The Quarry is the spiritual successor to 2015’s Until Dawn. Until Dawn was a story-based horror game with the player following a group of people and trying to survive during a night with many threats coming for them. It boasted many different outcomes, great graphics, especially with character models, and scary and atmospheric gameplay and storytelling. The Quarry is a recent game that promised to do the same. So the question is, did it succeed? The answer is not really. Great, so pack it up, and let’s go home? Well, not quite. While it did not live up to Until Dawn, it’s not a bad game, and there are moments with it that I think it got close to being what it promised.
The Quarry starts with two teens going to camp where they will be counselors. They are run off the road by something unknown and are met by a creepy sheriff, Ted Raimi, who warns them not to go to the camp until the next day. They promptly ignore him and are attacked by something at the camp. Flash forward to the last day of camp, and we meet our other counselors. They are getting ready to leave, lamenting that they will miss the summer fun but also complaining about being two counselors short. One of the guys decides he wants one more night to convince his summer fling not to call their relationship over with the end of summer and breaks the car they are supposed to use to leave. This causes the head of the camp, played by David Arquette, to kind of freak out. He promises to help the teens leave tomorrow, and they must stay inside tonight.
They, of course, ignore him.
What unfolds is another “survive the night” situation with what seems to be a ghost, hunters, and some unknown creatures hunting the young adults.
Like Until Dawn, gameplay involves making various choices throughout the story and then QTEs (quick time events). What it gets right is that there are a lot of branching options in this game. After playing a little, I did some research as well, and there are many different ways the game can unfold, which I appreciate. In fact, it outdoes Until Dawn in that aspect, and I know it’s a challenge, so really awesome.
Unlike Until Dawn, the QTEs are few and far between and insanely easy. Until Dawn would get stressful because there was a challenge in saving some people with their QTEs, but I prefer that over the total lack of stress this game provides. You can make bad choices, and I did and lost people because of it. However, actually failing a QTE is pretty hard. The only one I did fail was because I hit the wrong trigger to fire my gun… It’s a bit of a letdown.
The other major issue is the much boasted about graphics themselves. The graphics as far as faces and backgrounds are pretty great; the animation, however, is bad. Not okay, bad. Water, blood, and hair effects look downright awful at times. Movements can be clunky and poorly done. It is pretty stark to see a nice-looking background with really bad rain. Or a great-looking character with hair or movements that are something we haven’t seen in gaming in years. The priority was made to make the characters look good, and the rest of the animation and detail suffer for it. Until Dawn inarguably looks better for no other reason than it’s consistent.
There is also the story itself. Until Dawn had some weirdness, but in the end, the horror and tension of the situation really overcame that, and there were some real moments that shined throughout the game story-wise. The Quarry… does not build tension as well, although there are some great and notable moments, and the story is not well fleshed out. There was a lot of time and attention given to teen angst and drama and a lot less given to the actual mystery and horror of what is happening. – which I think would have ultimately been a better story than Until Dawn if it had been more complete – Some chapters were way too long, overwrought, or downright dull. Others managed to really be something special, so it’s not that it’s all bad. About 2-3 hours and a lot of drama could have been easily shaved from the game. Also, fleshing out the actual mystery would have been great. It’s a good story overall just really suffers from some moments and does not live up to what it could be.
So this is a lot of complaining and possibly a lot of being unfair because I am stacking it against another game. To the second, I would say they laid that expectation but fair. The issue is all the problems I have with it would still be problems. It would still be a horror/mystery story without enough focus on the mystery. It would still be a pretty game in some areas and awful in others. It would still be too long with not the best pacing.
However, it is not, if you are getting the idea, I am saying it is, a bad game. It has some truly tense moments, which are great for horror games. The story, while not fully fleshed out, has some interesting and cool things happening. There really are a lot of different branches, which is welcome, and even though I could use a bit less “young adult drama,” I am looking forward to many playthroughs to get to there.
It just simply put, does not live up to what it can be.
So bottom line? Well, I recommend it, just with caveats. I mean, first is the most obvious, you must be a horror fan. Second is, I would say you need to have realistic expectations. It’s not the first Halloween, Scream, or any other standout horror movie. It is the second, a movie that is decent, worth enjoying, but doesn’t live up to its successor. My biggest issue is that I really felt like it had a lot of unrealized potential, but I am still glad I played it. My Impressions are harsh, but because I want to be honest, the game has issues. It is also worth noting though I might be in the minority. While it is doing slightly worse in reviews than Until Dawn, a lot of people think it’s a lot closer to being a solid spiritual successor than I seem to.
*Note: This game is suffering from bugs and other issues and so far while I have seen news of updates I have not seen follow-through. I would take that into advisement before purchasing