The Quarry – Zero punctuation


The Quarry - Zero punctuation

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Oh boy, another game from Supermassive “The eternal counterpoint to the aphorism ‘practice makes perfect'” Games. Between Until Dawn and the Dark Pictures Anthology, Supermassive has made great strides in the medium of choosing its own adventure books, through the bold innovative technique of including the motion-captured faces of the cheapest celebrities to ever set up a cameo account. Her new game, The Quarry, is her most ambitious ‘choose your own adventure book’ yet, starring three well-known celebrities. Admittedly with a combined screen time of around half an hour, but I suppose after the developers cornered them at a convention they only had a limited amount of time before the bodyguards smashed down the bathroom door. I vaguely remember enjoying Until Dawn, I mean, for all that branching path the storytelling is meant to offer, it had all the replay value of a traumatic leg amputation, but the over-the-top horror and awfulness of the characters lent it a certain slasher B – movie charm. I found Dark Pricktease Endoscopy to be one complete waste of time after another, so perhaps understandably now Supermassive went back to what worked and made Until Dawn 2: This Time It’s In A Haunted Quarry.

Because it’s pretty much the same damn storyline: A bunch of teenagers, played by unemployed 27-year-olds, come to a secluded house to party, there’s an excruciatingly long preparation time, and then monsters in the woods start to get them. The only difference is that it’s set at a summer camp, and that just means it took a break from copying and pasting until dawn to paste Friday the 13th in instead. I say this for Supermassive Games, they are world class experts at creating entire casts of characters that I immediately and completely despise. They should do a side job to do war propaganda. If they did one of those games with a bunch of Russian military officers, I’d join the Ukrainian Defense Force before you can say Pierre Kirillovich Bezukhov. A lot of that comes from animation. The motion capture faces are still awkward, as Haunted Quarry is, of course, synonymous with Uncanny Valley. Something is wrong with everyone’s mouths and teeth, like they were enlarged in post-production or something. In particular, the standard character “sexy girl” looks like she’s trying to talk through a bagel that’s been hot glued to her face.

But the dialogue makes me hate them all too. Everyone has a bad case when it comes to verbally explaining their personalities to each other. “Why are you always so cheerful?” “Why are you always joking?” Those were jokes, right? Damn news for me. I couldn’t decipher them through your private language of arrogant snorts and constant unnecessarily rude taunts. Basically, any two-way dialogue choice boils down to “being a complete idiot” or “being a partial idiot,” and even choosing strictly the second option still felt like everyone was trying to to break the abomination’s speed record. “Okay, I hated you after six words of dialogue, let’s see who can top that. Whoa, hold the phone, the muscular jock is wearing a baseball cap backwards. He wins. He got a clear.” So I hated them for how they looked and what they said, then they hit the triple by making me hate them for what they did too. The plot begins with the jock dude deliberately sabotaging everyone’s ride home so he can make another attempt to get his leg over the sexy girl. And then, of course, everyone decides to have a loud party because they’re teenagers in a slasher movie and they only have three drives: throw a loud party, strip down to their underwear, or stand sobbing in front of something they can easily get nailed to .

But let’s leave my other story complaints for after the spoiler alert. Made some gameplay refinements. The game no longer tracks each character’s stats, I guess they realized that no one thought for a second that that would be any less pointless than tracking their number of nostrils. And now there’s a life system, if someone dies and you have a bizarre personality aberration that means you didn’t want them to die, you can spend a lifetime reversing a decision or two and trying to save them. Which I think is a positive addition because once again you have absolutely no hope of guessing the outcome of your decisions. You’ll choose not to get a box of firecrackers in chapter two because you can’t know that you’ll need them to fight the venus rooster at a certain point in chapter nine. Aside from that, yes it’s Until Dawn again, choose your own adventure format, fast paced events, terrifying gooey third person movement, a smug weird narrator who interrupts the action every now and then to remind you to think carefully about your next completely random decision. And like all Supermassive predecessors, you choose your own adventure books, if the intent is to make me feel like I’m watching a movie, I’d think it was a very poorly edited one.

It’s always painfully obvious when alternate dialogue has been thrown in, as there will be an awkward pause and someone’s emotional state will mysteriously revolve around a dime. The geography of each scene is very poorly established. Characters have an odd habit of teleporting in and out of space between cuts. We fight a monster and then oh no the monster is attacking Lance Henriksen now and I’m wondering when the hell did Lance Henriksen get here? Should I glean that from the general air of slightly improved acting talent in the atmosphere? So before we get to some big plot spoilers, I’d just like to say that Supermassive’s choppy charm of Choose Your Own Adventure Books is seriously wearing off, and a good percentage of the dialogue scenes were so painful to watch that I could just get through them I did fake raised eyebrows glued to the screen so I could pretend everyone was, ironically, just a hateful idiot. Alright, spoiler time. So, like I said, monsters show up in the woods, and crazy redneck locals show up too. And the game tries so damn hard to make us believe that the crazy redneck locals are bad guys, and I didn’t believe it for a second.

From the start I assumed they were there to hunt the monsters and try to protect the teenagers but were a bit stubborn about it. I mean Until Dawn had exactly the same twist. But The Quarry tries desperately to keep up the pretense forever. “Oh no! You’re trapped and here comes a crazy redneck with a knife! Quickly press the button to throw a rock at their head.” No. I’m not going to press the button. Because I think he comes over to free me from the trap “You don’t know that! He’s getting closer! Better push the button!” look like crazy rednecks you know you only feed into the persecution complex of conservative america honestly I have more prejudice towards that one sexy girl character with the weird mouth because it worries me if I take my eyes off her for a second If you turn away, she will start biting the heads off baby squirrels. “Too late! The redneck is here! Last chance!” Oh, the timer’s up. Now what, game. “Uh. Ah. Ah. Oh, your character broke free and ran away. The lucky ones!” For goodness sake. Why can’t we ever just do what makes sense? “Then it’d be game over in two minutes, Yahtz.” Works for me, The Quarry! You walked right in, didn’t you? Press X to avoid a verbal trap.

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