by William Thompson
previewed on PC
Truth or Dare
There are some things that you fondly remember growing up. For me, one of those things was school camps and sitting outside in the evenings, roasting marshmallows by an open fire whilst telling stories to those seated around the fire. In spending more time with your friends outside of the classroom, you get to know them better – whether that is a good thing or not, I’m not sure.
The Quarry takes place not in a school camp, but a summer camp in the quaint location of Hackett’s Quarry and involves a group of older teens – camp counsellors - and their interactions with each other following the end of the camp. The preview code we received, only allowed us to play through a couple of shortish sections but gave us the opportunity to view some insights into the relationships of characters as well as a small glimpse of the mystery surrounding Hackett’s Quarry.
Where the wolves go, the ravens follow
Decision-making for dialogue is a large feature of the game, similar to games such as Life is Strange and Supermassive’ s own Until Dawn, allowing players to flesh out the characters as they see fit. Choices made will affect the attitude of other characters towards your currently controlled character, but in the small preview we really didn’t get to see how this pans out in the long run. However, within the couple of play throughs that had us selecting different options, I did notice that some of your actions can affect an outcome. In a section where Ryan sets out in search of Nick after he has been attacked by some sort of creature, he has the option to take short cuts or stick to the path. Taking the short cuts - assuming you complete all the quick-time events perfectly – let’s players see an alternate scene than had they taken the safer option.
Although The Quarry is largely focused on the narrative and the choice of conversation paths, there are action sequences in the game. The quick-time events that require players to press a certain key at the optimal time are simple gameplay mechanics, allow the game to continue the interactive movie style theme. The basic nature of the action may not be for everyone, but it does allow the narrative to flow quite nicely.
Throughout the game, players will also come across clues to the mystery of Hackett’s Quarry. These clues give players a reason to explore areas that they may not normally visit, and with the teenagers completing the sleuthing, gives the game somewhat of a live-action Scooby Doo atmosphere. The atmosphere is perfectly set by the spooky locations around Hackett’s Quarry. The developers have placed great detail into each of the locations, and so searching for clues never feels like a chore. The visuals are outstanding, with facial expressions for our group of camp counsellors immersing the player into the story and the feelings of the characters. The shadows and lighting are particularly outstanding, setting the tone for the darker themes present within the game.
The fully voiced dialogue adds to the immersive nature of the narrative. With some reasonably well-known actors voicing the major characters, this was never going to be in doubt, but from our reasonably short time with The Quarry, they’ve nailed it. The characters have a personality of their own that shows through with the voice acting. Kaitlyn, for instance can clearly get frustrated with the somewhat immature jibes between Nick and Jacob.
The short playtime of the preview code certainly left me wanting to delve deeper into the characters, their interactions with each other and the mysterious creature that has been roaming the woods around Hackett’s Quarry. The narrative around the mysterious creature, the locale and the young characters give The Quarry a teen horror vibe akin to Stranger Things. The slower pace of the game may not suit some gamers, but for those who like to be immersed in a game with a mysterious plot, then The Quarry looks the goods.
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