In 2015 Supermassive Games released Until Dawn and brought a new level of interactive horror to gamers. With the release of The Quarry, the company has taken the genre to a new level thanks in large part to the power of the new generation of gaming systems and graphic cards.
Unlike Until Dawn which was a PS4 exclusive, The Quarry is available on multiple platforms.
Using the same motion capture and a star-laden cast of Until Dawn, players are introduced to a group of councilors who have just seen their campers head home at the end of the summer.
Eager to get home and on with their college plans and lives, things take an unexpected turn when Jacob (Zach Tinker) decides to disable their van in the hopes that by staying an extra night he can convince Emma (Halston Sage), to not end their relationship which she viewed as a summer fling and with four states between them for school, something that cannot be maintained.
Despite the warnings of camp owner Chris (David Arquette) to stay inside with the doors locked, the kids decide to hold one more party and this is when things start to unravel. Players will take control of various players at random points of the story and this enables players to explore, gather clues, interact with objects and use weapons in rare instances.
The story is told over 10 chapters mainly set in one evening and the dangers that lurk are brutal and graphic when they arrive which means that stumbling around in the dark as the game often requires can have deadly results.
Players will have the option to make choices at several points during their gameplay and they can range from the tone used to answer a question or if they wish to run or hide from danger. There are other options as well as the intensity rises which all will change how the story unfolds as the game is based on branching storylines where who lives and who dies can change with each time through the story.
While there were elements where it seemed that I was stumbling in the dark trying to find where I was supposed to go and that large segments at times left me with little to do but watch the action and only occasionally pick a response when I had to move and make some rapid choices on directions and hotkeys, the game really drew me in.
The cast is strong and features Ariel Winter, Ted Raimi, Miles Robbins, Brenda Song, and Lance Henriksen amongst others and aside from one character who delivered his lines in an annoying monotone which sounded like they were delivered through a clenched jaw with a head cold, the voice acting is solid and above what one might expect in a game of this sort.
Graphically the game shined on a PS5 and being able to really enjoy the character animations helped me immerse myself in the story.
Since death is a part of the game, players are given three lives which will allow them to rewind the game and try to save the character. While it usually goes just before their passing, one did back me up a full chapter which I had to replay in order to get back to the next which also had to be replayed only to have the same fate befall the character.
In the end, The Quarry is a triumph of interactive storytelling and is an engaging and compelling tale with a strong cast. It will be interesting to see what Supermassive will do next but The Quarry is a game well worth your time.
4 stars out of 5