Review: Friday the 13th: The Game is one of the biggest disappointments of 2017 so far
I'd rather spend a summer at Camp Crystal Lake than play this game.
Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), PlayStation 4, PC
Developers: Gun Media, IllFonic
Publisher: Gun Media
EDIT: We'll be updating the review once the developers add in the single player update later this summer.
Friday the 13th: The Game has been one of my most anticipated games for the last few years. Based off one of the most iconic horror franchises to ever exist, it’s the ultimate game of hide and seek and had the potential to be one of the most fun games of 2017. The key word is had.
Friday the 13th is probably the most broken game I’ve played in the last few years. The game has massive server issues making it so you can’t matchmake - which is an issue when the game only offers multiplayer. The only way to join a match is if you have friends or can wrangle together some random people via social media. If you have no friends who own the game or can’t find anyone willing to play, too bad for you, you just spent $39.99 on a menu screen. I should state I played the game on Xbox One, but I’ve heard of people who have had issues across all platforms. I would be more understanding of the server issues if the game was actually good, but it isn’t.
A nightmare to play and not in a good way:
This violent game of hide and seek has some of the most game breaking bugs and glitches I’ve ever seen. For those unaware, in this game, there’s a group of campers at a summer camp and at the start of each match, one person is picked to be Jason (essentially a 1v7 game, 7 counselors and 1 Jason looking to kill them). Jason has to kill everyone before time runs out or before the campers can find a way to escape or call for help. When the game works, it can actually be very fun but it’s rare that everything runs smoothly.
When playing as Jason, I noticed someone swimming in the lake. Of course, if you’re caught swimming in the Friday the 13th movies you’re pretty much already dead. So I sunk myself into the water and swam at the unsuspecting camper like I was Jaws and as I went to snatch them up and turn the blue waters into a thick, crimson liquid… she turned invisible. The game glitched out and the camera went to some untextured part of the map and when I returned the camper was invisible. I couldn’t kill her because there was nothing to grab onto. At the end of the match, a bunch of the people who had already died or escaped chewed me out because they thought I was just an idiot and was choosing not to kill her. After explaining what happened, they told me similar things had happened to them. Due to this glitch, I was forced to lose the match.
Other glitches I have run into range from seeing a fellow camper get stuck inside a wall for the entire match, not being able to pull out my gun to shoot Jason after spawning in as the legendary Tommy Jarvis, and not being able to buy new upgrades for my character in the main menu because it tells me there was some sort of error with the in-game purchase. On top of all of this, the game crashes and disconnects players from matches very frequently causing matches to abruptly end, killing all of the tension and ruining any fun that you may have been having.
It's plagued with technical issues:
Friday the 13th also has some issues with facial animations. They look… really bizarre. Sometimes a character’s face will get stuck with their mouth hanging wide open and their eyes will look like they’re being held open by clothespins. I get that they're supposed to be scared out of their mind, but it looks so incredibly goofy. It's not even an “Oh, it’s supposed to be cheesy and campy” way, it just looks bad.
Some other issues I ran into was a somewhat inconsistent framerate and frustrating stamina mechanic. I’m not sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me, but framerate didn’t appear to be locked and dips were noticeable. When playing as a camper, the screen will darken significantly when you’re running low on stamina. It removes portions of the HUD off your screen and makes the game look unappealing. I get why they did it, but sometimes the game doesn’t revert the color back once you recharge your stamina. It just stays dark and ugly.
Now that we’re done ranting about the technical issues with the game, let’s talk about the gameplay itself. On the camper side of things, the game can be a bit frustrating. You lose stamina when you’re just jogging, not even just when you're fully sprinting, making it so you end up walking at the speed of a snail, which is frustrating enough, but not the most frustrating thing. Hiding from Jason, the purpose of the game as a camp counselor, doesn’t do a whole lot for you because he has a special ability that allows him to see which buildings have people inside them, so even if you hide under a bed or in a closet he’ll probably find you.
It can be a lot of fun when it works:
When you work with campers to find the parts to repair a car or boat, things can be really fun. You desperately scavenge for gas, car keys, and other materials all while Jason lurks in the woods with the classic Friday the 13th music and sound effects playing in the background. It creates a lot of tension and can cause moments of terror when you’re trying to start the car by wiggling the key in the ignition all while he slowly walks towards you and your fellow camp counselors. You’ll probably have moments where other players are screaming into their microphones as you all panic and grip your controller tight and that’s when Friday the 13th is at its best.
When playing as Jason, things can be both bad and good. It’s really fun to brutally execute people and to hunt unsuspecting people down but it can also be a bit tedious. Sometimes I found myself chasing people for several minutes and never being able to lay a hand on them and it made things really anti-climactic. No matter what I did, they’d just be able to keep on running which made me scratch my head in confusion because whenever I even jogged my stamina would drain rapidly and I’d barely be able to move.
One of my biggest concerns for this game was that Jason would be really overpowered. He has several special abilities that could be considered cheap but they’re all unlocked at different points in the match as to not make it really unfair. He has four special abilities but at the start of each match, only one or two are made available. As time stretches on, other abilities will unlock allowing him to be able to hopefully kill the remaining campers. It helps not only keep things balanced but also help players who may not be particularly good at playing the iconic killer.
Despite how fun it can be, Friday the 13th: The Game has an overwhelming amount of issues both with and without glitches and bugs. It’s clear the game wasn’t ready to be released and should’ve been delayed so that some of the kinks could be worked out. The lack of a single player mode at launch is also very annoying due to the fact that the online portion of the game barely works. If you were planning on getting Friday the 13th, you should probably wait until the single player mode is added and until they can make the game at least somewhat playable.