments meant I had to quickly shoot something coming towards me or not shoot. It isn’t a first-person shooter game by any means but the additional mechanic did spice things up a bit.
I do have issues with The Quarry. Visually, the game has some rough edges. The character facial animations are decent most of the time but when the models really need to show their feelings, the game doesn’t do such a great job here. Sometimes these characters would often look more constipated than scared and frightened. Especially Emma.
The Quarry also has some major pacing issues. Some chapters are quick and intense while in others nothing really happens. It also doesn’t help that characters walk at a snail’s pace so exploring areas for collectables and tarot cards become a real chore. I could speed up their walk but it felt just as slow.
Apart from that, The Quarry is a lot of fun. Sure, the characters are cliche and painful sometimes but the general writing is fantastic. The story is also quite exciting to experience and watch unravel in front of you. The game also has quite a lot of replay value thanks to its intertwined story and different modes that might make a dinner party a bit more exciting.
This The Quarry review is based on a code sent to us by 2K Games. It is available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC from R960