Friday the 13th: The Game

Friday the 13th: The Game
 
 

I started playing Friday the 13th: The Game nearly a month after its release on Xbox One, and despite reading about the game being  riddled with bugs, I was relieved to hear that a patch was imminent. Alarm bells rang, however, when that same patch failed Microsoft’s certification. I had a gut feeling that the game would fare worse than the counsellors at Camp Crystal Lake.

Turns out my gut feeling was correct: Even after the update, bugs, exploits, and laggy gameplay mired my experience of what could have been a solid game.

 
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Friday the 13th: The Game features multiple versions of Jason Voorhes from the movies, although most require unlocking after reaching certain levels. In addition to different looks, they all have different pros and cons, like decreased cooldowns or slower movement in water.

Jason has a variety of abilities at his disposal. He starts with one already enabled, and as the game progresses, he slowly gains the rest. He can morph (teleport anywhere on the map), stalk (become silent so counsellors can’t detect him), sense (highlight targets in red), and shift (disappear and moves a short distance).

By utilising a combination of these, Jason can be a ruthless hunter – or a bumbling-behemoth moron. At times, he’s easy to control. But when the game is lagging, you find him walking around in circles or trying his darndest to suffocate the trunk of a tree.

Unfortunately, this happened often. As I'm on the low end of internet connection speeds (Thanks, Spark – Gigatown my arse), there is definitely a discrepancy in my gameplay compared to others. The major problem, it seems, is that the servers couldn’t handle public demand for the game. Connections are spotty at best, or non-existent.

Playing with others in U.K, for example, gave me upwards of 400ms, yet playing with people closer seems to give me a better ping, around 100ms or so. Being the host of a game is the best approach to remedy the situation, but at times I find myself stranded in a lobby by myself for hours on end.

Server issues don’t just plague the person playing Jason, they can also affect the seven others playing counsellors. Like Jason, each counsellor has their pros and cons, displayed statistically for easy comparison. They can also buy perks by way of a loot box-like generator, each of which will provide a bonus in one category at the expense of a minor decrease in another.

There are four methods of escaping Jason’s wrath, each requiring a series of steps to accomplish freedom. The counsellors can escape by cars or a boat, but in order to do so they need to collect the gas, battery, keys for the car, or gas and the rotor blades for the boat. They can also escape by calling the police or radioing Tommy Jarvis – the only other recurring character in the Friday the 13th series. Calling the police requires reconnecting the phone lines and waiting for the police to arrive, and radioing Tommy Jarvis allows one of the other dead players to return as him, shotgun in hand.

While each of the methods of escape are unique, and require team-work and communication via proximity chat or walkie talkies, most players seem to rely on calling the police for escape. As the locations of various key elements required are procedurally generated, each game plays slightly differently. After a few games, however, it becomes educated guesses on Jason’s behalf in order to get the upper hand, such as camping near the exit route to the police.

The 80’s era – when Friday the 13th movies were at the height of their popularity – shows prominently here. Clothing, vehicles, and even the visual effect of rewinding a videotape on screen to indicate Jason is shifting gives the game an authentic flavour. Even the maps are based on three of the locations that the movies were set in.

But these visual quirks bring the game’s technical shortcomings into focus. The look of “fear” on the counsellors’ faces – especially the preppy Chad – has become an in-joke, and a drastic departure from the horror game that it sets out to be. I compare their faces more to the laughing clown carnival games that you toss ping pong balls into.

It's when those technical problems plague gameplay that it stops being fun to play. The meter that gives you a chance to break free from Jason's chokehold starts later than the animation, so by the time you start furiously mashing the button to escape, you've already lost the encounter. Or when you try to jump through a window or close a door, only to accidentally open it again and greet Jason. Of course, you’ll only encounter these issues if you get into a game in the first place.

Once connected and waiting for people to join, there is a chance the lobby will time out. After everyone has readied up and connects to the game, there is another chance to time out. As the game is loading, there is a chance to – you guessed it – time out. If the host leaves the game, everyone gets disconnected; no returning to lobby, and more egregiously, no XP is rewarded. If the host quits at the last minute? Sorry, you've just wasted twenty minutes of your life. The fact that I have heard and read multiple people accounts of the same issue – before and after the patch – has me concerned about the legs this game has.

I had a chance to play Dead by Daylight: Special Edition after playing this game for a week or so, and considering that I managed to play more matches in Dead by Daylight in 45 minutes than I did in the first two or three days of playing Friday the 13th (and not for a lack of trying), it speaks volumes to the technical issues Friday the 13th has.

It’s been more than 30 years since the Friday the 13th franchise launched, and nearly 30 since the last game was released. While graphically and technically superior to the 1989 NES game, gamers now have higher standards, and unfortunately Friday the 13th hasn’t lived up to those. A myriad of bugs, server issues, and gameplay glitches plague the summer camp, and at times it feels like Jason isn't the only problem you need to worry about.


