I was absolutely captivated by Supermassive Games’ 2015 horror masterpiece, Until Dawn. This interactive drama not only featured an intriguing supernatural storyline but also kept me on the edge of my seat with its impeccable pacing. Since then, I’ve had mixed feelings about Supermassive’s subsequent releases in the Dark Picture Anthology series. However, after getting my hands on their upcoming game, The Quarry, I have a feeling that they might have recaptured the magic of Until Dawn.
Before diving into the gameplay, I was introduced to the game’s characters and their relationships. The section I played centered around the characters gathering wood for a campfire, and through their interactions, I quickly grasped the dynamics between them. Nick and Abigail exhibited a romantic interest in each other, while Jacob seemed to hide his insecurities behind a macho facade. Emma, on the other hand, appeared to be subtly manipulative. Kaitlyn stood out as the authoritative figure, reminding the group to handle firearms properly and scolding anyone who didn’t comply. While Ryan and Dylan had less screen time in this preview, they still played integral roles in the story’s development.
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It’s worth noting that The Quarry, published by 2K, seems to have a more substantial budget compared to Supermassive’s previous games in the Dark Pictures Anthology series. The character animations are smoother, their facial expressions more expressive, and the voice acting has significantly improved. Among the cast, Brenda Song’s portrayal of Kaitlyn stands out the most. Many of us will recognize her from her role in The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Brenda’s extensive acting experience truly shines through, but the entire main cast delivers solid performances that enhance the horror experience.
A Summer Camp Nightmare
The true gameplay begins in chapter 3, as night falls, and Abigail finds herself being hunted down by a grotesque monster. As the suspense builds, players are faced with a variety of choices and quick-time events, where a single misstep could lead to a character’s demise. For example, when given the opportunity, I chose to have Abigail climb a tree, engaging in a series of quick-time events involving mouse movement and precise button presses. One particular highlight was a breath-holding mechanic, reminiscent of Until Dawn’s DualShock 4 controller feature, where I had to hold down a key to ensure Abigail’s silence while the monster lurked nearby.
Significant story-changing choices also arise throughout the gameplay. When Nick is attacked by the monster, as Abigail, I had the option to either help him or run straight for the safety of the camp. I chose to lend a hand, and a text prompt appeared, indicating that this decision could impact future events. Abigail managed to survive long enough to seek help from the other campers. I chose Ryan to venture into the woods to find Nick, armed with a shotgun. Opting for caution, I decided to take the normal path around the woods rather than a risky shortcut. However, later on, I took the chance and successfully navigated another set of quick-time events, only to witness a mysterious individual dragging a bloodied Nick away.
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At this critical moment, Nick threatened the stranger, triggering a high-stakes shooting sequence. While my aim fell short, Nick narrowly escaped. Once again, a “Path Chosen” prompt appeared, hinting at potential repercussions for future events.
Every decision and action in The Quarry creates a palpable sense of suspense, as players race against the clock. The choices I made felt equally viable, but the consequences only became apparent when a character’s life hung in the balance.
Interlaced with the intense chase sequences are moments of calm exploration. Hackett’s Quarry is teeming with news clippings and items that shed light on the area’s history and prior events. These objects provide contextual information and contribute to the game’s immersive atmosphere. Players can also collect tarot cards, which add an extra layer of lore to uncover.
To make the game more approachable and accessible, The Quarry offers a range of options. For instance, players can customize subtitle size and apply a yellow background for easier readability. It’s also possible to adjust the time allotted for quick-time events and toggle between holding buttons and continuous pressing.
An Impressive Experience
After spending an hour with The Quarry, I came away thoroughly impressed. The game managed to recapture the fear and horror that made Until Dawn such a standout title. The presentation is top-notch, and the characters’ distinct personalities make them easy to connect with. Remarkably, none of the characters grated on my nerves (at least not yet). Above all, The Quarry introduces an actual monster, setting the stage for a potentially engrossing lore.
Billed as a spiritual successor to Until Dawn, The Quarry seems poised to live up to that lofty claim. On June 10, when the game launches for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S, we’ll finally see if it can truly honor its predecessor’s legacy.
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