The Career Review – Summer Scare Fest


What happens when you take a group of teenagers, strand them alone in the middle of the woods, and leave them with an ominous warning that begs to be ignored? “Nothing good,” is the answer, but that’s exactly why we’re here. It’s the devilishly attractive setup of The Quarry, Supermassive Games’ spiritual successor until dawn. After dabbling in shorter stories with The Dark Pictures Anthology series, The Quarry sees the studio return to its roots with a new 10-hour horror game that sticks closely to the well-received formula that made Until Dawn such a resounding success.

After a mysterious and disturbing prologue, the first act of The Quarry begins on the last day of summer camp. With all the kids sent home, only the camp counselors and owner remain. He can’t wait for everyone to leave as soon as possible, which immediately raises a few red flags, but when their minibus doesn’t start, the counselors are forced to spend another night together. As teenagers, they had the great idea of ​​organizing one last party before returning home in the morning. No harm, no fault, right? Obviously, things don’t go as planned – and not just because booze is hard to come by – so you’ll spend the evening switching between controlling the nine counselors as they try to survive the night against many unforeseen threats.

Diving into more detail would be trespassing in spoiler territory, and part of The Quarry’s charm comes from uncovering its alluring mysteries. There are a few fairly obvious clues early on that should give you a good idea of ​​what you’ll be up against, but things aren’t always what they seem, and the reveals continue to unfold until its final moments.

One thing is certain, and that’s Supermassive’s reverence for horror movies. Quarry wears its influences on its sleeve, with various elements of its design evoking some of the best in the genre. The summer camp setting is clearly inspired by the likes of Friday the 13th and the cult classic Sleepaway Camp – although the less said about the latter, the better. Its self-awareness is reminiscent of the Scream franchise, and there are also hints of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, among others. Even the cast reflects that affection, with supporting roles for several recognizable horror stalwarts such as David Arquette, Lin Shaye, Lance Henriksen, and Ted Raimi. Exuding that unmistakable passion, there’s an air of confidence around The Quarry that reassures you that you’re in good hands for the ultimate teen horror experience, and you most certainly are.

Its cinematography is often breathtaking, effectively capturing fog creeping through a forest or the reflection of the moon on the surface of the lake. It also constantly plays with the contrast between light and dark, allowing surprises to emerge from the shadows when you least expect them. The camerawork is also much improved, building suspense through oppressive close-ups and moments where the camera will hang back, framing its characters as if an unseen stalker is behind the lens.

The cast of playable advisors run the gamut of familiar genre archetypes. There’s Jacob the loud jock, Dylan the wacky eccentric, and Abigail the socially awkward entertainer, to name a few. They can sometimes trespass into cartoonish territory, but much like Until Dawn, The Quarry manages to subvert expectations once it digs beyond the surface level. The overall cast is excellent too, with plenty of strong performances bringing every advisor to life. Impressive technology plays a big part in this, featuring some of the most realistic animated faces in the game. The fear in a character’s eyes is palpable, and you’ll also notice when they flirt through subtle expression changes. It allows actors to convey different emotions without having to say a word.

When talkative, the dialogue is snappy and feels very natural in that quick-witted Hollywood style of conversation – normal people – don’t talk like – which is fitting for such a cinematic game. It’s genuinely funny too, making sure to adapt to the levity moments even in the most difficult of circumstances and never threatening to take itself too seriously. He also spends a lot of time developing the connections between each of his characters and letting you know them. The first two hours or so are light, as you get to see how these characters act around each other before the shit hits the fan. Not everyone will appreciate this slow approach, and it will run into a few more pacing issues later on, with scenes dragging their feet to the point where it looks like some of the fat could have been cut out. But in a game where anyone can die, it’s imperative that you care about what happens to those who live on the edge.

Of course, if you don’t vibrate with a character, you can always take pleasure in ensuring his eventual demise. Careers are built on choice and consequences. Throughout the game, you’re forced to make decisions that will shape what happens to each character, whether you’re choosing between two dialogue options, choosing which path to take, or pondering the trigger of a rifle. hunt. Play your cards right and you could see everyone survive the night, or fail so catastrophically that no one is alive by sunrise. Sometimes these choices can seem inconsequential until hours later – like choosing to take or leave fireworks – while at other times they can directly seal a character’s fate.

Quick events punctuate action moments to get you involved, but they’re more like extra choices than a test of your reflexes. You just need to flick the left analog stick in the right direction to succeed, with the face buttons reserved for the occasional button mashing and times when you need to hold your breath. Some of the tension is lessened compared to Until Dawn, as you’re unlikely to fail any of these QTEs, but it places a greater burden on your decisions than your reactions.

Nor is death final in The Quarry. If a character dies, you have the option of spending one of three lives to go back in time and hopefully alter their fate. Imposing a limit on the number of times you can do this does not eliminate the threat of death; you just have one more decision to make. Are you spending a lifetime now potentially saving this character, or pocketing it for later in case someone you love more meets a bloody end? The only downside to this mechanic is that sometimes the fatal choice could have happened 20 minutes ago, which means replaying a long portion of the game.

When you’re not making impulsive decisions and avoiding death via QTEs, you have the opportunity to explore wonderfully realized locations while uncovering more of the game’s secrets through numerous collectibles. The Quarry occasionally adopts the fixed camera angles that were prevalent in Until Dawn during those moments, but for the most part you have full control of the camera as it nestles above a character’s shoulder. This makes finding various clues and evidence a bit easier, but the camera is still tight, which, combined with the cinematic letterbox, creates an inherent sense of claustrophobia. Exploring each realm also gives you the chance to unveil different tarot cards that offer a brief glimpse into the future. It’s been a feature in Supermassive’s other games, but they’re still too vague and obfuscated to feel particularly useful or illuminating. You’re also locked into a slow walking speed during these segments, so going off the beaten path to find nothing can be frustrating.

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If you want to go back and see how things could have turned out differently, there’s a Movie mode that lets you sit back and watch events unfold. You can choose to watch a game where everyone lives or dies, or use director mode to predetermine the behavior of the nine advisors and see what kind of effect it has on each scene.

Supermassive is quick to say that The Quarry is essentially an interactive movie. The mechanics haven’t changed since Until Dawn was released seven years ago, and that’s perfectly fine. The basic system of choice and consequence is still very good at building suspense and giving enormous weight to every decision you make. Its characters are likeable, well-written and superbly acted, ensuring you care what happens to them, and the story takes on plenty of exciting twists and turns that leave you wanting to find out what happens next. You can only contribute every few minutes, but that doesn’t stop The Quarry from being a fantastic horror game and Supermassive’s best endeavor yet.

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