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Throwback Horror Movie Game Experience: Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th the game is a nostalgic throwback to the narratives of the Friday the 13th movie series set at Camp Crystal Lake that captures the essence of the movies and the genre. In this 1 v 7 multiplayer game, players play as one of the different versions of the killer, Jason Vorhees, from the Friday the 13th movies. Players can also opt to be one of up to camp counselors representing the classic horror movie tropes trying to evade and/or injure Jason. The May 26, 2017 release was just in time for US Memorial Day weekend Holiday.

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Worth Paying for this Experience?

I watched game play on Twitch for four days, skeptical that it could be worth my money.  After 4 days of spectating, I was chomping at the bit to buy this game.  The $40 price tag is a deal compared to the substantial support derived from crowd funding support in the Kickstarter  campaign.  Admittedly, this isn’t a game that I could see myself playing every night for 8 hours a night, but watching the hype of players on Twitch had me like, “shut up and take my money!”

I was not disappointed. I was surprised at how engaging the gameplay was for camp counselors.  The music and sound effects had my heart racing and freaking out when the music changed to alert me to Jason’s presence. Be warned, this game is far scarier when playing than when spectating.  The scare factor is increased if you are playing in a game with someone who is Role Playing a scary Jason.

It doesn’t matter how many times you watch this game or play as one of the camp counselors, the feeling of “Being Jason” is empowering and cathartic.  The campers all running away in terror, even when they attack you, they run away afterwards. A few of the features I loved was the levels of fear affect gameplay and sounds counselors make help that allow Jason to find them. These elements are interconnected which means your choices effect other players and your lifespan itself. There is also the emergence of new skills in Jason as the match progresses. It all comes together nicely, and creates a very unique experience.

A Few Perceived Drawbacks…

Like many new releases with greater than anticipated usage, matchmaking was a problem upon release.  This was addressed within 10 days and I have experienced no difficulty in finding matched during the last seven days. Still, for those who purchased the game early, it was something they griped about. If you read early reviews that site this as a problem, rest assured, it has been corrected.

Another popular complaint is that everyone wants to play as Jason. I haven’t found this to be the case, I’ve played with many random people content to be the camp counselors. This game reminds me of childhood hide and seek and tag.  No one wants to be it, but in this game, everyone wants to be it. Also, that is where the matchmaking is getting noticeably better.  During the first week that I played, I had a very difficult time getting into a match at all.  I also watched several streamers in random games get the role of camp counselor over 10 times when they were trying for Jason. During this last week, I have been Jason a good number of times and while I haven’t actually counted to come up with a ratio, but it feels like about 20 percent of the time I get to be Jason. Matches typically take 15 -20 minutes to complete, so given a couple of hours, you can expect to be Jason at least once, if that is what you want.

Friday the 13th Is a Social Game

Because the game is so reliant on the existence and behavior of the other players, the matchmaking can make or break the experience. I’ve had great fun teaming up with strangers, which seems more reflective of the movie feel.  One of my happiest moments was when a stranger stopped the car to help me escape! Another one of my best matches was when I was able to find and kill all of my real friends in a match and hear their yelling to one another that I was coming for them.

Conclusion

I’ve played dozens of matches and, while some of them have been simply terrible, most of them have been varying degrees of delightful. Delightful? Well, if you get delight from killing your friends, escaping near death, and exploring Camp Crystal Lake. Since the matches are only 15 -20 minutes, you can easily get into a new game with new people if you find yourself in a suboptimal situation.

Sure it has it’s shortcomings, doesn’t everything. But, the benefits outweigh the problems, and justify the $40 USD price tag.