Gun and Illfonic's new horror survival title puts counselors at the mercy of a rampaging Jason. The game is fun and at its best when played with a group of friends.
Friday the 13th is a survival horror game that pits Jason Voorhees against seven counselor opponents in a race against time to survive. The game randomly selects the killer for each match, so you'll never know who will be killer until the game starts up. There are issues with the game, with it being in beta, but the fun factor is definitely there. It's not Dead by Daylight, so don't expect a comparison preview. Rather, we'll focus on what aspects of the game show promise, and what features we hope the developers work on prior its full release.
An opening campfire murder scene opens hunting season at Camp Crystal Lake. Higgins Haven is the lone map available to play on in the beta, and you can choose from only one (and presumably that's not changing) killer and a handful of counselors. Each of the seven counselors has their own set of unique abilities that help them either outrun, evade, or out-smart the homicidal maniac.
In turn, there are three Jasons to choose from in the beta. Each of them wearing a different outfit, and each of them having different strengths and weaknesses. You can check out their differences in the images below:
The gameplay is relatively simple from an objective point of view. The counselors have to find a way out before Jason kills them, or wait out the 20 minute match timer. There are only a fixed number of ways of getting out at the moment: Either you fix the power, telephone the police, and wait for them to arrive at the ends of the map. Or you find the keys, gas, and batteries strewn around the map to fix the two cars available to make a getaway. However, be careful! Jason can stop the car dead in its tracks by standing in front of it, which would surely mean your grisly demise. The only other escape is death.
Counselors have limited stamina to work with, and while they can loot the campgrounds for various tools to help them in their quest to survive; they can only slow Jason down. I loved this aspect of the game, the tools are powerful but there is a limited number of them available on the map. You also have to pay close attention to what areas of weakness or strengths your counselor has, take a look at them below:
The game has a terrific soundtrack. Original tracks from the movies play whenever Jason is close to a counselor or chasing them down. The various campground noises are creepy, and the ambiance sets the perfect mood of terror for the horrors that await the counselors in the moonlit night. Chasing down the counselors is a little clunky, but grisly finishers offer a satisfying end to the long chase. The graphics are really well done, with lifelike characters and gorgeous scenery. The graphics and the music set a precedent for the full release of the game.
The game is still in beta, so there are multiple bugs that plague the entertaining title. There's a lot of potential in the game, the killer is in fact overpowered, but he takes a good amount of skill to get good at. On the other hand, counselors have enough power that they don't feel useless against Jason; but they have a limited number of "lives" available to them in-match. The only current drawback is that matches last 20 minutes regardless of how fast you die, and you do not receive full XP if you leave early. This means that if you die really early on, you're in for a painful 20 minutes of watching the match without being able to do a damn thing. The title definitely has promise, and if the devs make some of the recommended changes it will be a fun game to play with a group of friends.