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The Quarry Review

Narrative adventure games have gone through quite the evolution in the past decades. There were all kinds of cinematic visual novels, like Heavy Rain and the Walking Dead Telltale games. However, in 2015, the PlayStation exclusive Until Dawn set another bar for the genre. It introduced a true horror aspect to these type of games. It was a smash hit and became an instant classic. The creators of Until Dawn, Supermassive Games, have released a new game last year called The Quarry. It serves as a spiritual successor to Until Dawn. It launched on PlayStation Plus Premium this month. As a fan of these types of games, I decided to try it and see what lessons Supermassive Games have applied to improve upon their formulae. Read on for our The Quarry review.

90’s Teen Horror Movie

Much like it’s predecessor, The Quarry is focused on a group of American teens. They’re just about done counseling on a summer camp, called Hackett’s Quarry, and it’s their final day at camp. All the students have been seen off and it’s time to go. Unfortunately, something happens and their van appears to be broken. Which leaves them stranded at the campsite. It immediately becomes clear the owner of Hackett’s Quarry is not happy about this. Eventually, they are forced to spent the night there, under strict instructions to stay inside and keep all the doors and windows locked. And obviously, this doesn’t happen.

The story premise starts out as cliche as can be for a horror story, I admit. But, this seems intentional at this point. The Quarry aims to give you that throwback to the 90’s teen horror movies so many people loved, including the various typecasts. There’s the sports jock, the nerdy boy and girl, the typical hot girl with an attitude, the loner and so on. You can basically pick up the template from 90’s teen horror movies. That isn’t necessarily bad as a starting point, as the story picks up later down the line, however it is really similar to their earlier game Until Dawn. In my opinion, a big budget studio like Supermassive Games should’ve been at least a bit more creative than this.

Shape your own horror movie

Despite the cliche story premise, before long the story picks up. The light college humor settings takes a darker turn before too long and the tone changes dramatically. You’ll soon encounter the antagonist(s), splitting up the group in classic horror style and it becomes a race for survival. While some plot twists could be seen from a mile away, it did manage to give me a few unexpected plot twists near the end. Part of the story is told through investigating items on the ground and reading collectibles. It’s also pretty hard to make an original horror story, since pretty much everything has been done so many times in the genre. But thanks to the branching narrative there’s always something you’ll miss on your first play through, leaving you wondering what the full picture is.

One thing that is phenomenal is the acting. Supermassive Games and publisher 2K Interactive have spared no expense on casting talent. All characters are played and motion captured by real actors. Some really famous ones at that. For example, you’ll find big actors like David Arquette, Lance Henriksen, Ted Raimi and Justice Smith. While not all dialogue is as good as can be, their performance carries the characters. In some instances, I even wish I saw more of their characters which is a big compliment. All of this is obviously made possible due to excellent graphics. Their faces are so well made, including the smallest twitches in their expressions. It really makes their acting come to life.


But enough about the story, without spoiling too much. What about the gameplay? These types of games don’t really focus much on gameplay. The story and it’s branching narrative is the bread and butter. In between the story and dialogues, you’ll get scenes where you can move your character and explore a bit. As usual, you’re pretty confined to specific areas regarding exploration because the scene needs you to be there. Whenever you get a little freedom to explore, you can find collectibles or clues. You can even find objects which will change the story or give you options in combat later down the line.

Now gathering collectibles and clues is definitely recommended. They don’t just give you more options in regards to story, but they also unravel certain tidbits of the story giving you a broader perspective. Obviously, in order to understand it completely you’ll have to collect them all. But that will require multiple playthroughs. Something The Quarry does really well however, is choice. Very early on in the game, it teaches you that sometimes it is better to leave an object where it is. A gamer’s instinct nowadays is all about picking up every collectible or item you can to get that full completion. However, just like in real life sometimes that might not be the best choice. Maybe because it’s someone else’s property. Or maybe because someone else may need that object to be there later in order to stay alive. This is something that seems simple and straightforward, but changes the way you think about collecting in a meaningful way. That is, if you want everyone to survive the night.

