The Video Gamer’s Experience – Friday the 13th: The Game Review

After much anticipation and hype, the Kickstarter-funded “Friday the 13th” game was finally released for funders and late purchasers alike to mixed reviews. Rather than jump into Crystal Lake with the potential of being terribly disappointed, I decided to give another game featuring similar subject matter a chance after developers spent a year working on it exclusively for PC gamers before porting it to consoles, “Dead By Daylight”. I didn’t have many high expectations for what was to come, but it did deliver what I hoped for thanks to several harrowing moments both as human survivors and the infamous killers. Knowing the technical issues associated with the game following its digital release my hope for enjoyment in regards to “Friday the 13th: The Game” was rather low as I just wanted a few successful escapes as counselors and, of course, some impressive kills as the man-monster himself while taking advantage of the game’s on-disc release helped by patches released over the game’s initial months of play to improve various problematic aspects digital-only players had to endure.


Did I Complete “Friday the 13th: The Game”


Originally released digitally for Playstation 4, Xbox One & PC in May of 2017, Illfonic’s take on the growing asymmetrical, multiplayer genre looked to be the truest video game adaptation of the infamous horror series that let gamers take control of those pesky teenagers dancing to hair bands and rocking varsity jackets even when its unseasonably humid or the killing machine known as Jason Voorhees through one of his multiple variations connected to the franchise. Of course there are achievements/trophies with some being pretty grind heavy including killing 1313 counselors as Jason or playing upwards of 2000 games between both intended heroes and the single villain. While I haven’t earned many trophies during my fifteen or so hours and nearly sixty rounds (& counting) of play, I still gained noticeable experience with a variety of the counselors and Jason across every map while rolling for perks and improving my killing style.


Did “Friday the 13th: The Game” Live Up to the Hype?


Like “Dead By Daylight” before it, “Friday the 13th: The Game” is built around the premise of a single killer trying to wipe out a group of players controlling humans looking to escape a map in under twenty minutes. Up to seven players take control of several counselor options in hopes of avoiding the eighth player’s powerful grip as Jason. The seven have the option of choosing a specific counselor that has differing stats compared to his/her contemporaries including better luck finding items, having more stamina to run, or not being greatly terrified when stumbling upon a dead body that has been hacked to bits by Jason. Perks can also be added to potentially help counselors boost their survival traits as the player can spend in-game currency attained by playing through matches to roll the figurative dice and gain a perk that may or may not have both beneficial & hazardous effects such as better melee damage at the expense of less stamina.



Easily one of the best things about being a counselor especially compared to the survivor offerings in “Dead By Daylight” is the simple fact humans can fight back in “Friday the 13th”. Players can take up arms, potentially stun or knock down Jason with a well-placed melee attack, distract the monster with firecrackers or even kill him with a very convoluted, luck-based series of actions that involves Tommy Jarvis – a character from the movie that can only be played by a gamer whose character has already died and the other players have used a radio to call for help. But running sometimes is the best option, and the game’s mostly similar, yet greatly open maps allow for counselors to barricade doors when inside buildings, hide under beds & in closets and even swim. The maps also provide means of escape, but all options are only completed by scavenging items & repairing/installing them like the car needing a battery, a tank of gas & keys to send players on their potential merry way. If a player can survive the night with Jason it proves to be one exhilarating experience.



But that doesn’t mean Jason is powerless. Players have one out of eight chances per game to play as the franchise’s poster boy in a random manner unlike “Dead By Daylight” where the hosting player is automatically the killer. Every Jason variation has four base abilities that allows him to morph around the map, warp short distances with super speed, sense nearby potential victims housing themselves (an ability that is heightened depending on how scared the character being stalked is), and shutting off the notification music for a short time for some stealthy sneaking. Jason can also attack people with a character specific weapon like his legendary axe or machete, and grab opponents for a gruesome kill. Unlike the counselors, Jason can’t add perks, but the player can spend points to add more murderous maneuvers to Jason’s repertoire. Like the counselors, not one Jason is just like the other as one like “Part 3 Jason” might be able to run, but has lower resistance to melee attacks that will cause him to momentarily stop or even fall down when struck by a weapon. Jason also has a “Rage Mode” that is connected to the time expiration limit and his kill streak that allows him to burst through walls & doors, become stronger and take more damage before being stunned. Even coming up short as Jason during a game still proves to be a blast.



