Friday the 13th: The Game is a third-person survival type game in which one player controls Jason and the remaining seven (or less) players control camp counsellors trying to survive the night. Developed by IllFonic and published by Gun Media, the game promises to be as close to the original as possible, by offering scares and gameplay through original 80s horror methods. The game released on the 26th May 2017 on Steam, Xbox and Playstation.
As promising as this game looked and sounded, it’s unfortunate to say my first impressions were not as good. There have been many games that rely on being only online multiplayer games, which in some cases may work, but in this case it did not. After searching and searching online for a game, I quickly decided to go into the game hub to find a game. Even after finding people that wanted to play the game, the servers were quick to be against me playing even more. After multiple disconnects and games that were just me observing other people play, I finally got into a game one hour after my first try. It’s safe to say that the game doesn’t offer any instructions nor tutorial, so you just have to figure it out as you go along. There is an image of the button layout that you can access from the pause screen, but this offers very little help when it comes to actually playing the game.
One thing I did notice while playing as a counsellor was just how good the ambience of the game was. It sets the tone extremely well despite having next to no set up at the beginning of each game. You still feel frightened for your life, and the music and trademark Jason sounds certainly make the player feel like they are involved with the fear of the situation.
The game itself doesn’t really offer much of a story, since it’s a multiplayer only title. Players are really all expected to have at least watched Friday the 13th, or have some background knowledge on the films. If you don’t, well the game is probably going to keep you occupied for 2 or 3 games before you get bored. If however you are a fan of the game or films, then you might enjoy this game for a little longer. More of the story elements can be found within some of the collectables in game, of which I will mention in the next section.
Gameplay and Progression
The gameplay, while extremely limited, is exactly what makes it fun. The fact that your stamina runs out so quickly only helps lend to the fear and intensity of the situation you’re in as a survivor. The amount of items you can find in the environment to fight back against Jason are high, which allows you to escape even direct contact with the feared killer himself. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the survival gameplay to me is the repair and escape route. On my 3rd game I had managed to knock out Jason using the rifle, which allowed me to take the fuel and propeller to the boat and fully repair it. Sadly with no instructions I had no idea how to actually make the boat move, and therefore died, but the experience of fixing the boat in such a dangerous and fast paced environment really helped add to the fear of the game. Plus I did help everyone else escape in the process, so it wasn’t all for nothing.
Another amazing aspect of the game is the collectables and badge system. Much like commendations in other games, the badges reward you for completing a certain task a certain number of times. An example being “Exit stage right” which is for jumping through a window a set amount of times, awarding you with the first level of that badge.The collectables, known as the Pamela Tapes, offer an insight into the story and help the player understand the game a little more.
Another key feature within this game is the progression and more importantly, the CP you get from leveling up and playing. This CP allows you to buy new types of murder choices for when you play as Jason, or new perks for when you’re playing as a counsellor. As you level up you gain access to all new counsellors, that each have their own unique characteriscs which can change how you play and survive. You’ll also unlock new costumes for these characters while leveling up too.
Graphics and Environment
The graphics themselves are pretty terrible. The character models, character rigs, animation, and just general textures are all poorly made. Jason has the best looking character model but honestly I’d say It appears all the budget for the characters just went into ensuring Jason looked nice. The animations are freaky at times due to eyes popping out of heads or Jasons executions somehow failing. I’ve seen people floating in mid air and bodies fly across the map. The game somehow managed to make frightening situations funny, and to be honest that shouldn’t be a good thing in a game like this, but humour goes a long way on a multiplayer only game, so maybe some mistakes aren’t as bad as others.
Environment wise there isn’t all that much that can be said. You’ve got trees, you’ve got water, and you’ve got buildings filled with things. A lot of the stuff that can be found in the environment is very copy and paste, so there aren’t actually that many unique things that can be found around the place once you have a closer look. Everything appears to be very basic, which is great if that’s what the developers were going for. Sadly it’s hard to tell where the nostalgia for the Camp Crystal Lake setting starts and the sheer laziness in development ends, since both are blended in perfectly together to make this map that isn’t good or bad, just a bit of both combined.
Soundtrack and Audio
The soundtrack and audio for any horror survival type games are one of the most important components to making a game feel right. Friday the 13th the game nails both of these on the head. The tension caused by Jason being near you in game is absolutely terrifying and made me panic a lot more than I should of. I’ve seen people screaming down their headset as they run around in circles not knowing what to do, and that outcome was purely because of the audio that is the classic Jason chchchch sound. The soundtrack in the menu is also pretty impressive and creates an uneasy tone for anyone who is waiting to join a game. If the rest of the game was nailed as perfectly as the audio in the game was, then it’s be a masterpiece. Sadly this wasn’t the case.
It’s extremely sad to say that a game that raised over $800,000 on Kickstarter turned out so poorly compared to what we were promised. They had a lot more money than their set goal, and yet still failed to provide a steady game with major replayability. The connectivity online, the bugs caused by the lack of polish with the mechanics, and the overall poor quality in the finish of the game all have to make people wonder why a game that raised so much money turned out so poorly. A prime example of things that were promised in the game that I haven’t seen once in my many matches played online is the “Movie Trailer” system that was promised in the Kickstarter. This “Movie Trailer” system was due to play at the end of every match, highlighting the best moments of every game in the style of the original 1980’s trailers. The idea of this was to create content and trailers that you could share with your friends and the community. Like I said though, this hasn’t appeared in game, and if I’d put money towards this game, I’d honestly feel cheated out of my money for the way it turned out. I can’t imagine how those $10,000 backers feel.
You can watch the official announcement trailer for the game below:
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- Great moment to moment gameplay
- Organic fear and tension
- Playing as Jason is a blast
- Fun homages to the franchise
- Bugs everywhere
- Some wonky animations
- Server and connection issues