Friday the 13th is a multiplayer game released this year whose primary focus was on allowing you to play either as the infamous Jason Voorhees of the horror franchise or one of the oblivious and stereotypical counselors attending the cursed summer camp at Crystal Lake. The concept of having an asymmetrical, competitive and cooperative multiplayer game is perfect for the Friday the 13th franchise, so this type of game has been a long time coming.
This is not the first Friday the 13th game out there, since we also had one during the 80s, though that one was given primarily poor reviews. But this is the first proper, multiplayer focused Friday the 13th game released on consoles and it does a very good job with the idea of being the mother-loving undead slasher that tries to find and eliminate his victims in the most gruesome (and entertaining!) ways possible.
The game was developed via fan donations, with Backerkit and Kickstarter being the primary forces behind this game, making it the 124th most successful crowdfunded project of all time. Creating this type of game was something that a lot of people, both the public and the game developers, have been expecting for quite a while, so seeing this released after so many times is very refreshing, that’s for sure.
The game does come with some nice gameplay mechanics, and it manages to impress players with its outstanding focus on creating a deep, yet endlessly thrilling experience. When you play Friday the 13th, you always feel the adrenaline rushing through your veins, especially when the music kicks in and you hear the door being chopped into splinters. It’s one of the most challenging games that you can go through, especially since the sheer concept is focused on staying alive regardless of the situation.
Despite that, it is less of a survival game and more of a multiplayer puzzle-solver. Though you separate from your fellow counselors almost immediately at the start, the easiest way to make it out of the area is to do all you can to stay together and reach the end of the match while still being alive. It’s not going to be easy to get into the game, since the player base that is still online right now is pretty good at the game, and dedicated players have already reached the highest of levels. Most are not afraid to ditch you in the woods as a quick snack for the slasher while they make their run for the vehicles.
The most interesting aspects of the game shine when you are alone in a cabin, searching and scrounging for any survival tools there can be, though at the start these pickings can be slim. Suddenly, the soundtrack changes and your character begins to panic. What’s worse is when you see other counselors springing out of cabin windows to escape a hulking mass of dead flesh topped off with either a hockey mask or an even more horrifying burlap sack. With all the players heading for the hills, you get caught in the crosshairs of the one player who just loves to search-and-destroy the others. With some luck, you may have a firecracker, or a pocketknife. If not, you are forced to button mash until Jason inevitably takes you apart one way or the other in a heartless cut scene which is aimed only to please the player controlling the killer. If you are a decent player, or better yet, Jason is a bit slower then you make your way to a vehicle and the exit. With some extra waiting and hiding you can call in the cops and make a mad-dash for their open arms (and free fire for Jason), or perhaps get reincarnated as the horror icon’s enemy, Tommy Jarvis.
What the developers got right is the rush and the challenging experience of going around the map as you try to get items and maybe win the game. Playing as Jason is a ton of fun, and each time you can find creative new ways to kill your opponents. Dead by Daylight is a great example of a similar game that does that, but knowing the Friday the 13th movies and Jason does add a lot more depth and fun to the game. Especially to horror-hounds and film freaks alike.
Keep in mind that aside from the overall unfriendly and unsupportive community, the game also has a steep learning curve. It can take a while to get going on here, even if the mechanics are rather easy to understand and a lot of fun as a whole. The game takes a surprising amount of strategy, or you will be forced to watch your character take a turn for the worse in the woods of Camp Crystal Lake.
But the problem here is the community. A lot of people are toxic here, and the community tends to leave newbies on their own. You won’t get any help in case you are unable to play the game at the level that your teammates want. This leads to a lot of trolling, which is not exactly the type of thing you want from a hugely anticipated game like this one is.
There is a decent amount of gore in the game, and the general feel is all-adult. But a lot of kids are still playing the game, which is rather bizarre and definitely not something that the developer anticipated. Though it is hardly a problem for them.
The concept for this game isn’t exactly revolutionary, but is enjoyable. The idea of having a very powerful killer and people that work together to eliminate him is extremely interesting and fun. However, it’s the execution that lacks in Friday the 13th, but even so, the game is really good at what it does here. It manages to bring in that sense of urgency each time you play. You always want to reach the end of the game without dying, and that obviously brings in that own sense of rush and tons of challenging situations. It’s certainly one of the ways that Friday the 13th manages to stand out over Dead by Daylight. It is something that can happen in real life, and the struggle of staying alive is something you will love in the game.
There’s also that itch of having to play more and more times to get good. The gameplay is so rewarding and exciting if you can find the right partners. People don’t like the fact that teammates are not cooperating, so many times it’s not Jason against a team of potential victims, it’s everyone for himself. That can lead to many situations when the killer may win.
The developers wanted to release this game fast, so when it did arrive on Steam and consoles, it had a ton of bugs. People dropped out of the game for no reason, some of them had VAC bans on Steam and so on. There was also a time when there were some game-breaking bugs, even though those were solved. Patch updates are prevalent and released regularly, though sometimes it appears it is like putting tape on the holes of the bottom of a sinking boat.
At the time of this writing, Friday the 13th still has a lot to prove, and with Halloween around the corner, there are some interesting avenues that can be taken. Yet there are still some things that the community would want to be solved, leaving the forums filled with players that feel like their complaints are falling on the dev’s deaf ears.
For example, the game is $40, or even more if you live in Europe. That makes it extremely expensive when its primary competitor is around $20 or less. Sure, the licensing costs may add to the overall price, but still, you have a similar concept at half the price with Dead by Daylight. And then there’s the fact that the developers are already pushing out DLC announcements when the game needs a lot of bug repairs and stability updates. That being said, players enjoy this game, and it would be a lot better if the developers would focus on the core gameplay and overall bug fixes instead of adding more paid content that could potentially bring in even more problems. At the end of the day, the game is a fun flashback to the 80s and a refreshing take on survival horror games. It’s been a while that we have seen a film-related game find its way to the top-spot, and a franchise such as Friday the 13th is the perfect pick for a slasher-centered game. What would save it and maybe even bring in more players would be a better focus on bug fixes and adding more free content. Whether that will arrive or not, we will have to wait and see.