A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to preview The Quarry and share my thoughts on the beginning portion of the game. After having a tonne of fun with it, I rather boldly claimed that The Quarry could be Supermassive Games’ best title since Until Dawn, the studio's first major release back in 2015.
Then, when I finally managed to finish things off and tie up my loose ends across Hackett’s Quarry, I realised that while Until Dawn still reigns supreme, that doesn’t mean The Quarry can't serve up scares like they're marshmallows on a stick.
The Quarry is - by no means whatsoever - a bad game. There are many moments of animated awkwardness and general jank that can hook you out from an otherwise seriously immersive moment, but aside from that, Hackett’s Quarry is seething with some fucked-up fun (for you, but not so much for any of the characters involved). Sometimes the characters definitely talk too much or will gracelessly linger doing nothing for too long, although, The Quarry still remains a strong game with an enthralling horror tale to tell, if you choose wisely.
At the forefront of The Quarry is a group of camp counsellors, stuck at the camp for the night after their car breaks down. Fortunately, camp is over and all the kids have already gone home. Even Chris Hackett himself flees, giving the teens one warning and one warning only: stay inside until the morning.
However, teens will be teens and this is a classic horror flick scenario, so the counsellors obviously decide to host a bonfire and play some good old-fashioned truth or dare. In fact, for most of the game, many of these characters seem to want to do anything but go inside - even when danger is imminent.
The Quarry learns from its predecessors, but takes a step backwards too
The Quarry consists of various paths for players to go down, all of which are indicated as they occur. Whether it be choosing to open an illuring door, or if the party needs fireworks, your decisions dictate the story as it unfolds, as well as how characters feel about each other.
Aside from choosing how characters interact with each other, or which route to go down next in your journey, brushes with danger often consist of various Quick Time Events. If you’ve played Until Dawn or an instalment of The Dark Pictures Anthology, you’ll already be familiar with these prompts.
Whenever action occurs and time is of the essence, you’ll typically have random, quick prompts appear. Responding to these in a timely and accurate manner will often keep your characters safe, but missing a single QTE can lead to a fateful fall, and thus, death.
These gameplay mechanics are intertwined with new ones, displaying rather explicitly how The Quarry has learnt various lessons from the interactive horror tales that have come before it. Boasting 186 endings after some players felt Until Dawn's decisions were not impactful enough, the game also introduces Interrupts to save yourself from uncomfortable conversations, and a Death Rewind mechanic that I certainly welcomed with open arms.
Players using Death Rewind will have three lives at first, with each one dwindling as you resurrect a counsellor from the dead. I, somehow, used all three of mine on the same counsellor, three times in a row, making the mechanic redundant for me quickly.
Although, that was my bad, and I will be using it a little more carefully in my next play through. Either way, it’s refreshing to have the option to go back and retrace your steps and fix your mistakes, while having to remain tactical about when and where to use the function.
In between these fight or flight moments, scenes are typically made up of characters trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on. However, sometimes you’re granted the reins and will be able to freely control your character. I will not be the first or last to say this, but walking in these games is insufferable.
I hold out hope that Supermassive Games might, one day, make the walking in their games either a little faster or at least less rigid than rigor mortis. For such vibrant characters who are fighting for their lives, they sure as hell aren’t in a rush to get anywhere, most of the time.
You’ve no choice but to take in the surroundings, and Hackett’s Quarry is rather scenic
When you’re walking at a snail's pace, you’ve no choice but to take in your surroundings whilst playing The Quarry. I understand that there’s little use rushing around, especially when there are clues to piece together and Tarot Cards to return to the game's illusive tarot reader and narrator, Eliza.
However, when I’m making my way through the likes of Chapter 8 (which features a lot of stairs, by the way), I feel like I should be able to manoeuvre the environment a little faster. At least, an improved walking speed would be nice to unlock after initial completion of the game.
Perhaps an unintended benefit of a slow walking speed is that the scenery practically begs for you to take it all in. What other choice do you have when you’re basically walking in real time from one side of a forest to the other?
As luck would have it, the scenery that surrounds Hackett’s Quarry is pretty pleasing to the eye. From sunset to sunrise, the environment just looks amazing, and shots from overhead the camp and the murky waters surrounding it really help to establish the isolated setting (and remind you exactly why these teens aren’t just running for the hills).
