I’m not much of a Supermassive Games fan as I just honestly don’t play a lot of spooky games so never gave them a chance. The studio’s most recent game, The Quarry was honestly my first opportunity to experience their games and my takeaway is – I was completely enthralled by The Quarry‘s absolutely fantastic narrative from start to finish in my playthrough of the game. This is done thanks to a star-studded cast and the people behind the scenes that crafted a truly thrilling adventure with the 80s/90s aesthetic to it. I say game but in the best way possible, The Quarry feels more like an expertly executed one-season only 10-episode series on your favourite streamer service.
The Quarry feels more like an evolution of what Supermassive Games did with 2015’s Until Dawn with The Quarry’s approach to the player agency as I definitely felt there was more of an emphasis on choice with an even smaller variety having an impact on the overall story. Depending on how you play the game of choice can result in life or death situations, personally, I tried my best to avoid that deadly landmine field. Thankfully all my characters survived and ally the antagonist kicked the bucket as they were really irredeemable in my opinion.
Thriller Summer Camp Netflix Series The Game
The Quarry’s narrative feels more like a cinematic episodic series (if the black bars in cut scenes were any more of a hint) than a game sometimes. Supermassive Games presents its version of a summer camp thriller with moments of horror as it brings justice to a classic universal monster as a real threat with a more modern twist. What the game also does well is the game’s approach to player choice, character performances in its star-studded cast, and a truly impressive presentation. What it doesn’t do well is only on the technical aspect side that can honestly be fixed in an update including no option to create a manual save for players like me who want to run a moment during a playthrough back.
The game kicks off in the game’s prologue with an introduction to two of the game’s ten playable characters, Max and Laura – a couple driving to Hackett’s Quarry, a summer camp they are counselling at and the game’s main setting. They decide to head down a day early to scope out the camp before the arrival of the other counsellors which does play into the game’s main full narrative with huge stakes for the game’s other playable characters. Throughout this short introduction, players are quickly introduced to QTEs (Quick Time Events) and an introduction to the untold history of Hacket’s Quarry when taking control of Laura.
Seek Revenge or Die Trying in The Quarry
Not trying to spoil too much of the prologue but a series of events results in you as the player not seeing these characters again for a little more than half of the game. This leads to the introduction of The Quarry‘s overarching self-aware character, Eliza – an old woman alongside her crow companion who the player meets in a place somewhere between dreams and reality. If you accept her help you are tasked with collecting one of the game’s many collectables, tarot cards and getting revenge against the game’s family of antagonists that did her wrong many years ago. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not but the inclusion of tarot cards and meeting a wisen character in your “dreams” that puts you on a path at the start of the game comes across a little like Persona.
Players will meet Eliza at the end of every game to find out how you are progressing, if you find a tarot card you can look into the future of a character that relates to said card. Following that, players will find themselves two months after the prologue, where they are introduced to the other counsellors who are seen waving goodbye to a bus packed with the kids who were at Hacket’s Quarry over the summer. Throughout the first chapter – really every chapter after – players will be able to control some of the eight other counsellors (Jacob, Ryan, Abi, and Dylan). Throughout the game, you get a better idea of who they are, their motivations and character development depending on your choices which the game delves deeper into in later chapters in both better and worse moments.
Getting into the gameplay, if you ever played Until Dawn then The Quarry will be familiar stomping grounds but with much better visuals and character models. When you’re free to control your character, you can walk around in the third-person perspective and pick up any collectables throughout the game including Clues (Camp History, Freakshow Fire, and Hackett History), Evidence, and Tarot Cards. Collectables are pretty easy to spot as the developer does a good job visually spotlighting them for players or really trophy/achievement hunters (like me) in The Quarry‘s linear world. The tarot cards meanwhile will be a little more difficult to spot as you have to position your character in order for these blown-out cards to appear via a different camera angle.
