Friday The 13th: The Game – Ultimate Slasher Edition Review – Nintendo Switch
August 31, 2019
Developed By: Black Tower Studio
Published By: Gun Media
Reviewed By: Alex Laybourne
Thank you so much to Gun Media for providing a review code
Friday the What Now?
For thirty-eight years now, one serial
killer has captivated our attention, terrified our thoughts and haunted our
dreams. Jason Vorhees, the Friday the 13th killer.
Many will argue the series is iconic, others will point to its almost satiric dilution, while the truth is that great horror finds, live on the delicate boundary between the two.
Jason is without question a legend, yet he is a character who, in recent years has indeed struggled to remain a genuinely frightening figure. From the big screen to the console screen, his reputation stands now at a firm, “meh”. However, with a new audience out there, can an outing on the Nintendo Switch prove lucky for Jason, or will his special day be as unlucky for him as it is for so many others?
Keep reading to find out.
Today is Your (Un)lucky Day
Who isn’t familiar with the story of Jason Vorhees? I generalize obviously, but given this is a review for the game related to the series he made famous I feel slight assumptions are allowed.
There have been several different Friday 13th games through the years, dating way back to the NES, and even the Commodore 64. I can’t recall ever playing either of them personally, but I know the general construct and it is one that remains focused around Camp Crystal Lake. The place where Jason was murdered, and where his mother (remember, she was the original killer in the movie franchise), went on her rampage in the name of revenge.
The story behind this incarnation of the game is the same as the 2017 installment released on PC, XBOX, and PlayStation.
While there is a mission-based offline storyline, the majority of people play it for the online component. You play in teams of up to 8, although I did take part in a 1v1 game at one point in time.
One player will spawn as Jason, lurking
within his cave somewhere on the map, while others will spawn as different
Crystal Lake counselors. The aim of the game is to kill or not get killed
depending on who you are playing as.
Jason is driven by his dead mother
whispering in his ear. Her remains nestled away inside his cave.
The game will place you in one of several
different Crystal Lake maps, taken from the different movies in the series.
Some larger than others, and each one filled with the perfect mix of danger and
Fun and Games at Camp Crystal Lake
All games start in the same way, with a cutscene showing the counselors outside a building located on the map, and one unlucky chap – the same one each time – getting murdered causing the others to flee into the woods.
At that point, the game starts and you learn if you are Jason or a survivor.
Playing as Jason
When playing as Jason you start in your cave in the woods and on mommy’s orders, you must hunt and kill all of the counselors. Playing as Jason comes with several perks.
There are nine different Jasons in total,
including the ‘fake’ Jason from Friday the 13th Part 5.
The different Jason characters you can play
as (depending on your current level) are:
Each of these playable Jason figures has some subtle differences, from increased striking power, the ability to run, or increased sensitivity to certain counselor attacks. Some are definitely better than others, depending on your own skill level. The more you play, the more you will get a feel for the different characters.
Supercharge Your Killer Instincts
There are four special meters that build up
as you move around the map. Once these are fully charged you can use each one
in turn or store one up for when it is really needed.
Stalk – This mutes the haunting theme tune that plays when Jason gets
close to a counselor. While it doesn’t render Jason invisible, it is a great
tool for sneaking up on people from behind.
Morph – The first ability Jason obtains. It allows him to teleport to any point on the map. Great to move from one side to the other in the blink of an eye, and a great one to combine with other abilities, especially the Sense option.
Sense – A particularly useful ability sees Jason gain a heightened sense of location. He can ‘see’ the counselors that are close by. Whether they are inside buildings or hiding out of your direct line of sight, the more fear they are experiencing or the more noise they are making, the more visible they will be.
Shift – When Shift is activated, Jason becomes invisible and moves at a much faster speed. This is a great way to chase down fleeing counselors. Just make sure you have a clear path because, despite invisibility, objects will still block your movements.
Upgrade Your Moveset for Varied Carnage
As you play the game you earn points for actions performed, kills made, time survived, etc. These points can be used to upgrade your Jason’s. Buy new kill animations or weapons, to keep things interesting and varied.
When playing as Jason, while it’s important to find and kill the counselors, it’s even more important to have a plan. The more terror you an spread, the easier it can be to catch them. Take out the electricity in the houses and set traps outside the windows to keep them from escaping.
Yes, it’s a game about killing, but it’s
even more fun to play with terror, after all, fear tenderizes the meat and makes
the end that much sweeter.
Playing as a Counselor
There are 14 different counselor characters in the game, plus Tommy Jarvis, who fans of the series will recognize from Parts 5 and 6. Tommy is not a selectable character, but can be summoned into the game whereupon a dead spectating player will assume that role and be put back into the game.
Much like setting your spawn preference to be Jason and a set Jason character, you can also set your preferred counselor. While you will not always get them, out of all the games I played only twice did I spawn as a different one to that which I had selected.
Choose Based on Your Play Style
Each counselor has different attributes
that help them with different areas of the game. Much like the different Jason characters,
each one will be better suited to different people based on how you want to
play the game.
The different character traits are:
My personal favorite counselor to play at
was Jenny Myers. Her stats were good all around and I just found it enjoyable
playing with her as my main.
The aim of the game as a counselor is to move around the map collecting the different things needed in order to escape and to avoid Jason while doing so.
