With it being Friday the 13th, we here at Electricbento thought it would be fun to talk about one of the better horror games of the year, and appropriately it’s, Friday The 13th: The Game. In 1996, Resident Evil officially coined the phrase “Survival Horror Game” and laid the framework for a genre that would have everyone jumping and throwing their controller clear across the room. The genre itself has greatly evolved since, but the core gameplay stays relatively the same. The usually unarmed protagonist finds himself helpless and tasked with making their way through increasingly difficult stages while avoiding enemies.
This genre is built upon a dynamic in which the player is forced into one of two options: run or hide. This is where the Friday The 13th: The Game thrives. During the course of one match, players assume the role of either a counselor, or Jason. They traverse across maps that pay great fan service to the films. Each of these matches start the same way; after a mind numbingly long wait in the lobby, a cutscene plays showing Jason taking his first victim, quickly followed by the unforgivably terrified face of preppy boy “Chad.”
When all this has finished, the match starts with a third person view of your counselor randomly spawned within the map. Your mission then is simple: survive by one of the few escape options. You can choose to use a car or boat (if you rebuild them), call and wait for the cops, or run out the clock at a lengthy 15 minutes. All of the escape options in Friday The 13th: The Game are almost impossible without teamwork and mutual cooperation, though don’t be surprised if you are sacrificed in the name of survival. What’s the old saying? “I don’t need to run the fastest, I just have to be faster than you.”
Gameplay as the counselors in Friday The 13th: The Game is pretty straight forward with the standard options of walking, sprinting, using objects, and interacting with your environment but with such simplified controls the console version often feels clunky with frustrating moments of opening a door instead of locking it. This isn’t helpful when being chased by a machete wielding madman.
Friday The 13th: The Game really shines when it comes to controlling Jason which you have a 50-12% chance of happening. His gameplay is so fleshed out and easily controlled, it is deadly (Pun intended). As Jason you can throw knives, lay traps, melee, or use one of your four terrifying powers that range from teleporting to different parts of the map, to sensing the counselors locations via a red glow around themselves, or the building they are hiding in. While you can get kills as Jason by simply using your melee attack, perhaps the greatest part of Friday The 13th: The Game is when you grab a counselor and perform one of a many killing moves available. These are in the Jason select menu and can be gained by exchanging experience points. Once one of these killing moves is executed both the player controlling Jason and the doomed counselor enter a cutscene that shows a gory death with a head ripped off or a heart torn out of a body. That sort of stuff. These kills are what the fan base thrives on and is often the main method of killing the counselors. Gory fun!
Now you might be thinking that the gameplay seems way to off balance even for an asymmetrical survival game, and you would be right. With so many abilities and the added bonus of hearing when cars and boats are started halfway across the map, Jason is certainly overpowered. This is where the meta game comes to the rescue. If you want to survive forget hiding and get really good at “kiting” or for other words crawling out windows and making a mad dash for the next cabin, because for all of his abilities, Jason still has to break down doors and can’t climb through any windows, leaving you the opportunity to leave him in a cabin at the last minute and your only chance for survival.
For everything great about Friday The 13th: The Game, there are also some major drawbacks. The collision detection is pretty terrible, creating extremely humorous situations like floating counselors, and arms appearing through walls. The counselors terrified faces (especially Chad’s) often take away from the dramatic tension of the game making it more humorous. But I guess that depends on how twisted your sense of humor is. All in all, for a game funded on Kickstarter and developed by an indie game developer (Illfonic), Friday The 13th: The Game is all around a great release. It may be in need of some tweaking and DLC which the folks at Illfonic have been so kind to roadmap for everyone. So time will only make it better. Over all Friday The 13th: The Game is a cat and mouse game that does a great job of capturing what was so terrifyingly iconic about the movies.
Friday The 13th: The Game is available now on PC, PS4, and Xbox One and a physical version releases today, October 13th. This article is based on an Windows version paid for by the writer.