The Quarry Review – IGN
Like many of the developer Supermassive’s previous games, The Quarry is clearly made both by and for people who love horror movies. From the start, it slowly builds excitement and atmosphere, and makes you invest by constantly asking you to make small decisions that will guide the teenage group of potential homicide victims. As the blood began to flow, each choice felt like one more step in a rolling catastrophe, making it almost impossible to give up. When I went back to play it again, however, it was impossible to ignore how little interactive much of The Quarry actually is. As a spiritual sequel to Until Dawn, it’s a better movie, but a worse game.
You follow the story of nine camp counselors who are stuck in the woods for another night at the end of the summer, with nothing to do but arrange one last party before returning to life. It’s something that haunts them from the tree line (because it is, of course) and your choices determine which, if any, of the counselors will be able to survive the night. This layout puts three pretty textbook horror plots on top of each other as you progress, but you can tell that Supermassive Games had a lot of fun figuring out how to connect them. When you play, you may think that you are in one type of horror movie, but you are often in another.
The Quarry Gameplay Screenshots
The title site of The Quarry is a summer camp in New York State, Hackett’s Quarry, which is slowly falling apart. It is basically designed to look like the most postcard-worthy version of itself, backlit by warm sunlight and spread over about a billion acres of natural splendor. It’s a Hollywood version of the perfect summer experience, with colorful cinematography that makes the whole camp look like someone’s dear memory. Then the sun goes down, the forest becomes dangerously quiet, the rot becomes clearer, and the nightmare begins.
You play as each of the nine camp advisors, controlling one at a time at different points in the approximately 10-hour campaign. You can influence how its events unfold through exploration scenes, conversation choices, quick time events, sneaking, simple battles, and Mass Effect-style interruptions where you have a short window to make a sudden move. There are many accessibility options built into The Quarry that allow you to adjust the difficulty of all these actions, or even change some of them so that they always succeed automatically. There is also a movie mode that allows the story to play out without interactivity at all, heading towards one of a few different preset conclusions. While you will see most of what is to be seen in movie mode, you will miss a few major events, many optional, and a lot of story context that can only come from playing manually.
Although I was never personally interested in using movie mode, I can appreciate that it exists. Even without it, you do not need solid jerk reflexes to get through The Quarry the way you did with parts of Until Dawn. In fact, there are several scenes where failing something like a fast time event does not necessarily have a bad outcome, making them more like snap decisions instead of mechanical challenges.
The primary problem with The Quarry is that it is less of a game and more of a light interactive movie for most of the game. You can walk surprisingly long distances without having to make a meaningful choice or take direct control of a character. All you are asked to do is see.
In general, my favorite part of Until Dawn, as well as the games in Supermassive’s Dark Pictures Anthology, was that it was at least as much mystery as it was a horror movie. During the adventure game-style exploration sequences, you had the chance to try to find important details about what happened by discovering clues, reading files, solving puzzles, and sometimes falling into what, with hindsight, was a really obvious trap. There’s not nearly as much of it in The Quarry. You have the chance to unravel some of the weird history behind the camp and the area around it, but it feels like an afterthought that disappointed me.
Another problem is that you can not skip past sequences or dialogues that you have already seen on repeat plays. In Until Dawn, it was a mild headache; in The Quarry, which is longer and significantly less interactive, it’s frustrating. I would love to play The Quarry again more than I did. It’s a lot of fun to go back through it and consciously make different decisions, or even make mistakes on purpose just to see what happens. I still found surprises in my third race, and it’s proof how absorbing this setting and story can actually be that I was willing to do the third race in the first place.
It would be a more entertaining process with a few important quality of life features missing. A better stage selector would be nice, in addition to a race button, an option for fast forward or better marked points without return. As it is, any attempt to play The Quarry again actually involves hours of downtime, where all you can do is sit back and watch it play out again.
The movie in the movie
The Quarry is deliberately meant to have a lighter tone than Supermassive’s other horror games, in a way that the director compared to Scream, which is supported by the cast of David Arquette as Hackett’s Quarry’s all-in-all. chief adviser. It is very self-conscious from the very beginning, with a cast of characters who have all seen at least one horror film before and act accordingly.
At the same time, The Quarry’s story feels as if Supermassive has learned a lot from its previous projects and puts that experience to use. It feels more confident, with a more solid, cohesive plot structure. There are still many twists and turns, but they are carefully calculated, and a few actually managed to surprise me.
The cast of motion-captured actors is a special highlight. A couple of them still have relatively little to do, and I had hoped to see more of Lance Hendriksen’s scary backyard hunters, but most of the characters are genuinely sympathetic and you get plenty of time to get to know them. Ariel Winter, Siobhan Williams and Justice Smith as Abigail, Laura and Ryan respectively are all particularly prominent, and Brenda Song as Kaitlyn somehow manages to end up as the biggest badass in the cast.
However, the characters in The Quarry do not behave as if they are in a horror movie. Many of them operate on a level of ironic detachment that sometimes borders on self-parody, especially if you are on a run where your body is still quite low. I’ve been through several sequences where my current characters still talked seriously about their little relationship drama despite being covered in other people’s blood.
No scene is dramatic enough that it can not be traced off with half a joke, and no amount of recent personal horror is enough to prevent someone from getting the perfect sick burn. It does not come out as awareness of their medium as much as direct traumatic dissociation. In terms of horror, if Supermassive Games aimed at Scream, it went over and ended up with The Cabin in the Woods.