By Nick Durham
After what felt like an eternity of waiting, the eagerly anticipated Friday the 13th: The Game has finally been unleashed upon the masses. Developed by Illfonic and published by Gun Media, Friday the 13th: The Game was originally being developed as an independent title called Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp before Gun Media managed to acquire the Friday the 13th license and have a successful Kickstarter campaign as well. After seeing numerous screenshots, test footage, and hearing tons upon tons of hype; does the game deliver the goods and manage to be as entertaining and visceral as we’ve all collectively hoped it would be? Well quite frankly, yes and no.
Played through a third person perspective, Friday the 13th: The Game is a survival horror, multiplayer scramble to hide, survive, and escape Camp Crystal Lake from our favorite hockey-mask wearing slasher. If playing as one of the camp counselors, it’s up to you to run and hide, and be resourceful as well. This ranges from setting traps for Jason, finding weapons to combat him (and run), repair the cabin phone to call the police, as well as repair a car and boat in order to escape. If you play as Jason however, your sole mission is to kill all the horny, dope smoking teenagers you come across. Jason has special abilities, including stalking, shifting (AKA, managing to appear out of nowhere), and sensing out where the counselors are hiding.
I will say first and foremost that after being able to spend enough time playing as both the various counselors (who thus far all seem to control and play the same) and as Jason Voorhees, I can honestly say that I’ve had more fun playing as the counselors believe it or not. Surviving and managing your resources is much more enjoyable than playing as Jason, which is a major disappointment. The first few times I played as him, I realized how much of an absolute fucking chore it can be in terms of the way Jason controls and stalks around. Maybe I need some more time with him to fully grasp it, but after a variety of sessions playing as him, I can safely say I’m not impressed.
Now as for the rest of Friday the 13th: The Game, it manages to be both pretty fun and insanely frustrating. I downloaded it at launch for my PS4, and saying it took forever to actually be able to get on to the servers and play a match is saying it lightly. This wasn’t much of a surprise considering video games are meant to be defective at launch it seems these days, but the fact that this continued for a while afterwards is almost inexcusable. Not to mention the fact the game itself is loaded with glitches, bugs, and lag time across the board. Although there is plenty of fan service thrown into this game (the various Jason looks, Thom Matthews as Tommy Jarvis, Kane Hodder providing motion capture work), too much of this game just feels flat out incomplete to justify laying down 40 fucking dollars for it.
Apparently eventually there is going to be a single player mode of Friday the 13th: The Game to be released at some point, which would be nice considering that the multiplayer-only aspect of the game thus far only has so much lasting appeal, and like I said, it isn’t really worth laying down 40 bucks for that alone. With that being said, maybe when that mode gets added, and maybe if some other aspects get tuned up, this game could be something really, really special. Until then, it sadly isn’t. Still, it has enough fun elements to be worth checking out, just don’t expect anything spectacular out of it.