For all the game’s positives there are some grandiose problems that will turn any game into a nightmare. The most obvious issue is connectivity problems. Not only does it take a while to find a game if you’re playing with & against random people, the chance of making it through an entire match is much lower than any multiplayer specific game has the right of being as “Friday the 13th” suffers from the lack of dedicated servers. Players can be in the beginning, middle or even end of a game and the connection to that host will time out. This wouldn’t be so bad if not for the fact the game doesn’t reward the player with anything until the match is over. In “Dead By Daylight” the player has the option of either leaving or spectating a match when their job is done (be it an escape or dying). With the chance of a player becoming Tommy Jarvis, the person who has finished the incomplete match must wait until the round is over before getting the completion/customization points they’ve earned.



That means depending on the player’s luck it could end up being an extended session of doing nothing while waiting for the end-game screen. If the game loses its connection the player is completely out of luck as no points are tabulated and dished out – meaning progress no matter how significant is completely lost. This issue is made even worse by the fact gamers will encounter sore losers who disconnect when their Jason isn’t doing too well or their counselor is killed. And then it sometimes simply comes down to sheer luck. If the host’s Internet goes out for a moment the session is ended.

One of the most profound differences between this game and “Dead By Daylight” is the ability to fight the monster. Unfortunately for “Friday the 13th”, fighting is a double-edged sword as players can attack one another and even help Jason along the way. “DBD” encouraged survivors to work together – “Friday the 13th” is a crapshoot when it comes to random players actually playing for the betterment of the team (though the lacking microphone ability in “DBD” is not a problem here). There is also some lacking gameplay mechanics & implementations that would’ve made a lot of sense and made the game more tense like Jason being able to step through broken windows like the counselors, the potential survivors being able to jump over objects like small barriers or climb into the boat while swimming, and better movement around and onto objects like shore side rocks that prove to be speed-bump sized, yet full body blockades.



Glitches are both funny and detrimental. A majority of the glitches are graphical like bodies not collapsing when Jason succeeds in slaughtering a player. But there are other game-breaking moments that can occur like Jason’s axe going through a door instead of breaking it down after several swings. There’s also an obvious input delay when controlling anyone, and button prompts for things like getting in the car or boat can disappear & reappear randomly. Another problem for gamers who may want to try out the game without jumping into a lobby or maybe have poor Internet connections is the fact there is no single player aspect as of this time (something that’s been promised to be implemented since day one). There’s not even a playable tutorial – so players will be learning on the job when it comes to this game just like in “Dead By Daylight”.



Similar to its spiritual predecessors in “Dead By Daylight” and even “Evolve”, “Friday the 13th” is an incredibly fun game when everything works right and would’ve been better if it had some more time to polish its obvious flaws. And even if the game itself is working fine, the community can make or break the entire experience like any multiplayer-centric game.


Should You Play “Friday the 13th: The Game”


“Friday the 13th: The Game” is the type of game you know what your getting when you read the description, but there are so many little things that can turn it into a horrific experience for all the right (the tension of trying to escape a map while Jason is on your heels, attempting to wipe out everyone in sight, lady luck smiling on you by providing necessary items to survive, and the connection staying solid) and wrong reasons (players attacking one another or working with Jason, graphical glitches that can be detrimental to survival, a lack of dedicated servers & overall connectivity issues). While the game is insanely fun when everything clicks & goes right, the chances of that being the case is not consistent at all. Add that to the fact the single player modes still haven’t been patched in (though promised to be coming soon) makes this one solely for those who either can tolerate connectivity issues and potential bad players, or have a group of dedicated friends who will definitely make the overall experience a lot more fun and, most importantly, stable. Thanks to the disc release, this game definitely warrants a rental for a day or two to play as both a counselor and Jason for a couple of rounds to get the hang of how the game flows. Similar to “Dead By Daylight”, “Friday the 13th: The Game” is an overall entertaining experience held back by technical flaws and an inconsistent community that will either leave you cursing at the screen or yelping for joy after attaining some type of bloody (or bloodless) success.



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