Near the end of Supermassive Games’ new title The Quarry, I found myself feeling something I’d seldom felt from any of their more recent offerings: Gratification.
A monster was stalking one of several camp counselors I’d kept alive through a slew of other dangers. As we approached the kitchen, I realized something: A stuffed animal that blurted out friendly phrases was sitting in said kitchen, left there by another counselor after I’d managed to keep alive by pursuing a specific love interest. Earlier still, another character had pointed out how it would suck to get stuck inside the freezer, which had a particularly heavy and lockable door.
With these factors in mind, I made the choices necessary to use the stuffed animal as a distraction and lure the beast into the freezer. It worked perfectly, and the counselor lived to see their way further into the story.
It was an incredibly elating moment, and it felt all the better knowing it was one of several different solutions I'd discovered naturally. More than anything though, it hammered home the fact that The Quarry is a return to form for Supermassive’s trademark choice-driven horror games.
Like Supermassive’s breakout hit Until Dawn, The Quarry is a full-sized adventure focused on a wider cast of characters.
Following a selfish and short-sighted decision, several young counselors are stuck at a secluded summer camp for an extra night. Unfortunately, this is a worst-case scenario. Strange creatures lurk in the woods hunting whatever they come across, while blood-smattered locals hunt these monsters with an equally aggressive fervor.
With no means of escape until morning, the counselors must figure out how to avoid both threats, all while uncovering their origins and a means of surviving the night.
It’s a fairly standard setup, but the story twists and weaves as much as - if not more than - any of its predecessors.
The game offers pulse-pounding horror that legitimately made me jump out of my seat, whether it was due to a quick jump scare or a minutes-long dash through a gauntlet of potential hazards.
Likewise, the cast of characters is some of the most likable of any in a Supermassive title to date. Whereas Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures Anthology games featured characters that could veer too far into two-dimensional territory, The Quarry’s counselors feel that extra bit deeper.
The jock character doesn’t immediately become the de facto powerhouse of the group and rarely steals the spotlight, while the boisterous wisecracking girl proves to be more than a source of comic relief. This is true regardless of how you play each character, with both their best and worst versions proving interesting and worth caring about for better or worse.
Hammering home these strengths even further are some great vocal performances, with most every voice actor bringing their characters’ emotional highs and lows to life. Characters can sound exactly like annoying teenagers one minute only to scream and shriek with terror the next, and it feels genuine every step of the way.
To be sure, they’ll still throw out some groan-worthy lines more than most would like, and some of them can really sour the atmosphere the game is trying to create. Luckily, they’re few and far between enough that players will be able to comfortably engage with the narrative again before long.
And engage they shall: Like past Supermassive titles, the game features regular QTEs, shooting segments, and a bombardment of choices for the player to make. Each can impact the game’s characters both immediately and in ways that won’t become apparent until much later.
Fortunately, none of these gameplay elements feel overtly cheap or frustrating to deal with. Most all of the QTEs are generous in how much time players have to clear them, but still require staying alert while playing. The same can be said for the shooting segments, which are geared more toward making players consider the consequences of pulling the trigger than rapidly hitting multiple targets.
As for the choices, they’re typical Supermassive fare. Some affect the relationships between characters, while others impact how said characters will react to different threats or challenges.
Unlike some of their other recent offerings though, The Quarry felt like it was meaningfully impacted by said choices. Some could send the counselors hurtling into dangerous situations hours later, while others could open up a number of different solutions to problems that changed the flow of the story immediately.
There were only one or two occasions that had me annoyed and scratching my head, either because they felt out of place or because they were invalidated almost immediately so the story could move in a certain direction.
This remained true in my second go-around as well. While there was definitely some overlap in the stories shown for both playthroughs, large chunks moved in very different directions based on who I’d kept alive and how I’d made them interact with different characters.
If all this weren’t enough, The Quarry also introduces a new Lives system into the mix. During any given playthrough, players will have three chances to retry a segment where one of their characters died. This applies to every character in the game and can be triggered at any time.
This addition proves to be a godsend when aiming for specific endings or scenarios. Instead of needing to restart playthroughs constantly due to small mistakes, players can experiment with ease knowing there’s a safety net available.
The system is entirely optional too, allowing fans of the original one-and-done style of gameplay to experience the game in their preferred way without issue.
Topping off these strengths is some stellar sound design. The creak of old floorboards in a dilapidated estate, low growls of unknown beasts in the distance, and the gushy gnashing of fangs all surround the player on a regular basis, putting the finishing touch on some excellently blood-chilling atmosphere.
As for The Quarry’s weaknesses, it’s hard not to point out some of the graphical issues the game suffers from. While the character models and environments are impressively photorealistic, other graphical elements are undeniably bad.
When interacted with by character models, the game’s water looks more like a sheet of slime than any sort of liquid. Blood and gore, meanwhile, can be awkward in how they seem to pop in around characters instead of appearing as they’re injured.
There’s also the usual array of flaws that show up in most any Supermassive game like texture pop-ins, awkward facial movements, and wonky hair physics.
These can all be very distracting when they occur in close proximity to one another. Overall though, they’re far from deal-breaking flaws and are never bad enough to ruin the larger experience.
The Quarry Review | Final Thoughts
At the end of the day, The Quarry is a welcome return to what made Supermassive Games famous in the first place. It’s a bloody good time with worthwhile choices to choose from, and so long as you’re willing to deal with some minor flaws, you won’t walk away disappointed.
TechRaptor reviewed The Quarry on PlayStation 5 with a copy purchased by the reviewer. It is also available on PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and PC.
- Great Story and Characters
- Meaningful Choices and Consequences
- Quality Voice Acting and Sound Design
- Awkward Graphical Issues
- Occasional Cringey Writing