The Quarry Review
The spiritual successor to Until Dawn
For both gamers and non-gamers alike, The Quarry is well worth playing thanks to its branching storylines, fascinating core mystery and a well realised cast that you’ll want to root for from beginning to end. It might not be as scary as some of the company’s previous games, but there’s still a lot to like and plenty of content worth coming back to.
- Engrossing story
- Well realised cast
- Stunning graphics and facial capture
- QTE are more forgiving
- Not quite as scary as Until Dawn
- A few cheap deaths
- Death Rewind needs fixing
- UKRRP: £64.99
- USARRP: $69.99
- Multiple endings:Choose your own story narrative
- Hollywood cast:Lots of recognisable actors
- Movie mode:Sit back and let the game play itself
A spiritual successor to Until Dawn in almost every way, Supermassive Games’ The Quarry is an essential buy for horror fans.
Despite a fairly lengthy history of game development, it wasn’t until Until Dawn hit the scene in 2014 that Supermassive Games went from relative obscurity to becoming one of the most recognised developers in the realm of interactive entertainment. That game took a ton of inspiration from classic horror movies and presented a ‘choose your own adventure’ story that was terrifying to play but a great deal of fun nonetheless.
In time since Until Dawn’s release, Supermassive Games has tried to recreate its success with The Dark Pictures Anthology series, but those games lack the sense of scope and lofty production values that made Until Dawn so popular. For anyone feeling underwhelmed by The Dark Pictures Anthology, you’ll be glad to know that The Quarry is the true Until Dawn follow up we’ve been waiting for.
- Well realised cast
- Great central mystery drives the story forward
- One major suspension of disbelief
There’s a case to be made that The Quarry is almost a little too similar to Until Dawn. Stop me if you’ve heard this premise before: a group of teenagers are stuck in the woods, hunted by nightmarish creatures and have to fight to survive until morning.
To the game’s credit, the setting has changed somewhat – the teenagers in question this time around are camp counselors as opposed to old friends on a getaway, but it does make me wonder what it would have been like had Supermassive pushed itself to invest in a unique horror scenario.
Still, it’s a small gripe that quickly fades away once you get into the game itself. This time around there’s a solid amount of Hollywood talent staring in the game, with performances from David Arquette, Ted Raimi, Justice Smith and Ariel Winter, just to name a few.
One issue that I had with Until Dawn was its characterisation (or lack thereof), which saw only the briefest amount of time spent in fleshing out its characters before they were thrust into a night full of terror. Luckily, The Quarry – after an exciting prologue – spends a good amount of time letting you get to know its main cast before nightfall.
The game’s characters don’t feel like one-note creations designed for gory deaths either. Each of them have clear life ambitions and endearing personalities that, if not immediately apparent, reveal themselves as the game goes on.
Unlike Until Dawn, which was very much about the main characters facing off against the terrifying wendigos, The Quarry has a lot more intrigue at the centre of its narrative. And as the game progresses, it become clear that there are multiple factions and viewpoints contributing to the whole thing. It’s a story that had me gripped from beginning to end, and I already plan to return for multiple playthroughs in order to finish off the loose threads I missed along the way.
In a strange twist, The Quarry’s fascination with building a greater sense of mystery impairs the game’s ability to scare, with the fright factor feeling like more of an afterthought. This isn’t to say that the game doesn’t have its moments that’ll have you reaching for the back of the sofa, but it never terrified me to the same extent as Until Dawn.
Then again, given that Until Dawn’s narrative was driven by tragedy and a loss of life, that game benefitted from a much darker tone. This won’t be an issue for everyone, but it’s worth noting if you’re heading into The Quarry specifically for the scares.
Unfortunately, the one area that feels just as underwhelming as it was in Until Dawn is the game’s ending. This seems to be a bit of a recurring pattern in Supermassive’s games wherein once the big bad is dealt with, the story simply ends. There’s no epilogue to deal with the aftermath outside of a podcast playing during the game’s credits, which feels frustrating as some of the game’s characters feel forgotten about towards the end.
This is especially true for several characters who have large roles in the beginning of the game, but because they’re located in a different part of Hackett’s Quarry to where the climax is taking place, the game doesn’t seem particularly interested in offering them any closure. This could be a biproduct of how my playthrough went down, but if there is an alternative then the route to get there wasn’t made obvious.
There’s also one glaring plot hole right at the start of the game which sees one of the characters outright ask another camp counselor how they might go about sabotaging the car and forcing everyone to stay another night. Despite doing exactly that, the questioned counselor never puts two and two together as to why the car isn’t able to start properly just a few moments later. It’s particularly bizarre as it’s this single act that kicks the game’s event into motion, so I’m not sure how it was overlooked.
- QTE are more forgiving than Until Dawn
- Death Rewind is huge, but its implementation is flawed
- Movie Mode lets gamers take a hands-off approach
One issue I had with Until Dawn was the super-fast pace with which quick-time events were thrown at the player. I’ve been playing QTE-based games for years, but the game still managed to trip me up several times, and handing over the controller to a more casual gamer resulted in something of a bloodbath onscreen.
Thankfully for everyone involved, The Quarry is far more forgiving with its QTE inputs. Not only does the game warn you when a QTE is about to happen, but the time you have to complete the action is also noticeably longer. This isn’t the only change to make The Quarry more accessible however.
After plenty of accidental fails that emerged from Until Dawn’s ‘Don’t Move’ segments, which made use of the PS4 controller’s motion sensing and required players to sit perfectly still, Supermassive has swapped out the mechanic for ‘Don’t Breathe’ moments.
