Friday the 13th ReviewPrice:
PC, PS4, Xbox One
I hear the whimpering as I enter the building.
She's right to whimper. I'm Jason Voorhees, and I'm here with violence in mind. This late in the game, I'm also in a permanent state of rage that lets me shatter doors in front of me. I explode into the small cramped living area of a hut made for the many summer-camp children and the camp counsellors that look after them.
There are no kids here now, and there's a pretty severe deficit of counsellors too after I crashed the party 15 minutes ago and splattered most of the camp's staff across the walls, my axe hacking through body parts and Jason's inhuman strength making short work of the rest.
The last counsellor, Hideo_Kojima — probably no relation — is in the hut somewhere. Escape, usually possible by repairing one of the broken down cars or boats that litters the landscape, is no longer possible. She's been hiding from me for the last 10 minutes, limping around after I caught her with a throwing knife earlier in my spree. I smash through the door to the bathroom, slamming my axe into a small wooden wardrobe.
No luck. The whimpers continue. My axe remains unblooded.
I slam through a nearby flimsy wall with a roar, coming from me this time, using the voice chat to add my own distinct flavour to Jason's rage. The whimpering is louder here. Coming from the bed in the corner. I go over to it and mash the E key, which is the contextual key for every single action in the game, and I'm treated to a cutscene where I chop the bed frame to pieces, blood spraying up as I also hack apart Kojima. The video is over-the-top, bloody, and a lot of fun, which accurately describes a lot of Friday the 13th.
Friday the 13th is an asymmetrical multiplayer horror game where eight players play the role of innocent teenage counsellors here for a good time not a long time. The ninth player, randomly selected, ensures that much is true, playing as one of the franchise's several different variations of Jason to viciously murder everyone.
If this all sounds kind of one note, it really is. Over the course of the 20-minute game counsellors will explore a variety of spooky summer camp locations searching for maps, weapons, radios, and mechanical parts to escape their predicament while Jason acts as the antagonist, stomping around the place bringing the fear. Much like in a horror movie, the odds are stacked against the plucky teenagers, and it's a rare game where you'll manage to escape and a legendary one when you manage to actually defeat Jason, something I've not seen happen yet in 10 to 15 hours of play.
The best most players can hope for each round is a crowning moment of glory before Jason punches your heart out of your chest, and the game is full of those moments. Jason can be stunned with baseball bats, shotguns, and flare guns, meaning you can crash into the fray to save a friend. Each of the counsellors you play as have different strengths too, so if you're not well suited for punching the masked monster, you can also make yourself useful by mending an escape boat or rewiring a radio to call in support from Jason's nemesis Tommy Jarvis.
It more resembles a hardcore stealth title than a horror, with what few weapons are afforded the survivors mostly ineffectual delaying tactics. XP is awarded at the end of each round for a variety of reasons, and levelling up gives you access to new characters. You can also use your XP to roll up perks, with you paying your cash and a random perk being spat out that can be used by all characters.
Many of the perks are useful: Speed Demon allows you to drive the escape car faster as long as you're the only one in it, while you can also get perks that provide benefits to a variety of different aspects of the game, from moving faster while crouching to stunning people with a baseball bat for longer. Because you roll perks randomly, it's hard to build a "perfect" set of perks, but this in addition to the different survivors means there will be at least some diversity in build, even if the perks offered are only slightly advantageous.