Sometimes, scenes are a tad too dark, and in true Supermassive Games’ style, some of our counsellors' animated facial expressions are certainly a little questionable. That being said, amping up the brightness beyond the recommended setting fixed my issue with the dark, and any awkward animated expressions are simply a Supermassive quirk at this point.
While any form of awkward animation can be deemed as ‘bad,’ it doesn’t feel out of place in The Quarry. In fact, while it can remove from the immersion when you see a character unrealistically having their guts torn from them out of nowhere, it made me feel more of an endearment towards the title.
Slasher films aren’t perfect, right? Following the traditional formula of these films, death is rampant and unrealistic, and it is pertinent throughout The Quarry. So much so, that anything that appears as unwieldy or out of place on screen can be viewed as weirdly charming, and sometimes amusing, whether it is intentional or not.
At the heart of The Quarry is a likeable cast, including the creature that lurks in the woods
As you become accustomed to Hackett’s Quarry and form emotional attachments to the characters, as I did (this was a big mistake from me), every QTE or decision brings you a little closer to the edge of your seat.
Of all the controllable characters in The Quarry, I struggled to find a reason to dislike any of them. Even the characters with less desirable traits had redeeming qualities, and everyone was pleasant in their own way. They were well-developed, and as a result, parting with them became all the more difficult and The Quarry, as a game, became all the more of an emotional rollercoaster as the narrative developed.
I’ll always aim for a pacifist run with a game like The Quarry, but I had my work cut out for me, and by the end of it all, I also had a lot of blood on my hands. In addition to that, I also have some of the most brutal death scenes seared into my mind for a lifetime. The Quarry certainly isn’t messing around when it comes to fulfilling the cult slasher blueprint surrounding messy deaths full of shock value - even if it does feel a bit clumsy at times.
If you’re not great at keeping everyone alive, it’s a gore fest. Vicious death scenes feel all the more shocking due to immersion and who you’re invested in. My heart still hurts that the love of Nick and Abi, or Jacob and Emma, will never blossom in my first play through, but maybe next time.
Having said that, I didn’t think I’d want to replay The Quarry initially, but my investment in these characters runs deep now. After just one ending, I don’t feel like I have enough answers about Hackett’s Quarry just yet. There’s unfinished business, and I like that. With a hefty price tag attached to the ten-hour game, I’m glad that there’s plenty of replayability on the table, too.
At the heart of any game brought to us by Supermassive is its characters, and this includes an evil villain of sorts. Usually, there lurks a monster or evil entity waiting to hunt these characters like prey. The same is the case for The Quarry; out in those woods, during the dead of night, something monstrous lurks. However, there’s also a tale of the Hag of Hackett’s Quarry that lingers, too.
The counsellors can’t seem to catch a break; from run-ins with the creature's claws, to hearing the haunting tones of the presumed hag whispering to them. There’s simply no rest until sunrise, and you’ll be wishing these teens simply stayed indoors by the time you venture into the Hackett Family Home, which hides a few more secrets of its own for you to unveil.
Without spoilers, there’s no denying that the studio's physical take on the monster was impressive while being relatively untraditional, rendering it both terrifying and unfamiliar. This alone makes the monster refreshingly frightful once first revealed. As you find yourself spending chapters trying to figure out exactly what it might be, this intimidating monster paired with such a well-developed cast of characters provides a bloody good ride. So, if you’re here for some gory, summer slasher fun and possibly some heartache, you’re in for a treat.
The Quarry has served, as promised
The Quarry, in spite of the skull-smashing and constant puddles of blood, feels like a cosy game, especially as I reach the epilogue. With Daydream Believer on blast, a list of every character's fate is shown just before the credits roll; with most of my counsellors dead, I found it to be a comical yet charming way to round off my time at Hackett’s Quarry.
This is a game for fans of horror and spooks, particularly for when you want to curl up on the sofa and put minimal effort in, while still feeling as though you’re making maximum impact. It builds upon its spiritual predecessor, Until Dawn, by making its decision system more powerful and handing even more control over to the player.
The Quarry is not without its flaws, but it certainly lives up to the legacy of its predecessor, Until Dawn. It’s fun, it’s immersive, and the fate of Hackett’s Quarry truly lies in your hands. As with most games developed by Supermassive, The Quarry is best played with plenty of blankets to hide under, and possibly a friend to adventure through couch co-op mode with you. Tread carefully.