(available for PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox One & Series X, PC. PS5 version used for this review)
The Quarry is the latest game from Supermassive Games who previously made Until Dawn and the Dark Pictures anthology series. This is the latest in that vein of games, though Supermassive haven’t given it the Dark Pictures label, showing a clear distinction from those games and seeming as though they wanted to tie this closer to Until Dawn, considering that that has been the most successful so far. The marketing has been very successful with this game, it’s done quite well in terms of trailers, and it touts a big cast with some famous names in, like Scream star David Arquette, Detective Pikachu star Justice Smith and Modern Family’s Ariel Winter, to name a few.
This also feels like the first one of these games to take advantage of the new consoles, with particular emphasis to buy these on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Though from what I’ve seen of people playing the PS4 and Xbox One versions, it’s not much of a downgrade- though you are going to pay more for the next gen versions. My copy, for example, cost £70- which is as much as what Sony is charging for its first party titles.
I’ve had some issues in the past with the Dark Pictures Anthology games, but I went into this with a bit of enthusiasm because I felt like a lot of player points were listened to.
If you’re not aware of these games, they’re basically 3rd person action-horror games that are like ‘make-your-own-choice’ movies. You get very stereotypical slasher horror characters and you’ll be controlling 8 of them. Your goal is to try and get most of them out alive, but you may not necessarily be able to succeed, considering that you won’t be fighting characters, but by making quick-time decisions that affect the story, which can get characters killed. In my playthrough, I made some very dumb decisions under pressure that got my characters killed. The game does warrant repeat playthroughs this way, because there are trophies and game achievements for various ways out. For example, there’s a trophy for getting the ending where everyone dies and one for where everyone lives.
- Story and performances
I’ve never really been a huge fan of the storylines in the games that Supermassive have brought out since Until Dawn, and The Quarry clearly takes inspiration from Until Dawn, the plot structures are actually quite similar in a few ways, but aren’t quite the same. As a plot goes, it’s quite good. And it will obviously change depending on the decisions you make in the game. You can have certain characters interact in certain ways, some might gain a moral conscience in parts of the game and some may become morally bankrupt where they sabotage another character or deliberately screw up. That being said though, they gave us lots of characters with decent personalities and many of them I wanted to see come out alive – there were only a few where I thought I didn’t want them to see the end.
The game also makes it a lot clearer when decisions are being made that will affect the story, even early on, since the game flashes ‘Path Chosen’ part way, and when the consequences of a decision are made it will then flash with ‘Path Update’. It doesn’t warn you in advance, so in a first playthrough you may end up walking into one of these and there is no rewind button for it. If you didn’t want that character to die and you’ve made that choice, sorry but you’re going to have to wait until the next playthrough!
The performances are really good in this game. Most of the actors are doing motion capture, and I thought that they all did well considering they’re having to do a very hard task of acting and imagining all while in a blank studio.
I did a stream for the last Dark Pictures anthology game and at the beginning of it we didn’t like most of the characters so one of the people in chat wrote a joke of what the solution was going to be- and it ended up being the write answer! This time around it’s a much better plotline and it delivered a very good twist down the line.
In the first playthrough that I did for this review I didn’t really get much out of some of the twists that were unveiled- in fact, some of the characters were barely in it because of my decisions. It does have some of the problems that Until Dawn had of bouncing around in between subplots. However, unlike Until Dawn, it has way more moments where characters can be killed. There’s not too many moments of a character having immunity.
As a whole, the story this time around is a much better improvement.
I already talked about motion capture being used and it’s still pretty good here. I think that the team has improved on the graphics since Until Dawn, and this game looks gorgeous on the PS5. It does a very good job getting the actor’s likenesses, in particular I would say Justice Smith and David Arquette look particularly recognisable. Ariel Winter was a bit harder to spot at first, but I think it’s because I’m not used to her having hair that short in a role.
The graphics are really good! I think they did a good job overall. Some people have said that there’s a few weaknesses and the uncanny valley is still kind of in effect (I did notice sometimes that characters had eye movements that didn’t sync up properly or weird expressions) but as a whole, this game seems to be acting as a test for Supermassive games to get used to the technology within the new consoles, and I’m interesting to see what they’ll do next.
- Co-op and multiplayer
I had to do a test run of this one by myself unfortunately since I couldn’t get anyone to join me over the weekend that the game came out, but I think that this will be the game I put on in the next big gathering when my extended family comes up to visit.
It follows a similar idea to the other Dark Pictures anthologies; you simply have to have one controller and you pass it around depending on which character is in control. Normally, this could end up being a bit disproportionate, for example if there’s three people playing, someone is going to have control of more characters so they have a better chance of getting out and surviving, but this is handled pretty well. For one thing, the co-op has been extended this time and is up to eight players, and I really imagine it’s going to be really fun to have people work together. Unlike the other games, one of your characters can die due to someone else’s decisions, which is something that happened to me on a playthrough. I had one character hide and this resulted in another character dying without giving me the opportunity to do anything about it. I made a couple of dumb decisions in my first playthrough!