Stay focused

If you’re not exploring, you’re in story scenes. Most of the time, it’s just dialogue. But the further into the game you get, the more it is about action and staying alive. In order to do this, you’ll be faced with random Quick Time Events (QTE’s) which you need to pass. A prompt is shown on the screen, showing which button to press or what to do. Most of the time, it simply involves pushing your thumb stick in the right direction. It always starts with a circle and showing the direction afterwards. This makes the QTE’s really easy and I rarely failed one. This may differ for each person, but seeing as the developer introduced a higher difficulty option in a later update is saying something. And of course, there will be times when it’s just mashing a button to succeed.

There have been some small innovations in regards to these events. There are moments when you can or should hide and you have to keep a button pressed to hold your breathe. It’s up to you to choose the right moment to release, which defines success or failure. Additionally, and this is really cool in my opinion, in certain story moments you can choose to “Interrupt”. This means you’ll get a notice on screen to perform a specific action or not. And once again, early on in the game you’ll learn this isn’t always a good idea. Sometimes it’s better to just hang back. Later on, this makes the difference between life and death. Combined with what I wrote earlier, The Quarry does a great job at making you really think about what you’re doing right now. Instead of just riding the roller coaster.

The more, the merrier

The Quarry is a fun game to play on your own but it really shines when you play it with a group of people. There are multiple games modes, designed for playing with your friends. There is a couch co-op mode where you and up to 7 friends can each control a single character. It works by passing along the controller to whoever gets to play next. It’s a great way to spend and evening with friends, just like you would have a movie night. Then there’s also an online co-op mode called Wolf Pack Mode. Your friends can join in and instead of controlling a character, you all vote for the option to take. Much like you would do on Twitch or YouTube.

Now this last game mode isn’t surprising. The Quarry was initially developed as a Google Stadia exclusive, before Google shut down all it’s game development studio’s and deals. A major feature would have been YouTube integration and The Quarry seemed like the perfect game for the job. The Wolf Pack Mode seems like a watered down version of this. Either way, while The Quarry is fun on your own, it is best enjoyed with friends. And if playing with all these QTE’s is a little too tense for you, you can even enjoy Movie Mode. Everything goes on automatically, you can just enjoy the story.

Over and over again

Finishing The Quarry for the first time will probably take you somewhere between 8 and 10 hours. Either everyone died, everyone lived or something in between. It’s highly likely you’ll end up with a few people alive. As with other games in the genre, the replayability here comes from repeating the story again but choosing different paths. And making sure you gather more collectibles. Previously unlocked collectibles and clues remain available, so after a few playthroughs you’ll be able to see the big picture.

The question always remains whether this is worth it. Spending another 10 hours on a play through, only to find out you did make the wrong choice somewhere down the line can get old pretty fast. To soften the blow here, a new Death Rewind feature unlocks after completing the game for the first time. Whenever you make a choice which leads to character death, you can spend one of three available lives. So you essentially get three redo’s to maximize your chances of keeping everyone alive. This makes it a little bit less tedious to go through the game multiple times.

Outstanding visuals

As I mentioned earlier, the characters portrayed by experiences actors is a great choice which improved the overall story. However, this couldn’t be done without the amazing visuals. Characters and their faces are so convincing, thanks to outstanding motion capture technology. The animation is great as well. It’s clear to see a lot of time and money went to making it seem real. Which makes sense, considering it should play like an interactive movie. This seems to be the area where Supermassive Games have innovated most.

To make this come alive even further, sound and lighting are equally important. These aspects make or break a successful horror movie or game. While I must admit I didn’t have many real jump scares, the sound effects did a great job of building tension. It is best to play the game when you’re in a dark place or at night, because as expected most scenes are dark enough to amplify the horror feeling.


The Quarry is a fun game to play through at least once. It shows Supermassive games are master of the genre. It’s predictable and cliche story premise opens up later in the game, making you forget about that. However, with their experience on these types of games I did expect more innovation both in terms of story and gameplay. Especially considering they had a massive budget and decided to sell the game at launch with full AAA game pricing. Fortunately, it’s now part of PlayStation Plus Premium. As a part of that catalogue, in my opinion it’s a must play. Or if you can, buy it when it’s on a discount. I certainly enjoyed it. Thanks for reading our The Quarry review.


  • Great acting
  • Visuals are stunning
  • Some nice plot twists


  • Story premise is a little cliche
  • Not enough innovation in terms of gameplay

Grade: 7

The Quarry is now available with Boosteroid and PlayStation Plus Premium.