The line between film and video games blurs with each day. Technology has advanced so far to the point where video games have taken on a more cinematic quality. It feels like an interactive movie. No more is this prevalent than with Supermassive Games.
Based in the UK, Supermassive’s entries are the literal definitions of interactive movies. From the big name talent attached to the camera shots, Supermassive brings a fresh perspective on cinematic storytelling. Think Quantic Dream but without the pretentiousness or absolute monsters running the studio.
Now, Supermassive prepares to pop pop pop pop another game into your eye mouths with The Quarry.
Paying homage to the classic horror films of the ‘80s, The Quarry takes place at Hackett’s Quarry Summer Camp. It’s the end of summer, and seven counselors are preparing to head home. But, when their vehicle is suddenly sabotaged, they find themselves stranded until tomorrow morning. So, they do what most co-ed summer camp counselors would do: throw one last raging bonfire party to say goodbye to summer. However, not everything is hunky-dory, as a dark presence begins to hunt our counselors…something deadly.
If that sounds like it’s straight from an old grindhouse horror trailer, there are two reasons for that. 1). That’s intentional for dramatic effect. And 2). To say any more would be a disservice to the player, as this is one of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve had this year.
The structure is EXTREMELY similar to other Supermassive entries. Through a bevy of main characters, you must search for clues, interact with the environment, and use quick-time events in order to ensure their survival. Every action and piece of dialogue your character does or says will have a major impact somewhere down the line, whether it’s positive or negative.
Yet the key difference between this and something like Until Dawn is just how EXPANSIVE everything is. There are so many choices given throughout (almost overwhelmingly so…nearly EVERY action you do has a choice attached to it). The story also feels a lot bigger in scope. While the setup is fairly simplistic, it’s the delivery and how it fleshes out this world that makes this game so different from previous Supermassive titles.
(Quick side note: on a technical scale, this game is super fun at making this feel like a horror movie. There are even filters that allow you to play the game as an indie horror movie, an 80s horror movie, or a classic horror movie. I went with the ‘80s aesthetic. Just a cool, neat little add-on to this experience).
This can also be traced to the cast of this game. Supermassive is known for getting some pretty big names attached to their projects (Will Poulter, Ashley Tisdale, Hayden Panetierre, and Rami Malek, to name a few). In The Quarry, they pull out all the stops, nabbing some HUGE heavy hitters of the genre. Lin Shaye. Lance Henriksen. Grace Zabriski. Ted Rami. David FUCKING Arquette. All of these actors absolutely bring their A-game. Rami and Arquette are the standouts here, with Rami giving one of his creepiest performances to date.
The young campers are all great too. Gotta be honest; it was wild seeing London Tipton swearing and being in a vastly different role than what she was on the Disney Channel. That being said, Song, Zach Tinker, Ariel Winter, and Miles Robbins were my favorite storylines of the group. Their performances and story arcs are probably the most fun to watch and the most engaging.
This game is not without faults. I’ve already mentioned that the number of choices leading to one of the 186 endings can feel incredibly overwhelming at times.
One of the biggest gripes I have with Supermassive’s games, though, is that while the visuals and motion capture is genuinely impressive, the facial animations…are not. Unfortunately, that trend continues here. The facial animations take on an extremely weird uncanny valley effect. Expressions tend to come off as too wide and massive, which ends up being unintentionally funny.
At the time of this writing, I am currently about halfway through the game’s story. The game will include multiplayer, where friends can help you make the choices throughout the game. Sadly, this mode wasn’t available at the time of this review. It’ll become available for free on July 8th.
It’s a shame it wasn’t out for this review because I would absolutely LOVE to play this with a group of friends. The Quarry is such a fun experience solo. The story grabs you immediately with its atmosphere and characters. The gameplay, while standard for Supermassive, is still a total blast.
Experiencing it on your own (or in local multiplayer) is fun…but to play together with a group of friends online sounds like an awesome time.