Slasher Horror Returns: The Quarry (Review)

The Quarry is an interactive horror game released on the 10th of June 2022 for Windows, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox one/Series X/S.

In the game, you take control of a series of characters who are counsellors at a summer camp as they try to survive their last night at Hackett’s Quarry. They are faced with supernatural creatures and crazed, violent locals. Throughout the game, you make numerous choices that impact character development and relationships, along with the plot and, ultimately, it’s ending. Depending on your choices, each of the characters can survive the night or die.

The Quarry is a spiritual successor to Until Dawn and is inspired by teen slasher movies like Friday the 13th. The game features a large cast that includes big names like Brenda Song, Ted Raimi, David, Arquette and Lance Henriksen.

I enjoy games where your choices have an impact on the characters and story. So games such as Until Dawn, Heavy Rain, and the Telltale games are generally a safe bet for ones I will enjoy. I was drawn to The Quarry straight away for its play style, plot and theme, as well as its excellent cast, so I was looking forward to getting stuck into it. The game starts as you control two characters on their way to the titular summer camp to spend the season as counsellors. As usual, it’s at night, and something forces them off the road. From the get-go, there is a creepy feeling to the setting, and when things start to flash up in your periphery, you begin to get an idea of what to expect through the rest of the game. Most of the game relies on quick-time events when action is taking place, but there are also times where you directly control the characters in a more free roam type way, allowing you to investigate the environment and find collectables and key items that move the plot forward.

The graphics are great, and the lighting and ambience really set the game up for a creepy playthrough, although, at times, it can be difficult to see what’s going on due to the darkness of certain scenes.

The characters are interesting despite most of them being the typical tropes that you see in most slasher movies. However, through your time playing, you begin to feel something for most of them, and there is a genuine want to keep them alive as long as possible. The threat of the enemies feels real and adds that survival horror element to the game. Having to act quickly during the quick time events means that you have to really be paying attention to what’s going on to figure out the best move, as some will have dire consequences.

I like that through your exploration you discover things in the scenes that set up events later in the game. These can include things like ladders, windows or doors that you unlock or register the presence of and make use of during quick-time events later on in the story. If somehow you miss one of these or interact with it incorrectly, this can have repercussions on the characters and story. In your explorations, you can also find tarot cards, which come into play after each chapter as an old woman, a gipsy-like character, explains and shows future events based on the cards you pick up. Again, if you miss any of these, you might miss out on clues on how to react to certain situations. This adds that little bit extra to the game and makes you explore the scenes that little bit more.

I’ve played a lot of games of this ilk, and unfortunately, The Quarry doesn’t really bring anything new to the genre. It has a really interesting story when it gets going, but it’s still one that is pretty similar to games and moves that have come before it. Having said that, I was engrossed in the story from the beginning, and although I was yelling at the screen for characters not to wander off on their own, I found it drew me into the character’s world. Not everything is revealed at the beginning, and like the characters you control, you’re left to figure out what is actually going on at the summer camp.

The cast is excellent, and it’s terrific to see people like Lance Henriksen, David Arquette, and Ted Raimi. But there is something a little bit off about the acting in this game. All the people involved can do so much better. I don’t know if it’s the writing where it falls down or maybe the motion capture animation, but something is just wrong with most of the stilted way that dialogue and acting comes across. I’m not going to lie; it does detract slightly from the horror and suspenseful nature of the game.

One addition to the game I like is the way several tutorials are presented to you. Rather than just having the button presses pop up to the side of the screen, The Quarry has short animations that show and describe how to perform specific actions. For example, one game tactic is to hold your breath while an enemy is close to avoid detection. The animation for this shows a character hiding from an enemy while holding their breath, but also shows what happens when you release it too soon, namely death.

The Quarry has its good points and bad points. However, for me, the good outweighs the bad, and I mostly forgive it as it is trying to be a campy 80s slasher flick after all, and what’s cheesier than that genre of movie? I would recommend this game for lovers of story-driven interactive games like Until Dawn or the Dark Pictures Series, and I give it a solid 8/10.I will return to this game to see what other endings are like.

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