The Quarry is an impressive experience but is overall a flawed experience. (Light Spoilers Ahead)

As I mentioned in the latest episodes of The Player’s Club Podcast, I decided to buy The Quarry even though I am not the biggest fan of survival horror games. When I do play horror games, I make sure to be on a playing field that is close to my set of skills. That skill I mentioned has seen a sharp decline in recent years.

However, I decided to go ahead and see what I could do. Thankfully, the game is extremely welcoming and accessible to just about everyone who has literally any level of skill with video games. But my main problem with the game has nothing to do with gameplay instead being with the narrative issues and development choices.

There are characters who I really enjoyed playing as and interacting with. I could, and probably will, go on a quest to ensure this game wins Best Ensemble during Game of The Year discussions this year. If you have not played the game, I would implore you to experience the game to understand where I am coming from with my thoughts on this game.

Meet The Cast of The Quarry

Credit: 2k (YouTube)

The Quarry is a star-studded affair from Supermassive Games which is best known for Until Dawn and most recently the Dark Pictures Anthology series. This new title from Supermassive is filled with names you know, names you might have heard of, and some downright iconic.

The marketing for this game (to me at least), implied that certain characters would be getting a good amount of screen time as their actors were billed higher than other characters. Just know that it is not what you think it is and I think that is both a good thing and a bad thing.

Knowing what you are in for can give you a sense of expectation toward what could potentially lay in store once you progress further in the game’s plot. On the opposite side, having no firm sense of what is in store for you can make you go crazy over specific little things. Most of my concerns were whether or not a character was long for the world which did absolute damage to my psyche and obsessive-compulsive nature in my desperate bid to keep the cast alive.

Each actor brings their character to life while Siobhan Williams, Justice Smith, Brenda Song, and Miles Robbins deliver stand-out performances in my general opinion. Williams specifically stands out as a character who goes on a journey throughout the game.

There is a prologue to the game that features two characters who are new to the area in which the game takes place that sets up what you are in for. Despite having seen said prologue and it being the impetus to purchase the game I still had no idea what the overall plot of the game was beyond Ted Raimi being in the cast and looking more like Ted Raimi than he does in real life.

This was my first Supermassive game even though I had watched the Two Best Friends playthrough of Until Dawn and then Giant Bomb’s extra life playthrough of Dark Pictures: Little Hope. While the Dark Pictures titles tend to have at least one bankable star per title, Until Dawn resembles The Quarry more than Dark Pictures in terms of tone, choice, and overall star power.

With all that said let’s move on to the narrative.

Staying Up Until Dawn in The Quarry

In Until Dawn the main goal saw a group of friends battle with the bizarre and mysterious in order to survive until dawn when the storm blocking their route home dissipates. The Quarry takes place in a locale aptly named Hackett’s Quarry in upstate New York.

With this being a Supermassive game, everyone can live or everyone can die. It’s your choice to guide these characters to survival. Unless you are Trophy/Achievement seeking and if that’s the case it will be a bloody good time for you rather than the counselors.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph my skills are not what they once were twenty years ago and have dulled/regressed. This led me to check out the accessibility options. I was shocked to see that literally anyone could play this game and have a good time due to the game having optional auto-completes for the various mini-games and mechanics. Said mechanics are quick-time events, mashing X/A depending on which platform you are on, then there is the don’t breathe mini-game which I imagine serves as a spiritual successor to the “don’t move” gimmick with the DualShock 4 from Until Dawn.

Despite having auto-complete activated for the major mechanics, I still somehow failed certain events and keeping it on can cause the wrong outcome you initially wanted. The biggest example of this is a character biting the proverbial dust if you keep auto-win enabled.

Strangely, there’s an odd lack of cause and effect at play in this game as the secondary “antagonist” group will still act friendly toward you if you commit an egregious action. Now that I think more about it there is a general lack of consequence for you based on your actions. After finishing the final act of the game, a cutscene will play showing the authorities’ arrival and that’s it. Roll credits. Simply put, the framing device for the end of the game isn’t really that coherent.

At the end of Until Dawn, you got the opportunity during the credits to see interviews with the main characters who survived the night and the effect the game’s events had on them. There are numerous possibilities to occur and then branch off. That being said, there are cases where an event will happen and then the following scene with that character will be as if nothing changed. An example was a chase scene with one character chasing the other, having a weapon aimed at the aggressor, which leads to the aggressor taking the weapon from the other character. I assumed that the character would be without that weapon for the rest of the story which would have made for an interesting situation. However, once returning to that character later in the story they had that weapon back with absolutely no explanation of how they recovered said weapon or even a mundane line of dialogue saying that the weapon was left behind by the aggressor.

Life is Strange: True Colors was a similar situation where I had a game I was really enjoying, and then something at the end caused me to reverse my opinion of said game. I won’t say what happened with The Quarry to cause me to have a reaction this hostile without going into spoiler territory but I can compare it to something that occurs in Life is Strange.

There is a plot reveal in the third act that in my eyes, completely erases any sense of growth for Alex Chen or even Gabe for that matter. While some people can spin it as escaping the past and the past not being finished with you, the figure who has this profound impact is barely mentioned for the first four chapters of Life is Strange. Then in the final chapter, we get a lore dump for this unnamed character, and then we proceed and get the endings.

With The Quarry, we get a summary of who survived, and who died, along with some flavor text for the former and latter. Following this, two characters who could possibly make an audio cameo if you make a choice in the first chapter give an exposition dump regarding what the official story is with the Hackett’s Quarry incident. There are characters who go on completely courageous arcs and characters who achieve great acts of bravery that in the end ultimately don’t matter and it is downright infuriating.

Other Issues with the Game

Aside from the storytelling issues I have with this game, there are technical issues with the engine among other various problems. With the game utilizing the Unreal Engine there are problems I encountered that are expected with this engine. That being texture pop-in as well as character models popping in as well. An example is Justice Smith’s character model going a little bizarre after I un-paused the game. Like Until Dawn and Dark Pictures, there is a trend of something getting a little lost in translation in terms of motion capture with some characters looking like they dove off the uncanny valley while others tend to look a little rough.

As I mentioned earlier, Ted Raimi in particular looks so distractingly realistic I was confused at specific points in my playthrough. Ethan Suplee is a special case of someone who looks a bit off for some reason to me. Every time I encountered the character they portrayed I was always caught off guard by the way they look in the game which led to an event happening that didn’t seem to matter as I previously mentioned.

Leaving Hackett’s Quarry

 The problem I encountered with this game is not an abnormality that was a once-in-a-while occurrence but actually an ongoing issue with games from Supermassive. The game has some interesting ideas and concepts that in the case of the don’t breathe mini-game work, but in the case of the framing device used to wrap up the story was a better idea conceptually rather than in reality. This isn’t really a proper review of the game but with all of its problems, there are moments in the game that work and even though they don’t have any ramifications, in the end, they should be experienced.

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