As the credits rolled on my very first playthrough of The Quarry, I had a lot of mixed emotions. In one sense I was just so happy that the game had lived up to my personal expectations. On the other, I was inherently sad that the experience was over.
As a fan of both Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures Anthology, The Quarry had a lot to live up to, even though it was only announced earlier this year as somewhat of a surprise.
Here are my thoughts on my time with the game with zero story spoilers included for the safety of anyone who wishes to play it themselves!
One. More. Night.
A quick update for anyone who has absolutely no idea of what the premise of The Quarry is, we follow a group of camp counsellors at Hackett's Quarry as they spend one more night together following the departure of the campers.
Naturally, not all is as it seems as they are made to face their fears when the night takes a turn for the worst.
The way the story is set up initially in a prologue left me utterly engrossed in how the wider game was going to play out and some very smart gameplay moments have you constantly trying to predict how the rest of the game will unfold.
The gameplay is nothing new for a Supermassive game. You'll be walking around fairly small locations searching for clues and context while trying to reach a point where you trigger the next cutscene. I would argue that the way clues and evidence have been very strategically placed and handled in The Quarry is brilliant.
You may stumble across a clue early on but not have the entire context given to you straight away. Instead, you'll need to interact with other objects and scenery throughout the game to unlock the full story behind each clue. Some end up having a link to the overarching story, some just add to the immersion of the world and one in particular is a bit of a comical trick played on us by the developer.
Take a Bow!
Something that becomes very apparent early on is that The Quarry has a cast that just about blows every other Supermassive game out of the water. Each individual role has been improved tenfold by the person playing it.
It's created this complex in my head where I don't think anyone would be capable of replacing a cast member and doing a better job. The personal standouts for me are Brenda Song as Kaitlyn, Ted Raimi as Travis and Siobhan Williams as Laura.
Not one member of the cast feels unimportant or like they don't get enough screen time and the game is so much better off thanks to these performances. It's likely that many of these actors haven't had to act in a video game before, especially not with this level of performance capture, but the job they all do is incredible.
A Bump in the Night
In my own playthrough of The Quarry, there were moments where it felt a little like none of the counsellors were actually at risk. This could be my history with similar titles playing a role but it wasn't until the final few chapters that it became apparent that anyone could be dead if I make the wrong move.
This didn't necessarily take away from the absolutely butt-clenching nature of the quick-time events or any of the choices that I had to make, but it did always have me thinking a few steps ahead rather than making all of my decisions based on what was happening at that moment.
The Quarry isn't designed to be a 50-hour open-world experience and my first playthrough clocked in at just over eight hours long. This is also with me taking my time to explore any area when given the chance. After all, history has shown that the more clues and evidence you can gather in a playthrough, the better your chances of getting everyone out alive.
Speaking of getting out alive, I was able to save all characters in my first playthrough, something I've never done before. Funnily enough, I actually attribute this to the way that The Quarry truly mimics classic horror movies and their tropes.
It genuinely felt like I was directing a horror movie in real-time and every time I made a decision, I almost always had some idea of what effect it would have on the story. Some may class this as it being predictable, but I would say it's anything but as there are still plenty of surprises as well as the constant threat of losing a beloved character which could change the outcome dramatically.
Stepping away from the incredible story, it's clear to see that Supermassive took great pride in producing The Quarry as a homage to horror movies of the past. As a huge Scream fan, two things stood out to me. First is the western-inspired music that would play whenever David Arquette's character Chris Hackett was on screen.
This perfectly mimics Dewey's Theme by Marco Beltrami which was first featured in Scream 2. Beyond this, the way the counsellors seem to constantly reference being in a horror movie takes from the Scream franchises' meta-narrative schtick.
There are also plenty of other little nods to horror icons including a chainsaw that appears to be made by a company called Groovy... Bruce Campbell would be proud.
Moments like this, intertwined with the fantastic moment to moment gameplay and storytelling just completely sold me that Supermassive is in a class of its own when it comes to interactive narrative experiences.
As I stated in my preview, Supermassive should also be commended for how they brought classic horror movie tropes into 2022 but did so while 'cleaning up' the representation and outdated culture that could have come with them.
The Full Package
Outside of the main game mode, The Quarry also offers a few quirks to aid with multiple playthroughs and the ability to play with friends. First up is Movie Mode which allows you to see how the game plays out if everyone lives or dies. A third option is also available which lets you take on the role of the director and decide how certain scenarios should play out. There is also an add-on available called Gorefest which will take you through the game showing the grizzliest end possible for each of the characters.
Next up is Couch Co-Op. This mode allows you and up to seven friends to take on the role of specific counsellors and decide their fate. If you are playing with less than eight players, you can assign more than one character to each player.
Finally, there is a chapter select mode available once you finish your first playthrough of The Quarry. This allows you to head back to specific points in the game and start making different decisions. It will, however, overwrite your save file so beware!
The Quarry is an outstanding game that truly does feel like Supermassive have done nothing but positively refine all their previous titles to produce this magnum opus.
Horror fans will find layers to this experience that define just how much love and attention went into this experience but even neutral players can't help but fall for these lovable characters and the plight that they face.