The quarry begins on a full moon night. A couple of young Americans are driving through a forest while listening Moonlight by Ariana Grande. Max and Laura are lost and start arguing. They are far from suspecting the ordeal that awaits them: a lurking beast, haunted forests, a threatening local policeman, an enclosed hut with disturbing cellars …
Unlike the characters in this prologue, we had a small idea about the program, which is made by Supermassive Games. After Until Dawnthis year’s surprise success 2015, then the series Anthology of dark imageslaunched in 2019, the English studio takes up an already well-established formula: a narrative game that pays homage to horror movies and whose scenario adapts to the player’s choices.
The quarryavailable on June 10 on Xbox (One and Series), PlayStation (4 and 5) and PC consoles, however, is more ambitious in its length – the story lasts more than ten hours – and its complexity – the developers boast 186 different conclusions.
Welcome to the age of the beast
After the prologue, we take turns incarnating seven teenage instructors who spend their last night in a holiday camp. Two introverted nerds, a thoughtless sportsman, a dark handsome man, a seductive blonde, a precious intellectual and a strong woman … The character gallery refers to the archetypes of teenage filmpopularized in the 1980s.
The quarry takes the time to introduce the places and the characters. During the first three chapters, it is a question of whether to establish romances – from a unfortunately pre-determined list – and to identify the motives for each. Despite the surrounding tranquility, it is important to stay focused. Certain decisions or objects found during the exposure scenes, a priori trivial, may prove to be crucial in the home.
The surprise and the twists and turns in the situation that accompany the bloody transition of the evening may have aroused our excitement, they are not without flaws. The discovery of the being aroused in us more scorn than fear. But as it is de rigueur in some horror films, the wave of violence has the liberating effect that it breaks down stereotypes. Annoying and irresponsible in the beginning, the young people will have the opportunity to sharpen up and gradually gain depth … Provided that they stay alive long enough.
The dizziness of the possibilities
The variable geography scenario is the alpha and omega of this video game experience, which becomes more in-depth over time. No special dexterity is required on our part: only our flair counts to anticipate danger or learn from our mistakes.
If we spend a third of our time exploring disturbing places to flush out hidden objects or find other characters, the rest is much less interactive. Those who do not like to stare at a screen without doing anything risk getting bored: from time to time our reflexes are put to the test when we are asked to press a button for a short period of time, but generally it is simply a matter of choosing between two answers in exchange for a dialogue.
To be kind or not? Lying or being honest? Although the Manichaean frame is often legible, the boundaries are gradually blurred. The use of firearms requires e.g. Precautions: Unlike many video games that encourage shooting at sight, i The quarry putting a gun in the hands of a scared fool can have fatal consequences for his friends. But not using it at the right time can also cost a character his life.
Despite the lack of difficulty, only the most discerning and some lucky ones will complete all the goals in the first attempt. With five teens dying in excruciating pain, our record was not brilliant. Nor did we manage to complete the secondary missions aimed at ending the supernatural curse and eliminating the degenerate family.
Flirt, humor and chills
One question remains when the final credits fall: what is the point of the 186 possible paths when most players will only take one? Of the ten chapters we reviewed, one or two turned out to be softer and shorter than others. Something tells us that it is because we have borrowed the less powerful branches of the abundant story tree.
Finally, one of the satisfaction of the experience is the one with the virtual paths that we imagine during the games. It arouses our curiosity and makes us return to previous chapters – or watch other players try it, on YouTube or Twitch.
But all in all, it’s the unique atmosphere that finally convinced us to start a game again. Despite the frustration of not being able to pass the already seen sequences, the mixture of flirtation, humor and horror always hits the target.
Supermassive Games was inspired by 1980s-1990s movies (Howls, evil death Where Scream), which does not hide the fact that they are entertainment. In contrast to the courage of cerebral and aesthetic horror that makes us sweat profusely (Resident Evil VII, The medium), the best way to enjoy The quarry is to play it sunk on a couch while eating popcorn, if possible with a joking accomplice to pass the controller to.
- flirtation, humor and horror, which go hand in hand;
- a cast of impeccable actors;
- a beautiful declaration of love for the genre cinema.
We liked less:
- certain choices that are too binary;
- creature design;
- some chapters are much less exciting than others.
It’s more for you if:
- you’re looking for pure entertainment to replace your favorite thriller series;
- you like horror movies from the last century (preferably in their original version);
- you wonder what a sequel would look like Life is strange imagined by Wes Craven or Joe Dante.
It is not for you if:
- you fall asleep as soon as the intermediate sequences are too long;
- high school students annoy you;
- you are afraid of ghosts, big animals, hunters who shoot at anything that moves, and blood that flows with hectoliters;
- you are under 18 (this is not said by us, but by the European Video Game Classification System).
Three uninjured teens + one “cursed” out of five instructors killed.