Supermassive’s latest horror game, The Quarry, has arrived, bringing slick visuals and an excellent cast…but is that enough?
Supermassive Games has a knack for horror titles, and they are back at it again with a spiritual successor for Until Dawn. The Quarry is no different than their previous games where you must lead a group of teens to survival, or doom, via quick time events, decision making, and exploring. Surprisingly, all three areas impact the overall story, but is it enough to warrant multiple playthroughs?
The Quarry sets up a typical teen horror movie plot, where a group of post-high school counselors set out for Summer camp. Two of the counselors show up a day early, to the dismay of a local Sheriff who instructs them to stay away from the camp. Of course, the pair decide to go against his word and become the first victims. After the prologue we are introduced to the rest of the cast as they start opening up their backstories.
Developer: SuperMassive Games
Platform: PS5 (Played On) / Xbox / PC
Release Date: June 10th, 2022
The game instantly hits you with some amazing visuals and designs to get you creeped out. If anything, The Quarry does set pieces better than almost any horror movie out there. They studied hard on camera placement, object placement, and hid little hints in the backgrounds to make you point and say “did you see that?!”
The lighting alone in The Quarry leads to some phenomenal moments where light is piercing through windows or trees and landing perfectly in the room you roam around in. You spend a lot of time wondering if danger is lurking just around the corner, and it’s done so well that literally nothing could be happening and you are left questioning still.
The game spends quite a bit of time early on with no real danger or major things happening. It isn’t until Chapter 4 where people can start seeing their doom, and most of the decisions up to this point are very minor for the overall story. Yes, there are a few decisions that have major impact, but after multiple playthroughs I noticed the first three chapters play out almost identical regardless of decision making; barring an added voice line here and there to end up at the same point.
This is my major gripe with The Quarry. It’s an overall easy game, and a little common sense typically leads you in the right direction. There was only one instance where I thought I was doing something right, but it ended up totally destroying my entire story at the end.
A single decision.
I went back and followed the right path and five chapters in, I only had to make one different decision. That’s because a majority of the decision making impacts very little on the story. If a choice you make does impact the story then a tape pops up and says you followed a new path. However there are multiple times where you will see things like “character is anxious” or “character doesn’t believe you” pop up, but it made no difference on the route I took at all. It was only the big key decisions that decided whether a character lived or died.
I mean it is pretty cool that such minor decisions can impact the story, but it’s also frustrating because there is no real way to reverse this without playing all over again. The game of course has QTE events, but these instances are super easy because they are just an extension of decision making. Shoot the gun, or don’t shoot the gun. There are no button sequences or anything complex because of this. Even holding your breath in moments is just holding a button until the danger is gone. I would have preferred something that took a bit of skill, but this would probably influence decisions accidentally.
The game offers a “rewind” feature where, when a character dies it will give you three chances to go back to the first decision that caused said character to die. Sometimes this could be 5 or 10 minutes back (maybe you missed a quick time event) or it could be a decision you made in Chapter 2, and you’re in chapter 10. The bad part of this is you need to now play the entire game from that point all over again and change that decision. There is no quick way to change a decision or skip cutscenes, and I’ve played through the game multiple times now and purposely made opposite decisions, but it’s ultimately the same game with very slight differences.And this leads to disliking the very long stretches of no interaction, you have no choice but to sit there and wait for the next decision.
What also sucks is that literally everything resets. So any collectables and events you have done after this reset point need to be done once again. This applies to not only rewinds, but chapter select also. Once you select a chapter to start from, the game reset to that point, and chapter select is no longer an option until you finish the game again.
This Leads to the “128 different endings.” The game does offer multiple “endings” because it offers absolutely no real ending to the game. This next part will be a bit of a spoiler, so skip to the end if you wish.
The ending of the game consists of telling you who lives and who dies. It will say your decision to do something led to this character’s death or allowed them to live. And then the credits play and will let you listen to a 30 minute podcast which will slightly alter based on evidence you found throughout the game. That’s it. There isn’t a follow up on what the characters did, or characters meeting back up (think love interests) or any real closure to the story no matter which ending you get. The podcast aspect is cool for anyone that listened to the actual podcast leading up to the game, but other than that it leads to no real closure. It is neat that the podcast breaks the fourth wall multiple times in the story too.
It’s also rather hard to get a “true” ending of the game. Like I said, very minor decisions early in the game lead to some rather absurd decisions later in the game. One decision I made led to me basically missing almost all of Chapter 10 in my first playthrough. By getting this ending I absolutely hated the game. It was so lackluster in explaining anything, and characters were popping off quickly even though I tried my best to keep them alive.
