Friday the 13th Review

Written by Jake Tucker

June 1, 2017 | 12:52

Tags: #asymmetrical-multiplayer #friday-the-13th #horror #multiplayer

Companies: #gun-media

Friday the 13th Review

Playing as Jason is far simpler. Choose your favourite Jason — most of the movie's variations are in here, including 'Jason with bag on his head', 'Jason with a machete and hockey mask', and 'Jason with a damaged hockey mask and also a spear' — and get down to murdering. It's easy to get a sense of where the teenagers are, as when they make noise you're alerted. You can also use four powers to get them.

The powers are well thought out and unlock slowly as you play The genius in the moves is the way they're informed by horror movie tropes, and I'll break the powers down because, hey, outside of purchasable kill moves you can pick up for your own fun, there's not that much to Jason outside of the powers.

Friday the 13th Review

Two powers are based on the ability of movie monsters to appear anywhere. Your first power lets you teleport anywhere on the map, surprising people repairing boats and cars by showing up right ahead of them. The second power lets you vanish and zoom very quickly to somewhere nearby. This is great for chasing people or for throwing yourself in the way of a speeding car. Brilliantly, when you teleport from in front of someone, counsellors' screens distort and stutter, mimicking a poor tracking issue from an old VHS. These two powers make you feel powerful, with the third in particular being useful for surprising players who think they've got the drop on you.

The third is a sense function that allows you to find people in the environment, bathing teenagers hiding outside and occupied buildings in a red glow and thus allowing you to smash through doors to attack your hiding victims with a mighty cry of 'HEEEERE'S JASON.' (That's the other guy - Ed.)

Friday the 13th Review

The fourth power, the final one you achieve, feels like it comes too late in the game to be truly useful, but reduces all of the audio cues given to survivors when you get near, meaning you can surprise people while they're searching, repairing, or just not paying attention.

The fan-service for Friday the 13th fans here is remarkable, and most of Jason's signature kills are here, in addition to a few more grotesque additions. The kills are genuinely gory, with bodies twitching and jerking in a disquieting way.

There's a feeling here that the game has been made for cheap, however: Animations in the game are weak, and, though you won't notice it in game, during the movies that bookend each match you'll quickly tire of the weird-looking, waxy-faced students.

Friday the 13th Review

Also grating is the game's context-sensitive actions and lack of signposting. It's hard to know, at first, what you're supposed to be doing and whether anything you're doing is having an effect. Your game can very easily end in two or three minutes if you're not smart, and the game takes no steps to correct that. Simply put: If I hadn't met a friendly few people when I played for the first time, I'd be no closer now to understanding how I should spend my time in the game.

The context-sensitive actions make it hard to make things work, too. Pressing F could throw you out of an open window as Jason approaches with a machete, or it could make you search the drawers of an end-table near the window. You just never know.

Friday the 13th Review

Still, these annoyances are just that: annoyances. They don't affect what is, in honesty, a surprisingly funny game that, providing the online community hangs around, is probably the best multiplayer horror game we've got right now. It's not particularly scary, but it does a good job of putting you and your friends, digitally at least, into an 80s horror movie.

Technical note: On launch day I tried to play the game with Rick to try it on the live servers, but the servers were choked up and stone-cold dead for several hours. I haven't experienced any issues with it since, but you can't do a thing in the game when the servers are down, and while they appear stable now, take a look into them for yourself before you commit to a purchase, just in case.
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