Just kill me already.
I have been following Friday the 13th: The Game since before it was even Friday the 13th. I thought it was a great concept that would be a blast with friends, all trying to survive the night by escaping from the psychotic killer. Then, it turned into camp counselors trying to get away from the infamous Jason Voorhees, and all of a sudden it was even more interesting. Well, I can safely say that it is still a pretty interesting concept, but due to technical issues, matchmaking hiccups, and a clunky launch, this game is three weeks out and still not working for me.
Let’s start off with what the game actually is. This is an online co-op/versus game that has players taking control of counselors while one player takes on the role of Jason. The goal for the camp counselors is to escape by meeting certain requirements, like repairing a phone so they can call the police to rescue them, repairing cars to drive their way out, repairing a boat, or even defeating Jason, which is no easy feat. Jason, of course, has the simple goal of trying to kill everyone, once again, no easy feat. In that sense, it actually feels balanced as far as the ratio of players getting killed off and the ones that escape.
Platforms: PC, XB1, PS4
Price I’d pay: $15 (when it’s fixed)
Jason has powers that allow him to find and stalk his victims. To begin, he only has the ability to teleport to a point on the map. As the match progresses, other abilities unlock. Like the sense ability which allows him to sense fear in the players. Or the very powerful ability, the warp ability that allows him to teleport short distances when he’s on the heels of a potential victim. When Jason is close to a counselor, horror music begins to play for the counselor. Jason also has the ability to stalk which keeps the counselor from knowing when Jason is near by not playing the music.
The counselors must find weapons and other things that can both stun and harm Jason, as well as things to repair vehicles, like batteries and gasoline. Along with that, they can’t actually talk to everyone in the game to begin with. Using the in game chat, only players in the vicinity can hear each other. Finding walkie talkies will allow player to talk to others across the campgrounds.
After each match, players will be given experience points based on how well they did – surviving gives more than dying, arming themselves, repairing a vehicle, stunning Jason, and for Jason, obviously killing counselors in creative ways will give up some XP. Leveling up the player’s profile will unlock new counselors and versions of Jason to play as, as well as points that can be used to purchase new types of kills for Jason or for rolling perks that can be equipped to the counselors. Each counselor perk comes with an ability, and a benefit and drawback. One thing I don’t like is just so how random the rolls can be. I get a really rare ability that is boat maneuvering but it slows down my run speed by 10%. Well, I have never been able to repair the boat and I spend most of my time on foot, so why would I choose this?
Along with that, I end up having to equip all my counselors with the same best perks because the character select is random. I could prefer who I wanted to spawn as, but it was never guaranteed, and many times, I would have the same counselor running around with me that was the character I was playing. Don’t know why that even happens when you have more than enough characters to fill the seven player slots.
Now, I come to what is wrong with this game. The online matchmaking is slow and broken, and on top of that, even when I get into a game, I could easily time out before the match even starts. At launch, this game wouldn’t even work. It took me two days to even get to the main menu. After that, trying to get into a quick match was impossible. I would sit there searching for ten minutes before it would put me in a lobby by myself and no one would join. The only way I could play the game was via private matches. Even then, I only had two friends that had the game, and two counselors versus Jason was just unfair.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the developers have been busting their butts to get this game patched and working, but as the review shows, I have been playing and reviewing the Xbox One version of the game which is still halfway broken three weeks out since launch. This is mainly due to Microsoft’s strict certifications for patches, but still. The only time I have been able to play as Jason was when I was playing in a private match with my two friends. The only time I spawned as Jason in the very few quick play games I was able to get into it, the connection timed out as I was walking out of Jason’s shack and I was sent back to the menu.
Even if the game’s online and matchmaking worked perfectly, this game is still just decent at best. The controls are stiff and clunky, the driving is horrendous, and the visuals look more like a something from 2007.
While the concepts are interesting and really have something special in mind, the execution and technical issues really hold back Friday the 13th from living up to its own hype. There are a few moments of fun here and there, but the Xbox One version is still having issues finding games for people, myself included. I hear the other versions are in better shape than this one, so if you’re still really interested in it, maybe get if for PC or PS4. Even then, I must warn you, there is some fun to see, but in the end it is still a clunky, random experience that I feel needed a few more months of development.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.