QTEs Are Much Easier To Deal With
I mentioned QTEs earlier and they have a major presence in the game in a couple of varieties I ran to while playing. Personally found some of them a bit too fast as I missed a couple, after restarting the game and slowing down the reaction time in the accessibility options made the experience much better. One of the QTEs includes holding the circle (PlayStation)/ B (Xbox) button and revealing which direction to push the left stick. This one pop-up the most in the game so similar to me it might help to adjust your QTE to a level you’re comfortable with. Other QTEs include mashing buttons to get past a narrative moment or holding button your breath so enemies can’t discover you. In rare moments, you also get to shoot a shotgun and nothing else which is honestly isn’t that bad for a mostly-choice narrative game. It doesn’t overstay its welcome thankfully as when used correctly has an impact on the survival of the characters.
The presentation and graphics of The Quarry are really the most impressive aspect of the game as I was enamoured by the whole look of the game, environments, and character designs. Supermassive Games really did an excellent job of creating a beautiful game but the sad con of that decision is that the game was locked at 30 fps at 4K resolution. Honestly, I believe that my FPS and manual save complaints can be fixed in an update as these are just technical issues that I feel weren’t given a lot of time to focus on before going gold so would love to see these improvements in the game.
The Star-Studded Cast is Fantastic
My other favourite feature of The Quarry is the game’s cast that truly brings out the best in their characters through their performances which contributes a lot to The Quarry‘s cinematic approach. A couple of my favourite performances include Ryan (played by Justice Smith from 2019’s Detective Pikachu), Dylan (played by Miles Robbins from 2018’s Halloween), and Kaitlyn (played by Brenda Song from Suite Life of Zack and Cody). They came across more of the game’s focus and had more chemistry in my playthrough than some other characters for reasons that are revealed later in the game.
Speaking of which some characters that I wasn’t much a fan of were the main game’s summer fling couple – Jacob (played by Zach Tinker from 13 Reasons Why) and Emma (played by Halston Sage from Dark Phoenix). Their performances didn’t really lead anywhere as they try to get back together which takes a back seat to the more important matters, selfishly for Jacob he is the whole reason why all the eight counsellors had to stay one extra night. They both came across as a man-child and a spoiled influencer who has some depth that really isn’t explored. Their lack of importance in the story thankfully doesn’t take away from the other characters as they do a better job as supporting characters to their other counsellors.
No Multiplayer Mode Yet But There is a Movie Mode
At this point in time, The Quarry is a single-player game but is getting a multiplayer mode later this Summer. As it wasn’t part of the game I can’t really comment on the quality of that aspect of The Quarry yet. The reason why it wasn’t included at launch was it was delayed due to part of the team and server relocating from Ukraine during the country’s ongoing war with Russia via IGN. All that had an impact on multiplayer development, so hopefully, the developers are doing well and in a better working environment. One mode I can actually dive into a little is the game’s movie mode, so if you are not in the mood to play you can watch The Quarry play out in movie form without any interaction from you. It was honestly a little jarring to re-experience the game this way but is honestly an option for moviegoers. Just don’t expect to find a sneaky way to pop any of The Quarry‘s trophies/achievements (other than the movie mode one), it doesn’t work that way.
The Quarry is a fantastic thrilling adventure that is the next evolution of Supermassive Games’ approach to choice base narrative games that just doesn’t just reach the highs of Until Dawn but even successfully surpasses it. Fans of narrative-choice games and new players alike will experience a series of awesome performances from a star-studded cast in a gripping narrative that brings justice to a classic monster by making it a true threat.
The approach to making all choices in the game matter to my overall playthrough in the game’s narrative was a welcome addition, especially in a genre where only big choices matter. While some lack of technical inclusions of a manual save option in the ‘game’ that is The Quarry is disheartening it doesn’t make it any less of an experience thanks to the accessibility options making it a less frustrating game to go through. I’d recommend anyone who appreciates a good story in games to give The Quarry a chance.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]