Friday the 13th: The Game
"It's not just Jason that haunts this game. Bugs, lag, and lack of servers are the main horrors here."
- Friday the 13th: The Game
5.7
Average
 
Follow Own it? Rating: R16   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 15 Min


 

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Comments Comments (8)

 
Posted by BigC
On Thursday 6 Jul 2017 11:22 AM
5
This game is actually really fun when you play with a group of friends. The main problem I have is that Jason is just way too strong, and is almost impossible to win as a counsellor when Jason is controlled by a veteran player. There is almost no point choosing a counsellor with high strength as it only takes Jason 2 seconds to kill someone one he has them in his hands. Also, the longer the game goes, the stronger Jason gets, meaning your chances of winning is even slimmer.

Other than this, I think the game is quite good/fun, but can definitely improve in the future.
 
 
 
Posted by kniteowl
On Thursday 6 Jul 2017 12:22 PM
4
Sounds like a cool fun concept that just needs a bit more spot and polish to make it work. I'm a big fan of asymmetrical multiplayer games like this and Evolve so hopefully it still gets enough dev support to make it be all it can be
 
 
 
Posted by toner
On Thursday 6 Jul 2017 1:00 PM
3
Adding on to my review, I think the game will be better once they fix bugs, sort out balance issues, and introduce single player (which they said they will soon). But in the interim, the bugs just don't do the game justice
 
 
 
Posted by cortez72
On Thursday 6 Jul 2017 3:14 PM
2
That's a shame, I think the concept is very clever and shows a lot of potential. I wonder bigger developers will swallow this company up and use the game play concept in a new IP.
 
 
 
Posted by jtbthatsme
On Thursday 6 Jul 2017 9:06 PM
2
I've only watched this being played on Twitch a few times and I think the score given is pretty accurate it wasn't much fun to watch as a spectator except for the kills being nice and brutal.
 
 
 
Posted by RKO_NZ
On Friday 7 Jul 2017 12:35 AM
2
Fun game, just sad that its had such a bad launch, and it says this was reviewed on XB1, well we got tons more issues that PS4 and PC, so that wouldn't of helped, I love this game I cant stop playing, but always felt like i've just got kicked in the nuts when the game crashes, i seem to have really crappy luck, because I always seem to crash in games where I've escaped, so losing the massive XP boost from an escape is a killjoy, usually when this happens to me, I jump onto other games, I play with mostly Americans, average 200ms, its a noticable problem especially when driving the car in an escape, you cant afford to put your foot on the gas because with the input delay, you'll end up crashing into a rock or tree and flipping the car, I think they could cut down a bit on Jason being OP if the maps were a bit bigger, and by having Jason spawn knowing where the cars/boat is spawned along with where the phonebox is, when you have a player who knows what they;re doing, you really are screwed. Dev's are trying there hardest to nerf/buff things and have been active in support (albiet quite sh*tty) interested to see what comes in the next few months for this game.
 
 
 
Posted by RKO_NZ
On Friday 7 Jul 2017 12:57 AM
2
7 July 2017, 12:35 AM Reply to RKO_NZ
Fun game, just sad that its had such a bad launch, and it says this was reviewed on XB1, well we got tons more issues that PS4 and PC, so that wouldn't of helped, I love this game I cant stop playing, but always felt like i've just got kicked in the nuts when the game crashes, i seem to have really crappy luck, because I always seem to crash in games where I've escaped, so losing the massive XP boost from an escape is a killjoy, usually when this happens to me, I jump onto other games, I play with mostly Americans, average 200ms, its a noticable problem especially when driving the car in an escape, you cant afford to put your foot on the gas because with the input delay, you'll end up crashing into a rock or tree and flipping the car, I think they could cut down a bit on Jason being OP if the maps were a bit bigger, and by having Jason spawn knowing where the cars/boat is spawned along with where the phonebox is, when you have a player who knows what they;re doing, you really are screwed. Dev's are trying there hardest to nerf/buff things and have been active in support (albiet quite sh*tty) interested to see what comes in the next few months for this game.
little extra note, the article says there's 4 ways to escape, there's technically 5.for anyone who was wondering, the last one is forgotten about a lot, although I;ve survived many of my matches this way
Call Cops/Escape with Cops
Call Tommy Jarvis/Kill Jason (Only TJ can do this)
Fix Car/Escape by Car
Fix Boat/ Escape by Boat
Win by time expiring (survive 20 minutes)
 
 
 
Posted by zarr0ch
On Tuesday 12 Sep 2017 9:57 AM
-
7 July 2017, 12:57 AM Reply to RKO_NZ
little extra note, the article says there's 4 ways to escape, there's technically 5.for anyone who was wondering, the last one is forgotten about a lot, although I;ve survived many of my matches this way
Call Cops/Escape with Cops
Call Tommy Jarvis/Kill Jason (Only TJ can do this)
Fix Car/Escape by Car
Fix Boat/ Escape by Boat
Win by time expiring (survive 20 minutes)
Bought this a week ago, Haven't stopped playing it!