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I grew up on the Friday the 13th franchise. I still remember the first time I (an innocent kid at the time) first stumbled upon the movies. It was late at night, and I was watching cable tv… and came across “MonsterVision” with Joe Bob Briggs (a series that aired late at night and would play classic horror and slasher movies). I was hooked from that moment. Does this game deliver the same kind of addiction and enjoyment that this enduring franchise has?
First, let me just say that when this game was released it was overcome by glitches and bugs. I must say that while I played this game (which has been non-stop for a couple weeks now), I never ran into any problems while playing on my Xbox One. I would assume that it’s safe to say that those glitches are a thing of the past, and you shouldn’t base your judgment on whether or not you should buy this game based on those early reports.
This is a very straight forward game with little to no options of gameplay. Ordinarily I would say that’s a bad thing, but in this case it’s not. There’s no filler, they’re not giving you a cheap game that shines in one field and fails in the other. What you see is very much what you get. And what you get is a death-match game like no other.
The object of the game is simple… kill or be killed. You either play as a camp counselor in the universe of Friday the 13th or play as Jason Voorhees himself.
While playing as a counselor, you must survive by any means necessary. You can either wait out the twenty minutes (the length of each match) without dying, or you can complete some of the objectives in order to escape. Objectives include: Calling the local police (after searching for the necessary part to fix the phone, you must then use the phone without being detected or killed. If done properly, you then must stay alive until the police come… oh, and you must also meet the police at the end of the street… which can often be a problem since Jason knows exactly where that spot is and can spawn there almost instantly), you can also fix the cars or boat on each map to ride off into the sunset with (this is not an easy route, especially since each part (keys, fuel, battery) is scattered randomly throughout the map. And installing those parts is a whole other ball game, it takes time and patience… and Jason often reaches you before finishing your task), or… you can kill Jason… which is nearly impossible to do (I have never done it, nor have I ever seen it done).
Playing as Jason is a completely different game, and nearly just as fun. Killing the counselors is your only objective. You are given special abilities that help you obtain this goal. Now, I need to stress that when I first heard about this game over a year ago, I was very excited… then when I saw the first game-play that was released I was very disappointed to see that they gave Jason abilities such as fast-travel and warping across the map. At that time, I thought it would be more fun if he was only able to walk (or walk fast) around the map without the ability to warp… but I was wrong. After playing as Jason, I couldn’t see it any other way. Using those abilities is limited by a time limit (meaning, if you use it once… you must wait until it powers up before using it again). Jason’s powers include: Morph (Jason fast travels on the map), Rage (Allows him to burst through walls and closed doors with ease), Sense (Jason can visually detect his victim’s whereabouts within his proximity), Shift (Jason will move quickly in short distances), and Stalk (Jason mutes the danger theme the camp counselors hear when he’s nearby). At first sight, such abilities might seem unfair… but they work. Jason does have the upper hand in this game, and that’s just as it should be.
The counselors are also given some abilities. Nothing supernatural of course, but basic perks that can help against Jason’s reign of terror. In order to access those counselor perks, you must spend points in order to randomly buy them. The perks include: Medic (better healing), My Dad’s a Cop (reduces the time it takes for law enforcement to come), Lone Wolf (More resistant to fear while alone), and many others. Personally, I prefer to play as a counselor over Jason. There’s just something about the feeling you get when you are submersed into this franchise, you truly feel like a character in one of the movies. Running around while terrified and wearing skimpy clothing is exactly what I wanted out of this game.
This game has surpassed my expectations in almost every way, and has rejuvenated my love for this genre and for modern gaming. How could I not rate it a 5-out-of-5? Well, they’re already trying to improve gameplay as I’m trying this review. Simply adding single-player would have been enough for me to score this game a perfect score. That is honestly the main gripe I have about this game, that there’s no bot (AI) option. It’s not a big problem now, but imagine in a year or so when this game isn’t as popular. If it can sometimes take 5 minutes to find a match NOW, imagine how hard it’s going to be in a year. Adding bots to the game will give it longevity, and it’ll guarantee that I’ll be playing for years to come. Plus, it’s a nice way to get to know the game and gameplay before going face to face with some of the online gaming community.
The bottom line, it’s an easy 4.5 out of 5. A nearly perfect game that is as addictive as the franchise itself.
*on a side note, this game can open so many doors. I can already imagine other horror franchises following this path. Leatherface: Taking place in the hot south, you play as Leatherface trying to chainsaw your opponents before they escape. Scream: As Ghostface, you can switch back and forth between the two killers in order to properly sneak up on your opponent. Maybe they can include some Clue elements into the game where you must figure out who your killer is before the time runs out? Freddy: This is an obvious one, wait for the teenagers to fall asleep and then attack in creative ways. Chucky: Try to enter the body of one of your opponents. Michael Myers: Very much like Friday the 13th The Game, but just with the iconic musical score that John Carpenter gave us. The Thing: Survive the unknown all while surviving the harsh arctic weather. The possibilities are endless.
4.5 out of 5