The Quarry review (PS5)

The Quarry by Supermassive Games is the studio’s next cinematic horror title, and it’s out now for PlayStation, Xbox and PC. For fans of their previous work and teen slashers, this is a must-have.

Horror fans will no doubt think of Until Dawn and the Dark Pictures Anthology series when they hear Supermassive’s name, and in recent years they’ve definitely specialized in the horror genre. The Quarry is their first cinematic horror production outside of the Dark Pictures games in years though, and with 2K they also have a new publisher for this one, so we were curious to see if it was going to take a different approach.

And while this has all the markings of a Supermassive game, there are a few big signs that this isn’t connected their recent titles for Bandai Namco. While those all tell ghostly stories in creepy but original surroundings, The Quarry feels like an homage to the teen slasher movies with its setting – a summer camp in the middle of the woods. It also happens to have a cast that’s a perfect fit for horror fans, with David “Deputy Dewey” Arquette, Lance Henriksen from Aliens and Lin Shaye, whom you’ll remember as the scary lady from the Insidious films.

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Arquette’s character Chris is the owner of a summer camp and wants to wrap things up – clearly worried about what might happen if they don’t. The teenagers prefer staying though, and when an attempt to leave is sabotaged they’re forced to stay another night – and things, as you’d expect, go downhill from there. Chris tells everyone to stay inside, but the kids are having none of it and soon end up wrapped in a struggle for survival against a mysterious and deadly force.

It’s a typical teen horror movie setup, and that comes with some predictability, but that’s also the fun of it all. The Quarry is spread across ten chapters for a total playing time of ten hour or so, which is impressive for what plays like an interactive movie of sorts. Your perspective, and thus the characters you play as, changes over time, which is a great way of making sure the story doesn’t drag. Everyone here is tense and often irrational once things turn south, and as they start splitting up the narrative switches between different perspectives regularly – sometimes with fun twists and plotlines that intersect.

And while that may sound like an “on rails” type of horror adventure, there’s a surprising amount of interactivity here, where you can knowingly or unknowingly affect the direction of the story. In some scenarios this will come down to a clear choice, in others it’s about passing or failing a quick time event. Your path through the story gets charted by the game through the in-game menu – though it’s more of a reference point for the next time you plan than a means through which you can back up and head down a different path, as the game doesn’t allow for that. In a way, that’s a shame, because playing through a ten hour story just to see how a single decision would have affected things doesn’t sound too appealing.

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In true teen horror movie style, most of the characters aren’t that likeable, which certainly softens the blow when they bite the dust or some cases might make you steer them towards certain doom. This also results in some cheesy lines and hammy acting – especially compared to the Dark Pictures games, but again – it fits with the genre, and will certainly bring a smile to fans’ faces, who aren’t going to be expecting stellar writing here.

Movie fans can even choose to watch this one in “movie mode”, which offers a varying degree of interactivity based on how you want things to play out. It’s a lengthy affair though, as it doesn’t suddenly shrink The Quarry down to feature length. Another interesting option is local co-op, where you pass the controller around to have different viewers/players play as different characters – though the game’s length make this a tough option for playing with those not already in your household or staying over, unless you’re planning on starting very early and ending really late.

As with Supermassive’s other titles, The Quarry is stunning in places – though it doesn’t feel like the boundary’s been pushed very far since 2015’s Until Dawn. In part that’s a testament to the quality of that game, but it’ll be interesting to see what the developer can do with the new generation of consoles in the next few years. The campgrounds of Hackett’s Quarry, where the story takes places, is a great setting for a horror movie, and well realized, and apart from a few small visual quirks (like characters that don’t quite mesh with the background) this is a stunning title to watch.

The Quarry doesn’t reinvent the Supermassive formula, but feels fresh as it tackles a popular Hollywood genre with tons of nods that fans will like – from the cast to the writing and the plotlines, this is an enjoyable ride through the woods of a camp where things are almost certain to go very, very wrong over the course of a single night.

Score: 8.0/10

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