The Quarry Review

The Quarry is Supermassive's best game to date.

by Diego Perez
The Quarry

If you’ve seen even a single horror movie before, it’s easy to notice exactly what The Quarry is going for as soon as you start playing. Interactive horror games with branching narratives have been the bread and butter for British developer Supermassive Games since the breakout success of 2015’s Until Dawn, but The Quarry feels like a true realization of the studio’s attempts to create a living, breathing B movie. With a larger budget than ever before and a star-studded cast packed with familiar horror faces, The Quarry is peak Supermassive.

The Quarry gives you control of a group of camp counselors at Hackett’s Quarry summer camp. The kids have finally gone home for the summer, and the counselors are about to follow suit when an unlucky coincidence forces them to spend one more night at the camp. The owner and operator of the camp, Chris Hackett, seems incredibly distraught about the counselors’ extended stay and warns them to stay inside the lodge at all costs, but the teens unsurprisingly have other plans. A quiet night in the lodge isn’t on the itinerary since everyone will be too busy drinking, talking about the future, and trying to get laid.

The-Quarry-Camp-Counselors

The Quarry is a love letter to classic horror. As I wrote in my hands-on preview of The Quarry, it’s a celebration of the films that inspired it. It’s a horror game, but it’s fun horror, not the super serious scary kind. It wants you to cheer at the gore, yell at the screen, laugh at the awkward teenage romances, and shove fistfuls of popcorn down your throat. It’s horror for horror fans, and the more familiar you are with the genre, the better.

It’s a very stereotypical horror movie setup, but The Quarry revels in horror tropes. It’s as if Supermassive took every classic 80s horror flick and dumped them into a melting pot with The Quarry coming out as a result. The whole game is very self-aware. The cast is in on the joke too, and it’s very clear that everyone was having an absolute blast playing their parts. The Quarry knows its jokes are dumb, it knows the teens are walking stereotypes, and it knows that you’ve seen these relationships a thousand times before.

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That’s okay though, because it expects you to factor this knowledge into your decisions. Just like previous Supermassive games, The Quarry presents you with a completely malleable B movie. You can play it completely straight and go along for the ride, you can force these teens to make the dumbest possible decisions and get themselves killed, or you can do something in between. One thing is for sure though, and that’s that your decisions will have consequences.

Branching narratives are nothing new for Supermassive Games, but The Quarry features the most pliable plot of any of their titles. The game categorizes its main plot threads into “paths,” which can be viewed at any time. When you make a decision that will affect something down the line, you’ll see a “path updated” notification and that choice will be marked for you in the path menu. When you manage to kickstart an entirely new plot thread, you’ll see a much more intimidating “path chosen” notification. There are quite a few of these paths to unravel throughout the 8-hour story, and you won’t see them all during one playthrough.

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After rolling credits for the first time, there were still a handful of undiscovered paths still marked as “???” in the menu. The paths themselves also have quite a few nodes each, with most of them being active throughout the entire game. It’s a nice way to keep track of narrative threads and to really see which decisions are driving the story forward, and it’s also a great way to entice players to try different things and jump back in for another playthrough.

The Quarry is begging to be replayed, and it’s one of the few games of its kind that I actually wanted to jump back into to see the other scenes and outcomes. Not only do you get to see how different decisions would affect the paths you already experienced, but you also get to see how any paths you missed the first time around will throw a wrench into things.

For example, characters using a ladder very early in the game only to loosen a rung on that ladder leaves you with a lasting feeling of dread since you know exactly who will be using that ladder later on in the story. Of course, that only applies if that character ends up in that situation in the first place, so you do play things differently from there on out? It’s an interesting dynamic, and the path system helps you make sense of things and keep track of what really matters in the story.

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The story itself starts off very slow, taking a few chapters to let the horror and violence begin to flow. What begins as a stereotypical summer horror movie, however, evolves into a remarkably exciting second half where the mysteries of Hackett’s Quarry and its inhabitants slowly start to unravel. There’s a lot going on at once, and decisions you make while controlling one character can have unintended consequences on others. The narrative is a complex puzzle, and you’re constantly forced to weigh the benefits between self-preservation and helping others. It’s hard to explain why without delving into spoilers, but just know that this is not a game where successfully completing all the QTEs is all it takes to get the best ending.

The Quarry also places interesting spins on the typical choice system, putting you under much more pressure and blurring the lines between every possible outcome. A good chunk of the decisions are timed and you don’t have long at all to make a selection. You will also occasionally be prompted to interrupt and speak up by pressing a button, but holding your tongue is a viable option as well. The game also features light combat, which easily creates the tensest scenes in the entire game.

There are plenty of guns in The Quarry, but who has them and how they use them can drastically alter the course of the story. You can freely aim and shoot in certain sections, and you’re timed during these parts as well. You can shoot your target directly, you can miss on purpose (or accident), you can partially hit your target, or you can choose to not shoot at all. Shooting sections usually have one or more parties in grave danger, so it’s immensely stressful when you need to line up your shot on a moving target and decide whether or not to shoot all in the span of a few seconds.

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The stress and scares of The Quarry are best experienced with a crowd, and the game is basically begging to be played in multiplayer. The Quarry supports local couch co-op and online multiplayer (which is delayed until July 8). In the local mode, you and your friends can each take control of a specific character. The online mode will allow players to watch along and vote on decisions when it’s available.

Of course, there’s also the classic strategy of gathering together on the couch and just passing the controller around or watching someone else play. The Quarry is basically just an interactive movie, and there’s even a dedicated movie mode that takes that to the next level. You can mess around with the settings before starting to direct how characters will behave in certain situations and then you just sit back and watch the action unfold. The solid performances and stunning graphics are more than enough to carry the experience, so movie mode is a completely viable way to experience The Quarry.

The-Quarry-Chris-Hackett

The Quarry feels like the natural evolution of Supermassive’s recent work. It’s the Until Dawn formula combined with everything the studio learned from The Dark Pictures, resulting in their best game yet. Even after unraveling the game’s central mystery in your first playthrough, there’s still so much left to enjoy if you want to navigate the complex web of relationships in a second run armed with additional knowledge. The Quarry is a highly enjoyable thrill ride packed with tense moments and frightening scares, a celebration of horror that should be shared with a group for the best experience.

The Quarry is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

This game was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the game's publisher,public relations company, developer or other for the express purpose of a review.

- This article was updated on June 8th, 2022

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The Quarry

  • Score: 4 / 5
  • Available On: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
  • Published By: 2K Games
  • Developed By: Supermassive Games
  • Genre: Horror
  • US Release Date: June 10, 2022
  • Reviewed On: PC
  • Quote: "The Quarry is a cheesy, campy thrill ride with a fascinating mystery at its core."
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