- Much better quicktime events
The quicktime events in Man of Medan are a little overcomplicated. They often result in a lot of timing sequences that I didn’t feel were very newcomer-friendly, which these games do have a broad appeal so it seemed odd. This time, all the quicktime events are timed only to a few buttons, most notably the left analogue stick. What’s more, the timing is way more forgiving. I think I barely ever messed up on quicktime events. That being said, I was playing the default option for most of the time- and there are accessibility options. You can make the time on these events shorter or longer depending on your desired play style. There’s even more accessibility options such as aim assist for when you have to use the left analogue stick and the right trigger to aim a shot, when you’re trying to protect a character or protect yourself.
I found that some of the sequences were a bit more forgiving. The only ones I had more trouble with were the holding your breath ones, those felt a little less forgiving in terms of the timing mechanic, but as a whole, I felt that this will suit beginners quite well.
- Rewind button
At the start of each playthrough you’re given three lives which can act as a rewind button to save lives. In co-op, you need to make sure to use these wisely – there are no extra ones. Don’t think that you can make a dumb decision and you can just quit and reload so the game will take you back, it will take you right back to the cutscene where you screwed up. The fact that the game even has this option will help massively for people who go trophy hunting.
I’ve always been a bit mixed on the gameplay in these sorts of games since while I do enjoy exploring the environments and uncovering all the different aspects of the mystery it does feel a bit annoying that none of the characters have a run or quick moving button. There’s a load of sequences where I wanted the game to speed up. There have still been a few shakeups, in games like Until Dawn you had the totem poles which gave you the possible futures, and this time you have tarot cards of which there are multiple to find in each chapter. You don’t get them immediately- the new host this time is a fortune teller. They will give you a vision of the possible future, but if you find multiple cards you still only get to be shown one each time. Some are really deceptively difficult to find, though with enough exploration you should be able to find at least one in every chapter, and some of them are tied into some interesting backstory. I’d really recommend going out of your way to look for them on a repeat playthrough.
The gameplay feels majorly improved, simply for the fact of the more forgiving quicktime events and the rewind button. There’s a lot less times in this game where I felt annoyed with the game’s design, especially comparing it to the Dark Pictures anthology games.
- Movie mode
Movie mode is a new addition for this game, it essentially means that you can witness the story without playing the game by compiling a series of cut scenes depending on the outcome, and it becomes your personal movie night. It might shave a few hours off of the game but it’s still a long movie! A couple of the options that they have are good since they may give you ideas and tips for particular outcomes. The game mode gives you three options: everyone lives, everyone dies, or director’s chair- meaning that you can choose how characters respond to events and can decide what their general characteristics will be. I think that this one is the most fun since you can change it up every time and see how the story turns out.
I think that this mode is quite good since it can be exhausting to try out all of the different playthroughs, but I don’t think that it’s the best way to experience it. It’s way more fun to get a few friends round and consult decisions as the game is going on. But I do think that it’s good for a horror movie night in!
- No online multiplayer at Launch
I really wish that this would have been kept in! As I recall, most of the Dark Pictures anthology had online multiplayer, but you aren’t given the choice for this. Everyone has to be in the same room! It’s quite annoying considering that me and a lot of my friends bought the game believing that there was going to be online multiplayer and it just wasn’t there. Supermassive have confirmed that the game will recive an update that will add online multiplayer though at this time that date has not been confirmed
I think they would do well to patch this in as a new feature.
- The game is too dark sometimes
I don’t mean dark as in tone, but dark as in lighting. There were a lot of times where I wished someone had turned on the light- I could barely see what I was doing. There’s been a lot of effort into making these characters and environments look good as the game developers have covered this up most of the time with the lighting. You might want to mess with the game’s lighting and contrast settings.
The Quarry is a very good spiritual successor to Until Dawn. It’s quite a long game, coming in at 9-10 hours, which is about an hour or two longer than Until Dawn and significantly longer than the Dark Pictures Anthology games. I’d say you can do a good playthrough of this in 2 or 3 goes.
It’s a much better multiplayer experience considering how good the characters are and how more forgiving the gameplay is.
For £70 though, this game offers a lot of replay value especially if you’re trophy hunting on the PlayStation version, I think £70 may be too much for this game. It’s very well put together and I think it’s worth it but as a whole I’m not entirely sure. It depends on how much you think the gameplay length matches the value, but you might want to wait for a sale on this one. If you liked Until Dawn, this is the best one I’ve played since that one came out.
I’ve seen reviews describe this game as uneven, and on a technical level it’s got some issues, but as a whole I think it really works.
Final Score 9.1/10
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