Developer: Gunmedia, Illfonic
Release Date: 5/26/17
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC (played on PS4)
ESRB/PEGI: M/PEGI 18
Written by Dustin Ardouin / DaLoNeGunMeN
In May of 1980, a relatively low budget horror movie produced by Sean Cunningham and Paramount pictures started taking the nation, and teenagers wallets, by storm. 'Friday the 13th' was released that spring. On a $550,000 budget, the film’s final box office take was just shy of $60 million (59.8). Today that would be considered a HUGE success for an R rated horror film. In just a little under a year, the franchise 'officially’ started with the release of 'Friday the 13th Part II’ in April of 1981. On a bigger budget, this time around $1.25 million, it brought in only $21.7 million and was not as huge of a success as the first film was. But it did lay the framework for future titles, by bringing back to life and beginning the legend of one of the greatest slasher killers the silver screen has ever seen. Jason Voorhees.
Now, 37 years after big screen appearances (including a trip to hell, a trip to space, and a reboot) Jason is being brought back to our video game consoles (Yes, there was a NES version of Friday the 13th in 1989, but is widely accepted as one of the worst games ever made) with Friday the 13th: The Game'. Created by indie studios Gun Media and Illfonic its available now for PS4 and Xbox One via digital download and PC via Steam. It was released on May 26th, 2017 and has had a bit of a rough start...to say the least. Amidst all the glitches/bugs/delays both Gun Media and Illfonic have been hard at work hiring new personnel, and releasing patches/free content to try and gain some of its fan base back. Let’s take a look at 'Friday the 13th: The Game' and I will give you an honest fans opinion of on playing, from the perspective of someone who has been playing this game since launch, and was a backer during its Kickstarter, which launched in 2015 back when it was titled 'Summercamp Vol 1'.
First let’s start out by giving you a breakdown of what the game is, how it works, and what you need to do in order to escape, or kill them all to make Mommy proud. Then I'll give you my feelings and thoughts on the game, the issues its befallen, and discuss the future of this Guinness Record holding title. (Most Crowdfunded Video Game based on a Movie/Film)
'Friday the 13th' is an asymmetrical horror survival game, in a 7 versus 1 style, pitting 7 counselors against Jason Voorhees. Its semi-open world, consisting of 3 maps so far (Crystal Lake, Packaknack Lodge, and Higgins Haven, all places from the first 3 films) as well as smaller versions of the maps to provide a quicker, more intense style of playing. The goals are clear. If you're a counselor do what you can, and must, to survive. If you're Jason, you need to "Kill for mother" by searching out and destroying each of the 7 counselors in an enjoyably cruel game of cat and mouse. Both Jason and the counselors have a particular set of skills to aid them in their quests for survival, or murder, and must use the map and everything within to both of their advantages in order to win the match.
Now, let’s breakdown each side into further detail. As a counselor, you have your choice of 10 different survivors to make your way through Crystal Lake with. Each of them having their own set of stats (Strength, Stealth, Repair, Composure, Speed, Stamina, and of course, Luck) to aid them through their journey. Each counselor also has 3 slots for Perks, which use a Currency Point (CP) system to randomly roll perks ranging from Poor to Epic, all with varying percentages and stat modifiers to help them escape or defeat Jason. There are also searchable drawers and cabinets spread all through-out each map, inside the cabins or buildings, that offer the possibility of items to aid you as well. Health sprays, firecrackers, and pocket knives all serve a specific, and sometimes dual, function when trying to survive. For example, a pocket knife can be used to automatically escape Jason’s grasp, or it can be used to disable one of his traps (More on Jason’s traps later). Or you can use a Health Spray to heal yourself, or another counselor, after being hurt by Jason, or the environment. Maps and Walkie Talkies are also found inside the drawers and cabinets. Maps, obviously, provide you with a useable map of the location, and all the cabins, cars, and buildings contained within. Walkie-Talkies allow you to communicate with other counselors, using a Voice-proximity system that hasn’t been used in some time. You can only hear other counselors that are close-by unless both they, and yourself, have a Walkie Talkie. I personally LOVE this feature. It’s been since Halo 2 where I've seen it used this thoughtfully. And strategically, as Jason also has voice-proximity hearing. If you're being chased by Jason... be careful what you say. You may inadvertently say something like, "Go ahead and install the battery, Jason is chasing me." Which will probably trigger Jason to Morph to the car and kill your fellow counselors. OR it can afford you an interesting opportunity to get Jason off your back, by sending him to kill others, while saving yourself. This does happen a lot in Public Matches with random players. It’s annoying, but it happens. In real life, especially if I didn't know you, I might be like "Hey, Jason! They're fixing the car! You're to let them get away!" Even when there’s no one fixing the car. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Don't judge me.
