When Until Dawn was released exclusively for PlayStation back in 2015, horror fans were wonderfully surprised. The game delivered in producing a morbidly realistic survival horror interactive story with top-notch visuals, voice acting, and a variety of simplistic yet stress-inducing gameplay mechanics. Making the wrong decision, taking the left not the right path, or missing one too many QTEs could result in a character’s permanent death which in turn alters the story.
Developers Supermassive Games knew they had created something unique and special which lead to The Dark Pictures Anthology Series (Multi-platform). These tales were a bit shorter but introduced new online co-op and movie modes. However, word had begun to spread that a new standalone spiritual successor to Until Dawn was in the works and thankfully the rumors were true.
The Quarry takes place in upstate New York at a summer camp in Hackett’s Quarry. The last bus of campers has just left the grounds and counselors decide to let loose on their last night and have a party. My vagueness is intentional since you will be making all of the decisions for each counselor. The best way to play The Quarry is to make choices that you would make if in their situation. For example, if you were in an empty cabin at night and heard something that sounds like a large creature in the attic would you open the door to investigate or make a quick dash for the exit? Many it not all decisions are timed which adds to the tension as you try to figure out what is the best course of action.
On the other hand, one could play The Quarry like a 1980s horror film and make all the dumb choices typically seen by the teenagers in those films. This will undoubtedly lead to a more visually entertaining experience but will most likely lead to a high death count. The Quarry has multiple endings meaning everyone can live, everyone can die or a couple can survive, and the outcome is completely up to you. The Quarry is by far the most forgiving and accommodating when compared to Until Dawn or the Anthology series.
If you purchased the deluxe edition, you obtain some cool features for the movie mode which I will discuss a bit later but you also receive a rewind option. If you make the “wrong” choice that leads to a counselor’s death, a screen will appear saying you can rewind back to make a better choice that could keep the counselor alive. There is a limit of 3 and I highly recommend you do your very best to hold on to them for the later chapters in which there are 10. Now if a chain of events leads to the death of a counselor the rewind feature will still work, however it may take you way back to the beginning of that chapter so you can make a series of new choices in order to prevent the death. Just keep in mind that there is always the possibility that the changes you make may save one but lead to the death of another. If you did not purchase the deluxe have no worries. This rewind feature unlocks after your first playthrough of the story.
When it comes to the actual “gameplay” some may argue there is none, at least not in the traditional sense. 90% of the action sequences are QTEs (quick time events). If your counselor is running through the woods, you will see a prompt appear on screen indicating which direction you need to move the left stick or which controller face button to press. As I mentioned, The Quarry is by far the most laxed in this regard, meaning you can completely change how this gameplay mechanic works. By going into the accessibility options you can choose to remove the timer in which to make your QTE choice, make any button press the correct choice or set it to auto and never have to deal with QTEs at all. And I know what you’re thinking, making the QTEs virtually fool proof would mean the game would be a walk in the park and everyone would survive. This is 100% false. The meat & potatoes of The Quarry are the choices and relationships you create between the counselor’s that truly determine the outcome.
The Quarry is in fact an interactive movie by design and this is also why there is movie mode. This mode unlocks after you complete the story and will play out from beginning to end as a full-length film. It took me about 8-9 hours to complete the story but take into a count a lot of exploring and random wandering looking for items and clues. These bits of time are removed in movie mode. Movie mode also allows you to determine the outcome, so if you want to see how everyone could have survived or died you can select these options and watch it play out. The deluxe edition comes with some cool movie filters to give that vintage horror movie feel along with a gore feature for those who want to see a lot more blood on the screen.
The Quarry’s multiplayer comes in two forms. The first is local 8 player co-op. Once you select the number of players each person gets to select a counselor they wish to play as along with accessibility option which is great for that one friend or family member who is not a gamer. The one controller gets passed around your group whenever their selected counselor is the playable character. I personally love this mode. It’s a fun and unique experience especially when non gamers are involved. The 2nd offering is online multiplayer which is more like an interactive viewing party. This feature is currently unavailable but is expected to be sometime in early July 2022. The idea is you will host a game, invite up to 7 players to spectate your game and community vote on your decisions. Each viewer must own a copy of the game to partake. This sounds interesting but I’m not sure how much enjoyment is to be had for the spectators. Once this mode is available, I will provide an update to this review.
As you can guess from my opening, I’m a huge fan of these interactive horror games / movies. The Quarry story kept me immersed as I did my very best to pay close attention to the conversations in order to make the correct decisions in and effort to keep everyone alive. Spoiler, I was unsuccessful and a few died. Chapter select is available so I will dive back in and give it another go.
The many different outcomes are the driving point for replayability. The inclusion of beautifully animated character models of well-known actors such as David Arquette, Ariel Winter, and Ted Raimi will trigger the interest of any non-gamer and make for a full-party experience. So, if you’re a fan of horror movies and someone who screams at the screen saying how you would have made better choices, then this game is absolutely for you.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of The Quarry for Xbox Series X provided by Supermassive Games and 2K Games.