More Than One Way to Skin a… Vorhees
There are several ways to survive.
Stay Alive Long Enough – One round is twenty minutes. If you can survive until the clock hits zero then you win.
Escape in the Car/Boat – The maps come with both a 2 and 4 seater car and a boat that can be used to escape. However, to do so, you will need to repair them. Gas, batteries, and propellers are hidden around the map. Find them, bring them back to the car/boat, install them and get away again before Jason hears you. Repairs also give extra XP points, but be careful, different counselors have different stats for how effective they are in carrying out such repairs.
Repairs are done with a series of quick-time events using just the L and R buttons, and at times, with the wrong counselor, could be very nerve-wracking.
Call the Police – If you can find and repair the phone box, then you can call the police to the camp. Survive the 5-minute countdown and make it to the designated exit and the authorities will safely oversee your return to safety.
Kill Jason – It is technically possible to kill Jason, you need to work as a group to do it, and it involves a very specific set of requirements. Including have Tommy Jarvis in the game and obtaining a sweater from Jason’s cave.
As I played ‘alone’ or rather on a public server rather than a private room, I never managed to kill Jason during my playthroughs, but my preference would always be the slightly less problematic escape options listed above.
Arm Yourself if You Want to Live
Each counselor is equipped with a flashlight and can find weapons lying around the map. Even though they cannot kill Jason, you can use them to stun or hurt him, giving you time to make your escape.
Every weapon has a different effectiveness against Jason, some are better at stunning, others are better at hurting. Some will even knock his mask off.
The different weapons are:
You can only hold one weapon at a time, and as you play you will develop your own favorites, but one thing is for sure. Arm yourself with whatever you can as soon as you can, because you are probably going to need it at some point.
Ready, Set, Survive
Friday The 13th is a third-person survival horror game. It’s set out in the woods and in the dead of night, so don’t expect to be going into something where you can just stroll around and explore freely. The game is tense and purposefully so.
When playing, you need to balance speed and stealth using the small area of the map you can see and your own experience, to move from place to place, scavenge for what you need and then move on to the next location again.
The graphics in the game are very nice, Jason looks good, as I would have hoped, knowing that Kane Hodder worked on the motion capture for it.
The semi open-world experience gives players all the freedom to explore and do what they think they need to do to survive. Having played for around 10 hours so far I have been in matches where I died first and where I was the sole survivor. I’ve avoided Jason all game and had times where I spent most of the game battering him with any weapon I could find.
The Ever-Changing World of Friday 13th
There are a set number of maps that come with the game. The developers made it so that the elements contained within each map are generated differently each time, meaning things will not be in the same place each time you play the game. This also helps keep things fresh for both killers and survivors alike.
I have to say that finding the items does often feel a little bit like searching for a needle in a haystack, and I only actually managed to find the items to fix the car a few times (all three items in one game). I’m not saying this in any negative way, but rather to ensure that anybody reading this understands that escape is not always easy. The majority of my wins came from surviving the time limit.
Collectibles for Extra Entertainment
On top of the survival element, there are some cool collectibles in the game. These are in the form of badges and tapes.
Badges are awarded when you perform certain actions during the game. This could be completing a game as Jason without taking any damage, or by removing Jason’s mask during a scuffle. For those that like to 100% things, these add an extra challenge to the gameplay and can give you hours of extra fun. Badges are available for both the counselors and Jason. They are not individual to the different characters, but rather accumulative against your account.
Tapes – These are collectibles hidden around the
map and are individually cassette recordings of Pamela (Jason’s mother) talking
to the police.
Tapes – Much the same as Pamela’s, this collection
of tapes offers recordings of Tommy Jarvis.
These give some additions to the backstory and cannon for the game. They are not easy to find, and I still haven’t completed the collection.
The game does also come with an offline mode for those that want to play while away from an internet connection. I only played this very briefly, and I don’t think many people will play it that much. It is an objective-driven game that runs the same as the online mode but against full AI characters.
I understand the inclusion of this, but it’s only really fun if you get to play as Jason, and even then, it’s only fun if you really have no other options.
The Charm of Bugs
I would be lying if I said that Friday the 13th was a technically sound game. There are a lot of glitches that you will come across while playing.
The common ones I saw were doors that didn’t actually close, but still acted as if they were shut and locked. People driving away in invisible cars while the real car remained parked outside the house, and Jason killing someone while facing the wrong way, but that person dying nonetheless.
Glitches are never a good thing, yet for some reason, in this game, I really didn’t mind. They happened infrequently and never to me. I’m not sure if the other players actually experienced a glitch, or if it was just the way it was represented on my screen, but either way, I found it added a certain charm to the game.
The controls were at times a little clunky, but again my internet signal has been known to fluctuate in terms of its quality, so there is every chance that that was to blame.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Friday the 13th and am certain to be playing it for a long time to come. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will be getting the physical when it comes out, because it was everything I hoped for. Over the top, campy at times and a good server would get your heart pumping.
The different levels of customization, from animations perks, and costumes added something extra still to the game. If you enjoy playing online and have played this or other games such as Dead by Daylight (on other systems) then you not only know what you are getting yourself in for, but can rest certain that you are going to enjoy yourself.
It can sometimes take a little while to
join a game, but the waiting times have improved dramatically now that it has
been out for a week or two