Then I played through again and changed just one decision, one decision, and somehow kept everyone alive and had a proper ending (as best you can get). SPOILER One thing that totally bugged me was that Laura was set out for one reason, to get Max, and even though you can save them there is only one specific route you can take to have them meet again. So even though you get them both to safety, unless you playthrough yet again and choose to take one specific route, you never see them be happy together.
It’s instances like this that makes pacing feel off at times. Certain decisions will lead to small bits and pieces being left out, but overall the game chugs along the same path. So you get from point A to point B regardless, however some of that path might be missing and have you asking what is happening. There are also some glaring plot holes that are hard to ignore, and missing this information just makes it worse.
The second playthrough made me appreciate the game more, you get to pick up on key things characters say, or actions they make, which impact the overall story. Now that you know the ultimate route things are going, and what lurks in the darkness, certain scenes really make you surprised on hints you missed or what a character was referencing. It also helps explain why certain character remarks pop up (like a character being anxious) based on what you said or did. These things have no impact on the actual story, but it adds a little bit of depth to the overall character.
Personally I enjoyed the acting and dialogue throughout the game. I found one particular character, Laura, has an arc that made the entire game super interesting. The ending kind of blows this up, but overall she goes from being rather boring to the ultimate badass, and most characters seem to take an arc of this nature which is neat. Regardless of decision making you should see some connection between characters and feel bad when you mess up.
The animation just further exploits this with super realistic eye movements and facial muscle movement. The only drawback slightly are mouths, but overall the models and designs look super cool. The animations of walking around and subtle human movements are also extremely well done, and it feels like just watching a live action movie most of the time.
I say most of the time because any time the game had to animate something other than basic human movements it failed miserably. This includes beasts that appear in the game, these are not human like and have odd last generation style animations, it totally pulls you out of the game. Also anything that is “fast” is not animated well at all. If a character is flung across the room, for example, they fly so fast that it isn’t believable at all.
Then there is water. I’m not sure why blood and characters look phenomenal, but anything involving actual water looks like total garbage. There is a scene where two characters are in a lake splashing each other, and I’m not sure what they are swimming in but it isn’t water. Kinda odd considering the circumstance of the story that water wasn’t a key area to perfect.
My major drawback of the overall game is that it intentionally slows you down to extend the length of the game. Overall there is maybe 20 minutes of actual gameplay in a 10 hour game. You can’t skip cutscenes so multiple playthroughs are total drag when you are sitting in areas that have no effect on your decisions. There is also a walking mechanic, where your character walks everywhere, and it makes exploring extremely tedious. If the game would offer a fast forward option, or a true chapter select where you can make a few different decisions, and see what plays out it would be a lot more fun. Instead you basically need to watch the entire game again with very long stretches of not doing anything.
The fact that the game is mostly predictable is both the strongest and weakest aspect of the game. You can have pretty much everything figured out by mid game, and the game justifies your assumptions by blatantly telling you by Chapter 7. This is a strength because your assumptions are authentic, there is a threat, these characters are indeed in trouble. At the same time because your assumptions were correct to this point you start to lean into it, and the sudden twists near the end game can lead to some troubling decisions. With that danger being known it leads to some really tense situations with characters, and simple 50/50 decisions become extremely hard to make.
However, it is also the weakness because the twist isn’t too strong. With Supermassive, my favorite thing is learning how things you thought were the truth, aren’t. Decisions you think are good can often be bad. There was only one real shocking moment for me in my multiple playthroughs, everything else was basically predicted early on. I was waiting for the game to throw me an “ah ha, got you!” moment and it never really did. At least nothing due to my direct decisions.
I think this is mostly due to the open-ended ending that doesn’t explain anything and it kind of leaves things in an awkward place regardless of the outcome. I felt previous games had a bit more depth, more exploring, and some odd twists that threw you off guard. The Quarry just feels like these ideas were never hidden, it’s very apparent what the intentions of characters are and the story is too predictable.
Overall, The Quarry is a fun thrilling entry to the horror gaming genre. It’s not too scary and is easily approachable for a wider audience that want to dab into the genre. However, with such little content I feel The Quarry would be better off acting like a spin-off series (similar to The Dark Pictures Anthology), where releases are not full priced adventures. Asking a premium of 70 dollars for The Quarry seems questionable.
I had a good time, but not that good of a time. Replaying the game becomes a grind with how little you can affect the story, and with no real endings to see, it feels kind of pointless to do so. The cast and art design are not something to be missed, but with that price tag I expect everything to be super polished and a huge step up from the Dark Pictures and Until Dawn, and it just isn’t. I do suggest playing The Quarry at least once, and then playing it again with a slightly different decision mentality and pay attention to all the little details.