Game Preview: The Quarry (PC)

Game Preview: The Quarry (PC)

Techday’s Darren Price has been previewing Supermassive Games’ upcoming game, The Quarry.

Horror games these days seem to be the only holdout for Resident Evil and any number of similarly inspired zombie titles out there.

Sure, Resident Evil games have their shocking moments, but it’s mostly a little gore, some puzzles, and some action. Same with Dying Light and Days Gone, the horror is pushed aside for the action-adventure element. None of them manage to get under your skin. These games won’t give you the creeps or make you want to turn on the hallway light instead of feeling your way to your room at night.

The same cannot be said for Supermassive Games’ crop of narrative horror games. The British developer has taken what is an evolution of the point-and-click adventure games of the past and added photo-realistic characters based on the motion-captured performances of renowned film and television actors. With movie scripts and recognizable faces, the games from the developers offer players quite a unique and immersive experience.

When I first heard about The Quarry and that 2K Games was going to publish it, I was a little stumped. We’re still in the midst of Supermassive’s macabre series of similar games, The Dark Pictures Anthology, with the last part of the much-discussed first season, The Devil in Me, yet to be released.

Playing The Quarry a bit, I started to understand why the game got its own release instead of just being part of The Dark Pictures Anthology. While The Dark Pictures games Man of Medan, Little Hope, and House of Ashes share gameplay very similar to The Quarry, they are styled more like episodes of a ghoulish TV show. The Quarry, on the other hand, like 2015’s PlayStation 4 exclusive Until Dawn, is more of an ’80s-style teen horror movie.

The premise of The Quarry is akin to any number of teen horror movies, a setup that is almost cliche in its infancy. It’s the end of summer, the last day of Hacketts Quarry summer camp. After seeing off the kids, the nine camp counselors decide to stay one more night and throw an epic bonfire party before leaving the next morning. What could go wrong?

The game preview only gave me a brief look at The Quarry. The edited scenes spent quite a bit of time allowing me to get to know the leads. As with Until Dawn, the game wants players to become attached to the game’s protagonists as the grim events unfold.

The game follows the familiar style of Supermassive’s narrative horror games. Players switch between controlling each of a group of characters, making decisions that could mean the difference between life and death. Each game is different, depending on the choices made. Players are responsible for the actions of the characters, not only with the environment but also with the interactions between them. A flippant comment can offend, or a bad lie can lead to mistrust, which could have consequences later in the game.

Supermassive has gone to great lengths to use familiar actors and a photorealistic visual style for the game. Advances in technology have begun to push CGI beyond the dreaded “uncanny valley.” The characters, especially the eyes, convey realistic expressions that make it easy to immerse yourself in the game. But it’s not just the character models that impressed me.

The preview allowed me to explore the area around the quarry which is full of little details that suggest something sinister is afoot. These photorealistic outdoor environments have been meticulously designed with expertly employed cinematic lighting. Even the character’s walking animations, which were a weak point in The Dark Pictures Anthology games, appear to have been improved for The Quarry.

Overall, The Quarry seems to capture the look and feel of the ’80s teen horror movies I grew up with. Whether this nostalgia resonates in the same way with younger gamers remains to be seen, but the game, as a proper interactive horror title, should still be compelling when it launches on June 10.

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