Developer: Supermassive Games
Publisher: 2K Games
Reviewed For: PlayStation 5
Also Available On: PC, Xbox
Since Until Dawn, Supermassive Games has more or less become a factory for narrative horror games. A new game comes out every year thanks to the The Dark Pictures Anthology. With the franchise being annual, it isn’t surprising that there has been somewhat of a dip in quality. The Quarry is the latest game by the developer, this time published by 2K Games. Since it isn’t a part of the The Dark Pictures Anthology, there is plenty of potential for it to stand up against Until Dawn. So does it
In short, not really. That doesn’t mean that The Quarry is a bad game by any means, and it is actually better than the majority of the The Dark Pictures Anthology titles. The main thing that The Quarry suffers from is the formula, which might just be wearing thin right now. It’s clear that The Quarry shoots for being the same quality as Until Dawn. Players are in charge of a group of young camp counselors who have just finished their Summer at Hackett’s Quarry summer camp. After one member’s ill-advised plan to prevent the group from leaving and staying just one more night, they are all trapped. Like Until Dawn, the characters need to fight to live until morning.
Players will change control of the various characters throughout the game, making key decisions for them as they explore, interact with their peers, and hopefully survive. Key moments and paths are taken through the decisions made as well as the player’s ability to press the correct money during quick time events.
The story itself is fine, but it feels too much like Until Dawn to really stand on its own. The same beats are here. It goes from what looks like a slasher with scary people to actually being a monster flick. Sure, the skin is different and the scary humans have a little more depth this time, but it still feels the same. There are also scenes that almost mirror previous games, and I knew not to interact with a certain object because it would guarantee a character’s death. Maybe this would get new players, but any experienced player might find themselves rolling their eyes at how safe and monotonous this entry is.
As if that’s not enough, The Quarry is incredibly slow. It takes too long to actually get to any thrills. This would be fine if the time was spent getting ton know the characters and bonding with them, but that isn’t the case here. Instead, players will partake in monotonous tasks that essentially act as a three hour tutorial. Most of the moments aren’t interesting and are simply boring. The entirety of chapter 2 is without even a cheap jump scare.
Doing multiple playthroughs is a chore due to the inability to skip moments that have already been seen. Even if they only allowed for players to skip scenes that were completely identical to what was already seen would be enough. In 2022 this just seems like a severe oversight. One nice quality feature present is the ability to replay up to three scenes if the player gets someone killed. It’s a welcome mulligan that makes the game a little more accessible, especially if something bad happens to a character that the player is passionate about.
There are many branching paths with plenty opportunities for characters to die in many ways. This applies to both the core group and the other human NPCs. There are many ways for this one to end, many more in fact than any of their previous games. The Quarry rewards players for having the patience to play it multiple times. Unfortunately, every route leads to a weak ending that doesn’t feature the characters reuniting or giving testimonies. It’s all underwhelming and the only closure players get is in the form of a newspaper headline and a fictional podcast that talks about the events without a single interview from the main characters.
When its at its best, The Quarry has some genuine thrills. These are often hampered by strange directing and pacing that doesn’t make the scares as efficient as they could be. The QTEs, especially when players need to aim a gun, feel inconsistent and bad to play with. Some failures simply feel unfair. It’s a game where players will consistently be teetering between having a great time and being unimpressed by what The Quarry has to offer.
It’s a solid horror game, but it feels like Supermassive Games will never reach the highs of its breakthrough title, and that’s a shame.
The Quarry fails to capture the magic that Until Dawn has, instead settling for familiar beats and bland tropes.