When you talk about the horror genre there is usually one name that comes to mind – Jason Voorhees – the ten year old boy who drowned in the lake at Camp Crystal Lake during the summer, while those employed to supervise were busy entertaining themselves than carrying out their duties.
Now all these years on the young man has returned, taking out his frustrations and getting his revenge against a new age of camp councillors.
He has terrified audiences for more than three decades, have given children nightmares, and has cemented many memories of his now historic kills throughout the movie franchise. Which is why when news broke that small indie game developers illfonic and Gun Media were teaming up to release Friday the 13th – The Game it was meant with jubilation and a large amount of skepticism from fans alike.
In recent years fans of the horror genre had been teased with new, and exciting releases of games featuring their favorite murderers from the big screen. From a new and exciting Chucky (Child’s Play) game to a Nightmare on Elm Street styled button masher – neither of which ever hit the gaming consoles.
The indie gaming companies however stuck to their guns and shortly after being gifted the naming license from series creator Sean Cunningham the Kickstarter and BackerIt campaigns took off, quickly surpassing their respective targets and earning the game a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest indie game crowd funded game.
Friday the 13th – The Game was released through Stream, xBox One and Playstation 4 worldwide on May 26 2017 to much fanfare, however, in what could be argued as a good thing for the company, due to popular demand and over usage of their launch-day servers some players had difficulty connecting to games as it continued to crash.
To their credit illfonic and Gun Media acknowledged their short falls, declaring that the response to the release of the game was well beyond what they had ever imagined.
The game is best described as a third-person, survival horror game play in which eight people in a ‘lobby’ connected together over the internet enter into a match – playing on one of the various maps built into the game – which includes Crystal Lake, Packanack Lodge and Higgins Haven – with one player randomly selected to act as the killer Jason Voorhees while the remaining players need to survive a 20-minute game, or find a way to escape either by finding the required parts to repair the boat or cars spawned across the map or to make contact with the police.
Immediately upon release there were a number of bugs evident. And the small development team soon came under fire on their own forums, and all of their social media accounts, blasting them on releasing a game that was ‘unplayable’.
However, claims that the game was unplayable was a far stretch from the actual truth. Infact the game not only was playable it was very enjoyable and only took a few minutes to get use to alternatives to bypass the reported bugs. Unfortunately for the development team, ever since the release of the game – which was released around the world on disc on Friday 13th October – each and every time they have released a patch aimed at fixing bugs it seems other bugs have snuck into the game.
One major bug being on the Packanack map where councillors were able to go through a hidden door in the wall, which cause a lot of confusion but was quickly fixed.
Another bug, once again on the Packanack map, was were councillors could either make their way onto the roof of the main Packanack Lodge were the player who was selected to play as Jason was unable to get to them.
Notable other bugs including councillors being able to escape from the map and wait out the 20 minutes gaining the experience points.
One of the highest debated downfalls of the game, that this reviewer has invested many hours into to earn the highest level the game offers which is 101, is that the development team seems to give into what could only best be described as ‘whiners’ on their own forums.
For the outsider, or someone such as myself who has invested time to learn the game inside and out, the developers of the game are continuously changing aspects of the game simply because the ‘whiners’ aren’t happy with a certain part and fall back on the excuse that because ‘such and such’ happens that the game is then ‘unplayable’.
This includes ‘team killers’ where as councillors you could use one of the many weapons you could find spawned across the map to kill another councillor – the whining started – however, one would find it hard to argue that if you were face-to-face with a manic killer and it was between you and the person beside you as to who escaped that you would no doubt opt for the other person to be captured by Jason rather than him focusing on you.
A recent update also completely changed the way Jason ‘grabs’ his victims which even as a level 101 like myself it takes a lot of practice to get use to it – this change came about once again due to the ‘whiners’ claiming that his grab reach was far too superior.
Another downfall for the game is the reliance on ‘hosts’. This could be solved by server mitigation however, despite selling in excess of 1.8 Million copies – which at $60 a pop means the companies have made an estimated $108Million, the company claims it is not on the radar.
So what does this mean for the game? It quite simply means that if you are the lucky one selected to be Jason and you find yourself a councillor, you finally use the almost impossible grab and use one of the horrific and gory kills that each Jason has – there is a chance the game will end.
Not because of the coding, not because of any issues with the game itself but because the chances are you have just killed the host. The host is a random player who was first in the lobby and has the power to select the map you play each and every round – once a host quits – otherwise known as ‘rage quitting’ – the entire game shuts down and you go back to finding a new lobby to join.
The game is effectively a horrific and gory version of hide and seek. It is thrilling as a councillor to be racing your way to the cabins on the various maps searching through the drawers to find weapons and/or parts for the car, or boat. And if you are very lucky the phone fuse.
It is then up to you to make your way to the car, boat or phone fuse house to repair it – for the car you require keys, battery and fuel, while for the boat you require a propeller and fuel. A mistake will tip Jason off that you are repairing and will allow his to morph directly to your location – however, no mistakes will have you and your team of councillors escaping in the two or four seater car or on the two person boat in no-time.
If you find the phone fuse you need to make your way to the phone house, repair the fuse box and enter the house to call the police. However, it is important to note that Jason usually uses some of his many traps at the phone fuse making it more difficult to get to the fuse to fix.
In addition the phone house is usually one of the first places any Jason morphs to when the game first starts.
The big question anyone really wants to know when reading through game reviews is… is it worth buying? The quick answer to this is if you are a fan of horror, and have a computer, Playstation or xBOX and like gaming then this is the game you need to get.
Out of all of the survival horror games currently available the Friday the 13th Game is by far the best. The developers, although a small team compared to the big companies that are household names, continuously work on the game aiming at improving their product – something that you need to take your hats off for.
If you want a fun, exciting, game then this is the game you MUST get.