When you combine the original music composer, one of the more iconic Jason actors, horror legend Tom Savini, the original costumes and a group of people who are passionate about the Friday The 13th franchise together to make a video game; you would think that the game would be perfection… But what we got was a good frame work for an idea for a better game that was restricted by keeping it to one horror franchise only.
Game Name: Friday The 13th
Platform(s): Xbox One; PlayStation 4 & PC (Reviewed)
Publisher(s): Gun Media
Release Date: May 26, 2017 (Digital) / October 13, 2017 (Physical)
Price: $39.99 (North America) / $59.95 (Australia)
In terms of story, Friday The 13th doesn’t really have any. You don’t get to replay through the movies as any of the iconic characters, you don’t get insight into Jason and how he stalks his prey and his motivation as to why he does what he does. Instead what we are treated to is the same game mode played out over a few locations that you will recognize from the movies. As the Camp Chancellors you have to repair a car and escape from Jason, and as Jason it’s your job to make sure everyone dies. That’s it. There is nothing more to Friday The 13th than that: Escape or die.
As I said above, you have two different styles of game play depending on the character you are randomly assigned during the match ups. While you do get to choose the base of your Camp Chancellors and then change their outfits, you don’t get much more customization outside of adding perks which assign a positive and negative trait to your character. Once in the game, you have the options of hiding in cupboards, under beds and other places while hunting down weapons and key components for the car that you need to repair. The interface with the Chancellors is pretty simple, using the E key to interact with objects and other things such as laying traps for Jason to hopefully limp into. As you do these options, you will see a small fear meter fill as you are chased down or when Jason is somewhere nearby; and once it fills, your character is going to have a huge freak out for a moment and then move slower than a snail going uphill in a windstorm.
On the opposite side of things; as Jason is where the game gets fun. Since Jason is an unstoppable killing machine that can appear out of nowhere, you need powers to show that. You get a small distance warp, a longer distance teleport that can take you to some other locations on the map in a nice looking whoosh effect, you get the ability to carry people around to go for one of the many amazing kills you can do, and also the strength to smash through doors, walls and other objects. This is topped off by the ability to choose from one of the different Jason looks from Friday The 13th Parts 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 as well as a “Retro Jason” from the NES game, a “Bloody Jason” skin pack that adds a blood splatter to the current collection Jasons, and horror legend Tom Savini’s own Jason created especially for the game. Like the Chancellors, each Jason has it’s own strengths and weaknesses based around that movie.
Graphically Friday The 13th is pretty damn good looking. The camps are rendered really well with smoke and fog effects filtering through the night while not being overly distracting. Nothing looks too flat from a distance or up close. Jason himself looks amazing, with each different version of Jason looking extremely faithful to it’s specific movie thanks to motion capture using Jason himself, Kane Hodder, and the authentic costumes directly from the movie archives themselves. Extra props go to the special Tom Savini Jason and the NES Retro Jason. However, on the other side, the generic Chancellors look just that… Generic. While they do have different actual looks, there is nothing to make them actually emote, which sucks since one of the big things about the game mechanics is that they are scared. Speaking of animations, the kills done by Jason in Friday The 13th are a real highlight here; given that all of them are motion captured by Kane Hodder as mentioned before.
Sound in Friday The 13th is pretty meh to be honest. Outside of hearing the usual main theme for the Friday The 13th movies when Jason is around there isn’t much sound in the game. Sure you get some voice lines from the Chancellors in some situations but other than that it’s a very silent game. However I will give special mention to the NES Retro Jason again as it does come with a chip tune version of the main theme.
At the end of the day with all the pieces of Friday The 13th being so perfect, why is this game such a bore? Well to be honest the servers are a place to start. As an Australian, I’m used to hitting ping of 200ms or higher since I’m in the butthole of the world with internet that makes dial up look fast; but the servers for Friday The 13th put me at 600ms and worse. Another thing that works against the game is that you quickly run out of things to do as both Jason and the Chancellors since you do the same thing over and over again on a small selection of maps. Friday The 13th is the best framework for a slasher video game that is restricted by the license. If they changed the name, added more killers with different abilities like Freddy, Chucky, Leatherface, etc and the locations associated with their movies, then you’d be onto a smash hit. However working with what is presented, Friday The 13th quickly runs out of steam before the final kill.
Review Disclosure Statement: Friday the 13th was provided to us by Five Star Games on behalf of IllFonic for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
Jason dies again
Friday The 13th is a game of amazing frame work. For a game that revolves around the slasher killer and victim dynamic, it falls short due to just being about one killer and one movie franchise. If there were more slasher legends and more locations based on other film franchises, then you’d have a truly killer game; but at this time we just have another dud of a reboot.