Also available to the counselors on each map are either 2 Cars, or a Car and a Boat to escape. As well as a Phone Box which needs to be repaired in order to call the police. (The Fuse for the Phone Box is hidden inside one of them drawers we talked about earlier) When it’s a map with 2 Cars, one of them is a 4 seater (Blue), and the other will be a 2 seater (Yellow). However, when it’s a Car and a Boat, it’s the 4 seater Car and the Boat seats 2. In order to start the Car, or Boat, one needs the required items which are also found spread randomly through-out each map as well. For any car you need 3 items: Gas, Battery, and the Keys. The Gas and Battery are usually found in one of the buildings, in a corner on the floor somewhere. The Keys are hidden inside of the drawers or cabinets. In order to install the Battery or fill the gas tank you need to play a sort of skill check mini game. Though it goes without saying; the higher your characters Repair skill is, the easier the skill check. For the Boat you only need 2 items: The Propeller, and the Gas. The Gas is the same Gas for the car, but the Propeller is found randomly somewhere on the map just sitting on a table or nightstand. One of the hardest items in the game to find since it’s so hard to notice just lying there sometimes. And seriously, I just want to know. Who goes around the camp, draining gas, disconnecting batteries, and hiding keys on people? That’s just a whole new level of pranking they did in the 80's, I guess. Also, there are weapons scattered in plenty throughout each cabin. All with their own pros and cons, available to help you fight back in times of desperation or bravery. Baseball bats, monkey wrenches, lead pipes, flare guns, single use shotguns, bear traps, axes, fire pokers, tree branches, cooking pans, and machetes are all scattered about for use as a weapon against Jason. Some are more apt to stun him and earn you those precious seconds you need to escape and hide.
As Jason, you must stalk and kill your prey. One by one, until you have pleased Mother and are allowed to return home. To aid you as Jason, you have abilities as well; Morph, Stalk, Shift, and Sense. Each with their own cooldown timer, you begin the match with only Morph and steadily gain each ability one by one as their cooldown timer runs its course. Morph grants you the ability to teleport anywhere on the map. As Jason, your map shows you where each cabin, car (or boat), building and point of interest are on each level. I recommend paying attention to each icon, and getting yourself familiar with what is where at the start. Stalk gives you the ability to turn off all in game music (as when you are close to a counselor the dramatic music from the original movies starts playing, and getting faster/more intense the closer you are to a counselor) in order to be able to sneak up on an unsuspecting counselor, possibly repairing a car or healing themselves. Shift allows Jason to turn invisible, and move at an increased speed for a short duration, in order to catch up to a counselor, or car, that may have given them the slip. Sense allows Jason to see and hear at increased levels and renders a visual representation of noises, such as running, swimming, or failing a skill check while repairing. Also, if a counselor has a low enough composure and is scared by either the dark or coming across the body of another counselor that didn’t make it your Sense will highlight that player RED and visible across the map. If the counselor is hiding in a building, then that building will instead glow red when activating Jason Sense ability. Jason also spawns in with his own bear traps, as well as throwing knives to help him stalk and kill. You start with varying numbers of each, depending on which version of Jason you choose to play as (right now there are 6, including a 7th 'Savini Jason' available only to those who purchased it during the Kickstarter) with the throwing knives being able to be replenished in different spots on the map, usually stuck into a building or a light post. Jason’s traps cannot be replenished. What you start with is what you get that round, so try and strategize your positions around places that counselors need to stand. Such as repair spots, escape windows, or car parts laying on the ground after killing a counselor. When one of these traps is sprung, an auditory cue is given to Jason affording him an opportunity to catch its captor. IF a counselor, however has a pocket knife, they can crouch and disable one of Jason’s traps, with no auditory cue given. (Pocket Knives are OP) Each version of Jason also has a number of "Grab Kills" each can perform which are specific to that Jason and his weapon, all available through the same CP system that the counselors Perks are attained. And each map has a number of environmental kills one can perform as Jason. My favorites being either the fireplace kill, or the bird bath (Find them and try them out, you'll dig it).
Aside from that, The matches end in one of 3 scenarios:
1. All counselors have been killed, or have escaped.
2. The 20 minute match timer has concluded.
3. And the most unlikely of scenarios, the counselors have killed Jason. (Yes, it’s possible. Just difficult)
I myself, being a huge Jason fan, LOVE this game. I may be a little biased, but I expect a lot of games sometimes. Especially ones I myself find spending my hard earned money on before they're even released. And even with all the glitches and bugs that have befallen this incredible game, I still play it almost daily. Its a fun change of pace from the normal multiplayer experience of team style killing. The developers are some of the most loyal and vocal developers on social media always trying their best to answer any fan questions and concerns, as well as letting us know whats going on with them and the game. They also play 'Friday the 13th' with their fans on Twitch A LOT, across all 3 major platforms (PS4, XB1, PC/Steam) and answer questions and chat with gamers the entire time. It was created with the Unreal 4 Engine, so the graphics are pretty solid. The gameplay is just as solid and fluid. The diversity of counselors allowing for different types of gameplay is also nice. You can be the 'nerd' with a high Repair to fix the Car faster, or the 'Jock' with a high Strength to stun Jason easier. Or the 'Athlete' and be able to run fast. Or just walk around in style as Chad, in your tennis sweater, or tiger striped Speedo. Depending on your mood. The kills range from gruesome, to downright terrifying. Some of them even comical in ways. The remaining glitches aren't very apparent, until they are. Sometimes cars flip, Jason's moonwalk away, or you get stuck somewhere on some object. But with monthly patches, Gun Media and Illfonic are hard pressed to give up on a game with so much potential. If you haven't tried it out yet, or this is your first impression of 'Friday the 13th: The Game', I suggest watching it be streamed on Twitch, or Share-Playing on PS4 with a friend who does have it. You'll be surprised at how fun and addicting it can be. Especially if you're playing with friends. Overall, Id give it a 9 out of 10. Losing a half point only due to the bugs/glitches and the match hosting issues. But with Dedicated Servers on the horizon and monthly patches incoming, along with DLC and morecontent than Jason can shake his machete at, it will quickly be a 10 out of 10 game for me.
"You can't stop the Chad!"
FINAL SCORE: 9