These scenes simply have you holding down a single button input as your character holds their breath to avoid detection. It’s then up to you to decide when it’s safe to release that button, but there are plenty of visual cues to let you know when you’re in the clear.
While these modifications are duly appreciated, it’s the new ‘Death Rewind’ feature that is easily the biggest shake up. In The Quarry. Death is no longer the end, as the game gives you three opportunities to go back and save a character if they’re killed off. For the most part it’s a great feature, and I found myself using all three chances to resurrect some of my favourite characters who I simply couldn’t be without, but it isn’t without its flaws.
On my second use of Death Rewind, the game sent me back a good 20 minutes within the story to a decision which, at the time, I had no idea would result in an impending death. I wouldn’t mind if the game had simply let me tweak that crucial decision before sending me back to the present, but that’s not what happened. Instead I had to sit through a load of scenes that I had just watched before I could get back to where I left off.
I also encountered a dead-end scenario later in the game that saw my character die no matter what I did. When it happened the first time, I used my final Death Rewind to go a different route but that still ended up with that same character dying. It’s bad enough that the game gave me no indication that I was running towards an unwinnable scenario, but the ability to use Death Rewind should be removed in this instance to avoid any false hope.
The game does give you a few chances to glimpse into the future with regular visits to Eliza the Fortune Teller. These segments are similar to the psychiatrist visits from Until Dawn, except this time around they play a greater role in helping you navigate the story as you have to think carefully about which future you’d like to see.
Returning from Until Dawn is the ability to enjoy the story in Couch Co-op mode. This mode lets you and up to seven other players take control of a character, swapping one controller around the room when it’s your time to shine.
If you can get several friends over for a playthrough then I can’t recommend it enough as it often leads to unintentional hilarity, and it’s always interesting to see the narrative go down a path that you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen if you were in control.
Because games like The Quarry have always blurred the lines between games and films, Supermassive has decided to go all in on this concept with the addition of Movie Mode. As you can probably derive from its name, this mode lets you simply kick back and enjoy the story without having to go anywhere near the controller. Essentially it means that the game plays itself.
You have the opportunity at the beginning to decide which type of playthrough you want to watch, such as ‘Everybody Lives’ or ‘Everybody Dies’, but for folks who want a more personalised experience, ‘Director’s Chair’ allows you to determine everyone’s personalities from the get-go for a night of randomised fun.
The mode is a little janky at times as the traditional exploration segments are cut out in order to connect the main cutscenes together, but this often results in teleporting characters and moments of confusion over how a character has gotten from A to B. There’s also no option to rewind once the mode’s in motion, so make sure you’re paying attention.
Graphics and performance
- Industry-leading facial capture
- Lighting effects are superb
- Inspired artistic design
As you’ve probably already surmised from the screenshots shown here, The Quarry is a drop dead gorgeous game. The attention to detail on the characters is industry leading, and the superb lighting effects go a long way to adding a palpable sense of atmosphere to the game’s proceedings.
Of course, if you’ve played any of the recent Dark Anthology titles then the game’s graphical prowess won’t be too surprising as Supermassive is already known for its expertise in this area, but the gradual improvements over time are best shown when compared to Until Dawn.
I still think that Until Dawn looks great, but it’s clear that facial capture and environmental design have come a long way. Almost everything in The Quarry will capture your attention for the right reasons, but with one odd exception: water.
Water physics in The Quarry look like something taken from a PS2-era title which is extremely jarring during one scene in particular where two camp counselors are having a conversation whilst swimming in a nearby lake. It’s a minor gripe given how great the rest of the game looks, but that’s why it feels so strange to see an element of the environment that isn’t up to the same standard as everything else.
Beyond that however, there’s so much about the game’s artistic design that’s worth pointing out. Tutorials take the form of animated, almost Fallout-esque cartoons, and all the major narrative paths have their own video nasty-inspired VHS covers that feel like they’ve been plucked right out of the 1980s. It’s small touches like this that just make The Quarry an absolute joy to experience.
The game also runs on a near-perfect level. Only twice in my playthrough did I come across lip sync issues with the dialogue, but other than that I saw no major instances of slowdown, nor did I come across any glitches.
Should you buy it?
You love interactive entertainment:
For horror fans and those who enjoy narrative-driven games, The Quarry is a must-buy title and one that you’ll no doubt want to revisit multiple times after the credits roll.
You’re not a fan of quick-time events:
If the idea of sitting down to enjoy what is largely a hands-off experience just isn’t your cup of tea then you’ll find more joy with games like Resident Evil Village or The Medium.
In lieu of a direct sequel to Until Dawn, The Quarry packs almost everything that fans could have asked for. The game’s longer opening and more intricate mystery ensure that the characters and the narrative are far more compelling this time around, and while the game doesn’t pack quite as many scares are Until Dawn, it’s easily a far more polished product.
If it wasn’t for a few cheap deaths, issues with the Death Rewind mechanic and the abrupt nature of the ending, the game would be held in much higher esteem. But even with those problems, I can easily recommend The Quarry to almost any gamer out there.
How we test
We play every game we review through to the end, outside of certain exceptions where getting 100% completion, like Skyrim, is close to impossible to do. When we don’t fully finish a game before reviewing it we will always alert the reader.
Played through the entirety of the single-player campaign
Completion time: 12 hours, 22 minutes
Reviewed on PC
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There is a co-op mode but it involves passing a single controller around the room.
An average playthrough will take between 10-12 hours.
At the time of review, there are no plans for a Nintendo Switch port of The Quarry.