The Quarry Review: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
Supermassive Games has already built a reputation for itself as the creator of immersive cinematic horror games with the release of the award-winning cult classic Until Dawn back in 2015. Now, the studio has developed The Quarry as a spiritual successor, where you take on the role of teenage camp counselors forced to face the horrors of Hackett's Quarry.
The game takes obvious inspiration from slasher movies such as Scream and Friday the 13th to bring forward a compelling narrative in a movie-like package.
The Quarry Review — What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger
The game kicks with a creepy prologue before shifting to two months after those events, just as the camp counselors are packing their bags and getting ready to leave Hackett's Quarry. Unfortunately, things happen, and they will have to spend an extra night at camp. While some of the teen counselors are thrilled by the prospect, others, like camp leader Chris Hackett, are frustrated and spooked out.
Throughout The Quarry, you'll take turns playing as each of the nine camp counselors as they attempt to solve the mystery of Hackett's Quarry. There is a wide range of personality types in typical horror movie fashion: the dumb jock, narcissistic diva, and brooding loner make appearances. While some characters undergo major developments as the story progresses, others remain as annoying as they are at the start.
This, in part, is because the councilors are separated into groups of two or three, where they can build deeper relationships and express themselves freely — or not. The choice is mostly up to you.
The Quarry has some scary moments, but not always. However, it does a good job of keeping you at the edge of your seat at all times. At Hackett's Quarry, the danger is all around you and nobody is truly safe. You're purposely kept guessing at the true threat until the final few chapters.
Apart from the thrilling prologue, the first two chapters drag. Thankfully, the story picks up steam rather quickly, and you’ll get to experience the most intense sequences towards the second half of the game.
Those familiar with titles from Supermassive Games should have an idea of the core gameplay mechanics in The Quarry. The experience is filled with quick-time events (QTEs), button-mashing sequences, and scenes where you must hold your breath while hiding. In general, these are easy to complete by just following the on-screen prompts. Whether it’s flicking the analog stick in a certain direction or repeatedly pressing the same button, there isn’t much technical skill involved here.
Instead, the difficulty lies in making tough decisions that may come back to haunt you — literally. Both Hackett’s Quarry and its inhabitants are absolutely brutal, and any mistake could be your last. In some instances, there are no second chances, and making one choice will instantly result in a character’s gruesome death. It's a reminder that your choices have severe consequences that can permanently affect your playthrough.
To make things slightly more forgiving, the developers have included a Death Rewind system where you have three chances to save characters from dying. These essentially act as do-overs and take you back to before the character in question is killed in order to rewrite their fate.
The Death Rewind system unlocks after your first completion of The Quarry or by purchasing the deluxe edition of the game. At times, the choices can be somewhat vague, resulting in undesirable outcomes, making this system a welcomed one that can help save certain characters you initially sent to the grave.
The moment-to-moment gameplay essentially doesn't matter in a game like this, as most of the action happens during scripted cutscenes anyways. So, walking too slow or taking your time to explore dark spooky rooms will never result in death.
This helps encourage players to interact with every object and explore every room they can to collect clues and Tarot Cards. (At the end of each chapter, you’ll present any tarot cards you've found to a creepy old woman who gives you the chance to see into the future for a few seconds.)
For some reason, the movement speed is unbearably sluggish, which makes walking around feel like a chore. It's irritating in a game where exploration is rewarded with clues that help piece the story together. While pressing the "run" button does alleviate this issue slightly, all of the characters are still pretty slow, especially when going up or down stairs.
With all the long interactive cutscenes, The Quarry is actually closer to being a movie than an actual videogame. In fact, it features a Movie Mode that lets you sit back, grab a bowl of popcorn, and watch the story unfold on its own. However, I don’t believe the story is strong enough to warrant simply watching a 10-hour "series" or "movie" after completing the game.
According to the developers, The Quarry has 186 unique ending variations, making subsequent playthroughs a worthwhile experience. Yes, the mystery aspect will lose its luster after your first completion, but it can be fun messing around with choices and paths you may have missed.
Arguably the most glaring issue with The Quarry has to be the ending. In a game filled with intense and anxiety-inducing moments, it was quite disappointing not to have a dramatic conclusion to the otherwise excellent story (aside from the first two chapters after the prologue).
Instead, you're presented with an abrupt and premature ending followed by an equally underwhelming epilogue/credits scene. There's no real closure, something the game so desperately needs. Even having something similar to Until Dawn's police interrogation scenes would have sufficed.
Visually, The Quarry looks fantastic with well-detailed character models and facial animations that bring its characters to life. The game features a star-studded cast including legendary horror actors David Arquette, Ted Raimi, and Lance Henriksen. Even newcomers to the genre such as Brenda Song and Ariel Winter bring stellar performances.
The lighting effects also allow you to appreciate the gorgeous yet spooky environments without revealing what lurks in the shadows. However, the water animations, especially in the camp's lake, leave a lot to be desired. When the game excels graphicly in other areas, it is difficult to ignore how blatantly subpar the water animations are.
The Quarry Review— The Bottom Line
- Strong mystery elements that lead to an intriguing story.
- Stellar visuals and solid performances from the cast.
- Unsatisfying ending and final sequence.
- Easy gameplay and unthreatening QTEs.
- Slight performance issues.
The Quarry isn't exactly the scariest game out there, but horror game aficionados will find plenty to enjoy here thanks to its high-stakes gameplay and fantastic performances from its all-star cast. If that doesn't sound like your type of game, it becomes difficult to justify paying full price for a 10-hour experience.
The game certainly doesn't attempt to reinvent the wheel, but still manages to provide players with a unique and rich interactive experience on par with that of Until Dawn.
[Note: 2K Games provided the copy of The Quarry used for this review.]