From the creators of Until Dawn and The Dark Pictures Anthology comes The Quarry, a new horror where your choices matter (maybe).
It takes a good three or four hours into the three’s story The Quarry, among mysterious hunters, ravenous monsters and not so innocent teenagers, to understand that the “quarry” of the title – in Italian, “cava” – has two meanings. Sure, it’s the converted hole-in-the-ground that you move into, but so does whoever you deem prey in the aforementioned scenario. Jacob, Nick, Abi, Ryan, Emma, Laura, Max, Dylan and Kaitlyn are an eclectic cast, they are all absolutely stupid and most of them are more hateful than pleasant. It would have been nice to enjoy their bloody night of survival, sometimes it does, but there are just too many problems to ignore.
The Quarry is not lacking in style or commitment, by no means. All the while it’s gorgeous and every detail, from the VHS-style menus to the Twilight Zone-flavored announcer dubbing the video tutorials, is sticking to its roots. It’s a complete package of ’80s slasher movies transported to a suspiciously fieldless cellphone world and rendered with the best technology the modern era can master. To be clear, the game is just as good as Until Dawn in your memories, but significantly better than Until Dawn really was. Skin, clothes, rotten wood, rusty metal, pools of blood – it’s all realistic. The mo-cap is arguably one of the best out there, flowing into uncanny valley at times. It’s more noticeable when it’s not there, with the animation style completely changing in scenes where characters are blown across a room or something.
There are some quirks in facial expressions that you would hope to see resolved in a patch – necks that do weird things when you move the frame and the character at the same time, sometimes the hair goes haywire, and the mouths and eyes can be unpredictable. There is a scene with two characters splashing each other in the water that looks like the pixel fair. All of these moments are more noticeable because they are directly opposed to the game’s number one goal, which is to maintain the credibility of a film.
Uncanny valley, sometimes –
There are some great moments of directing and using the lights, especially when the game combines controlled exploration with still shots. It would even have been preferable for Supermassive to have discarded the traditional third-person view altogether, if the result was always lighting and shots of this level. Of course, scenes with conversations and decisions to make take up the vast majority of the game, and they are put together nicely. In this sense, The Quarry lives up to or surpasses almost everything seen in pre-recorded live action recently.
Perhaps surprisingly, where things start to run out of is in the actual game portion, not in third-person exploration and the search for clues. These sections are not complex but they are fun, beautiful, creepy settings filled with small details and pieces to find. The clues that link to each other are linked in the menus to help explain how the various facts of the situation relate, and that’s a nice touch. There are tons of oddities to collect in order to begin to understand more of the mystery. No, the problem is years old and it’s something heavily dialogue and choice-focused games have struggled with since the dawn of Telltale – making choices really matter.
Historical issues –
Through a couple of playthroughs, a surprising amount of individual dialogue and small details are altered by QTE gone wrong or alternate paths. However, it is extremely clear which parts of the game are mandatory, and where the protagonists must go to move the story forward. There are also some big differences in personality between the characters in the scenes where you control them and, for example, make them behave like mildly rational individuals, and those where the scenes are pre-programmed to cause as much chaos as possible. The writing and the overall plot appear a bit of a step back compared to Until Dawn. It’s hard to discuss them without spoilers, since it would make very little sense to play The Quarry knowing every twist, but a pinch of pepper is missing. The characters point weapons at each other or run away from each other instead of, for example, literally explaining everything. Some of the teenagers are adept at the genre, throwing in references from Scooby-Doo or Evil Dead, but they can’t apply that knowledge to decide whether what is chasing them is simply a howling bear or perhaps something more sinister.
The whole setup and the way it works out is all too classic. If you’ve seen a trailer, watched a video from the first act or read previews, or watched one of the many horror movies it refers to, you know where the story is headed. Once the nature of the monsters is revealed, there is really no surprise left. The Supermassive team are talented, and show it in every frame of animation and blood sketch recreated with love, but they are limiting themselves to stories that you already know all about in the beginning, development and end. The Quarry seems the most predictable with fewer new ideas among all other similar games, from Until Dawn up to The Dark Pictures Anthology and Hidden Agenda. It is also slow. There are several chapters that set the story with minimal action, an extremely long middle chapter that does all the revelations, and a final portion that feels rushed. When it’s at the heart of things, whether it’s letting you explore an area at your own pace or taking you through various action sequences full of choices, it sometimes has a good pace. However, it rarely blends the two in a satisfying way, and the good dialogue and voice actors’ performances only hold up to a point.
