Friday the 13th: The Game (Slasher Summer) - Page 2
|Look what you did; poor Jason's hand is on fire!
Occasionally, you will get to play as Jason, with all that entails. Though you don't move very fast (some versions of Jason can run, depending on which movie he's from), you do have a few handy superpowers such as instant teleportation and powerful sensing abilities. You also have unlimited stamina--meaning that with patience, you can catch up to a counselor who runs from you--along with throwing knives and traps. If and when you catch a counselor in your grip, you can perform a series of deliciously awful kills that are either purchased or context-sensitive. (My favorite is punching people's heads off, a la Jason Takes Manhattan, or throwing them into a burning fireplace and stomping on them until they've burned to death.)
I'm not going to lie: playing as Jason is a blast. Maybe it shouldn't be so much fun to ruthlessly murder teenagers, but it absolutely is. Granted, some counselors will get a leg up on you from time to time, and some will escape, either through skill or dumb luck. Also, there are versions of Jason that are borderline useless (the Part VIII Jason is a chump), more frustrating than amusing. The good news is that mastering Jason takes no time at all, and there is an option in the main menu that allows you to increase your odds of being him. Also, take enough damage during the course of a match, and you'll unlock Rage Mode, which allows you to plow through doors and walls and refresh your powers more quickly. A raging Jason is neigh unbeatable.
Also worth noting are the RPG mechanics. The more you play, the more experience and currency you accrue. Experience unlocks new versions of Jason and the counselors, along with new outfits, while currency allows you to create perks for your counselors (such as starting every match with a pocket knife) or fancy new kills for Jason. Though some of these unlockables are worth your time and effort, most of them are fairly weak and meaningless. For example, there's not much benefit to a five percent reduction to damage taken when Jason can snap your neck in one swoop.
[GAMEPLAY: 8 - When you play as a counselor, it's an adrenaline-pumped survival horror which gives you a lot of options, and when you play as Jason, it's as fun as it should be. However, the RPG mechanics are underdeveloped and you'll quickly tire of rifling through drawers.]
|You won't get a better alignment anywhere else
The main goal for the designers of Friday the 13th: The Game is to make you feel like you're inside the movies, and in that respect, it's largely successful. The levels are lovingly crafted to look like sets from the films, and Jason himself feels exactly like the Jason you remember. However, it's all a bit limited. There are only three levels, all of which are camps on Crystal Lake and feel basically the same, and Tommy Jarvis notwithstanding, the counselors look like generic rip-offs of more memorable movie characters. More varied levels (off the top of my head, you could include the Alabama swamp from Part V and the cruise ship from Part VIII) and licensed versions of counselors like Shelly or other victim characters like Demon or Dr. Crews would go a long way towards improving the experience and extending its replayability.
Alas, there are other hurdles to overcome. Chief amongst those are server problems that were more severe at launch and continue to improve with each update, but they are still extant today. Waiting to get into a lobby can be a painful exercise in patience and stamina, and it doesn't always pay off. Often, you'll just wind up getting put into a lobby by yourself that never fills up, which is pointless. Most frustrating is when you're booted from the server mid-match, which forfeits all your experience points. I get that sometimes your connection speed drops or the party leader drops out, but the game shouldn't punish players by screwing them out of their experience.
The game is also a bit glitchy, with graphics that belong in the previous console generation. Some of this can be forgiven as this is an independently produced game, but it can't be ignored. And while the music is excellent, it gets painfully repetitive after only a match or two. Also, there aren't any real gameplay options. The closest you get is choosing your preference to play as a counselor or as Jason, but there aren't different types of matches or game modes to choose from or gameplay options to tweak, even for private lobbies. Add to that a lack of a single player campaign, and you have a game that only the most dedicated will play for more than an hour or two. It definitely doesn't feel like enough of a game to be worth forty bucks (or sixty for the physical disc).
[PRESENTATION: 4 - While the game deserves a ton of credit for lovingly recreating the feel of the movies, its substandard graphics, glitchy gameplay, server issues, and above all lack of variety are impossible to overlook.]
On one hand, Friday the 13th: The Game is fun, and it is overflowing with fan service. Regardless of whether you play as Jason or a counselor, the game delivers on its premise and is surprisingly well-balanced (which is to say, it is precisely as inbalanced as it should be). On the other hand, there isn't much to it, and it never feels worth the asking price. Frustrating server issues--along with substandard graphics, an abundance of glitches, an unrewarding progression system, and incredibly limited gameplay options available as of the writing of this review--make this feel like a case study in unrealized potential. Fans might get enough out of it to justify the purchase, especially if the long-promised single-player campaign gets released soon, but everyone else will probably find little to get excited about here.
TOTAL SCORE: 6.3
As it stands today, Friday the 13th: The Game makes for good fan service, but shallow gaming.
-e. magill 7/6/2017
|THE UNAPOLOGETIC GEEK'S