Game: Friday The 13th: The Game
Released By: Illfonic / Gun Media
Release Date: May 26. 2017
Retail Price: $39.99
The horror genre is a niche genre with perhaps not the biggest fan base - but one of the most dedicated. When it comes to horror video games, there are a few staple franchises (Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Outlast, etc) that are toted as the current and former go-to horror games, but it's a fan-funded game that brings a famous franchise to life in the virtual world that has changed the genre games as a whole. When Gun Media and Illfonic announced they would be creating a game around Friday the 13th, fans were ecstatic. After decades, one of the horror genres most iconic slasher villains would come to us in a new and exciting platform - but could it live up to the massive hype?
For starters, the game was purely fan-funded through Kickstarter and BackerKit really giving fans the ability to see this title come to life - offering various perks that ranged from multiple maps, a variety of skins and more importantly a diverse amount of kills. While the game earned more than one million dollars for the production of a title (which includes licensing features as well) the game became a reality and the excitement levels only continued to rise. When Friday the 13th: The Game was released in late May after a few small delays, the game had server issues that initially frustrated console gamers, but as someone who didn't experience the issues (too much at least) it was a game that from the moment you jump into, you feel the ambiance of a true slasher title.
The gameplay for Friday the 13th is comprised of an online multiplayer setup, with seven camp counselors to one Jason. For first impressions, you might assume that Jason would have a hard time finding and killing seven other players, but the balance is enough to have different results. Sometimes all counselors might die, in others there could be multiple avenues for escape. Other horror games don't seem to offer much in the multiplayer capacity - at least not usually more than a couple characters or partnership. The online function makes it the most realistic in terms of creating a horror vibe, with each person having their own idea. Some may want to group together, some may want to go through the match alone, but it's that choice that makes Friday the 13th unique to other games - the setup is the same but each match promises different results.
What I love most about the franchise, is the methods used to make things as authentically horror as possible. You have the option of being in the dark woods, cabins, barns, and houses to hide out in - something that the recent console release Dead By Daylight could take a note from. You could find yourself leaping through windows to avoid the masked killer, barricading doors, or even hiding out as he passes by in pursuit of someone else (been there multiple times.) To make things even more enjoyable, you have a few ways to survive the mayhem: repairing the phone to call police, working on a car to escape, driving a boat or even surviving the duration of the match (20 minutes per match.) This aids my statement about the creativity behind the game as in a real slasher movie all would be plausible escapes to attempt. As if that isn't enough to intrigue you, weapons and first aid sprays are scattered throughout a each map (flare gun, bat, machete, etc) to better your survival chances.
Playing as Jason is an exhilarating feeling (even though surviving the match as a counselor is more adrenaline inducing) with abilities that feel like horror tropes. For example, you can teleport anywhere on the map which wasn't something Jason did, but was something that felt like the case as a slasher villain could be anywhere. Killing him is ridiculously hard to pull off (rightfully so) but he can be stunned and injured to keep the extensive chase scenes going. As he approaches, the infamous music plays to cue his presence, which is needed for the counselors to have a fighting chance but also amps up the horror energy as if you were in a movie.
When the game came out, there were glitches and bugs that have been (and continue to be tweaked) where connection was slowed or people find loopholes to hide out (that lake glitch really irked a few Jasons) but for being a game without a major video game company backing it, I would say that they are truly minor surface issues in the active development of what I would consider to be my favorite horror video game since Left 4 Dead - and that's from a self proclaimed horror aficionado. Friday the 13th provides us with a third person perspective for Jason and the counsellors (another major plus in my book) and three ever constantly changing maps that keeps your from figuring everything out too quickly and countless chances for success or failure. Overall, the game has plenty of perks and I would love to see the company use the formula to bring other fan-favorite slashers to life in the gaming world - anyone else begging for an open world Scream game with Ghostface? Check out the all around entertaining game available now on Xbox One and the PS4, you surely won't regret the virtual horror it offers!
Overall Grade: 8/10
For the horror-based atmosphere, jump scares and massive range of gameplay possibilities, Friday the 13th earns itself a solid score with successes that other horror games and production companies should take cues from in the future. Keep in mind that it is probably most enjoyable for those die-hard horror fans and conversely, those who scare easily because not many games have gone the slasher route all that well.
Aedan's Final Thoughts:
- The game surpassed my hopeful expectations and feels like I could play it for years to come.
- The gameplay and mapping are wonderful additions to the concept and designs.
- I can't wait to see what additional DLC is in the works... and I'm entirely serious about hoping this can be a gateway game for more slasher franchises.