Two innovations –
Those looking for the next great horror game may be disappointed. Even if you were easily touched, this game pushes the slasher button a lot more than everything else. There are a handful of moments when the pace slows down and a semblance of fear presents itself, although the quiet moments towards the start of the game do a good job. While the violence is sometimes extreme, it is rarely terrifying. When the results are grotesque, they’re not the creeping horror of a torture scene, they’re a sometimes-almost-literal shotgun blow to the face. It doesn’t all go so well often enough to keep your nerves on edge, and of course the point of many of the QTEs is to avoid the grisly moments.
The Quarry has a couple of innovations which are quite interesting. The not-yet-implemented multiplayer mode that allows characters to be controlled by various people online, who don’t necessarily have to own the game, is sure to be a hit – although postponing beyond the initial release date will significantly reduce its impact. There is also a cinema mode, which removes all gameplay and simply starts the game with a specified end goal (everyone dies or all lives) or characters who obey their personalities.
How long does The Quarry last? –
This personality mode, where you can define certain characters as inquisitive, aggressive, oblivious and so on, is quite fascinating. Prepare them and watch them go is always an engaging element in a video game, whether it’s seeing two AIs attacking each other in a strategic one or bringing Sims together. Build an entire mode around this concept in a game that has 186 endings it’s a great idea. And it even collects a lot of the game’s collectibles for you, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, the start of the glacial pass and the complete inability to skip anything – not a line of dialogue or scene – means that it will take you up to four hours to funnel towards the finale, and probably at least one or two before you see the impact. real of your choices. After watching the slow-moving opening credits for the various playthroughs four times, you’ll be fed up with it. You probably won’t want to see them again only to find out if the unsuspecting Laura can get her boyfriend Max killed.The idea is brilliant, the execution is lacking.
This focus on replayability across different game modes and the problems over ending numbers really exposes too the biggest flaws of the kind. Nothing will recapture the mystery of the first run, and every time you watch or replay a game you will notice funnels towards specific moments over and over. The Quarry is a significantly better experience the first time around, but even then it’s only a 6-8 hour game that way, maybe 10 if it takes you too well. Not that it’s a problem playing a short game, but clearly the publisher or developer wanted to avoid a similar time count, which is why they made certain decisions.
Missing a true ending –
In the end, characters who may die at the beginning are kept away or in the background in the plot if they survive, while those who make it to the final chapters stay center stage for longer. Detroit: Become Human did a better job of maintaining the relevance of the characters, and the more varied potential settings and outcomes. Japanese visual novels of all shapes and sizes have long accepted that the best way to have a replay value component in a story-driven game is to make having to walk through each branch part of a larger narrative that allows you to unlock a true ending. . The Quarry, presumably due to budget limitations and genre choices, does not even do this and is in fact left uncovered in this sense.
There are also some questionable decisions on a specific element. A woman is referred to as “gypsy” and “transient” by another character without anyone batting an eye, and if there is a way to give her a nice ending, we haven’t found it. Horror movies, especially slashers, they often have prejudices but not treating them in any way that doesn’t involve having one of the morally gray characters in the game throw out a couple of insults against Roma seems a shame at best, offensive at worst. He leaves a bad taste in his mouth.
The Quarry, the verdict –
And that’s a good summary of the whole game. The first playthrough is decent, and if value for money isn’t an issue for you and the genre is one of your favorites, there’s no doubt you’ll get something positive out of it. But the more time you spend there, the more endings you will see and the closer you look at it, the worse it will become. Decisions like the fact that you can use the death rewind system in your first playthrough only have purchased the deluxe edition and the icing on a blood-smeared cake.
Written by Ben Barrett for GLHF
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