Game Night, Video Games

Friday the 13th The Game: Fanservice Does Not a Good Game Make

I tend to like a lot of things. It’s more fun for me to talk about things I actually like on this blog. But a good critic can’t only talk about what they consider good. Sometimes, they need to talk about something they consider to be bad in order to make their tastes clear.

Which I haven’t really done. But hey, I’ve got nothing but time! May as well start now.

Two things I don’t often talk about are horror and multiplayer games. I have a strong distaste for both. I’m a squeamish little baby, so I often can’t stand to play good, effective horror games. On the other end, if the horror is ineffective, the game becomes a boring drag.

And multiplayer games are exceedingly frustrating! Aside from fighting games, I don’t find any of them to be fun or fair. I hate being stuck on a team with four or five assholes who either a) don’t give a shit or b) give too much of a shit and ruin the fun. This is why I could never get into Overwatch, League of Legends or DOTA. I don’t want my victory to be dependant on my teammates.

So what happens when you combine those two genres with a classic slasher film franchise? You get a game that is initially decent fun, at least with friends, but quickly descends into a repetitive, boring and frustrating loop. That is Friday the 13th: The Game.

First, let’s talk about what this game does right. This game is pure fanservice to fans of the franchise, in even the smallest of details! Jason has a skin for almost every movie in the series, and they’re all lovingly crafted to look just like it! They even give him a costume from the shitty NES game that changes the music and everything! It’s awesome!

Second, this game is initially a ton of fun to play with friends! The first few rounds are a perfect mix of tense and hilarious, given how the game functions. If you are going to play this game, do it with a large group of friends all in the same room. Trust me, it’ll be a blast.

Unfortunately, that’s where my praise for the game ends. The first few rounds are scary and fun and it is good for fanservice. Aside from that, I don’t think this game is any good. In fact, it is quite bad.

The gameplay loop of this game is incredibly boring and frustrating. As the camper, you run around and desperately search for the necessary items to fulfill the rescue/escape requirements. As Jason, you run around and kill everybody. That’s the game. Simple, right? Well yes. But it’s in the fine details where this game falls apart.

The most important thing worth mentioning is the game’s performance. With a decent computer and connection, the game can run relatively smoothly with nice-looking environments (although driving the car drops the frames to a pitiful level). Unfortunately, good visuals won’t make up for the simple fact that this game is broken as hell!

In our time playing, my friends and I encountered more glitches than I can count. In our first round, my character apparently died three separate times, crawled out of the bed on their own (which was hilarious, as I got a good look at my character model from my hiding place) and got stuck on the geometry numerous times. This game functions, but it doesn’t do so very well.

The same can be said for the facial animations. They are absolutely awful. Initially hilarious, yes. But the comedy lasts about as long as I do in bed. They make Mass Effect: Andromeda’s facial animations look like a fucking Naughty Dog game!

And that’s all before we talk about the game balance! Which, in case you were curious: doesn’t fucking exist.

The campers are pathetically weak. Frustratingly so! Their movement speed is downright infuriating with how slow it is, and their running speed is made even worse by their pitiful amount of stamina. Even more anger-inducing, the stamina recharges slower than an obese kid in gym class. They are pitiful, and playing them is actually the fucking worst.

On the other hand, Jason is fucking stupid overpowered! His movement speed is beyond any of the other players, which is made even worse by his infinite stamina. Plus, he has the ability to move in a blur, teleport wherever he wants on the map, spot any nearby players with temporary detective vision, and even straight-up kill people faster! If you’re playing as Jason, congratulations! You’ve already won.

“But that’s the point!” I can hear you yelling at me. “Jason is always ridiculously overpowered in the movies! He has to be OP in the games!” To which I say yes. That is why this game is good for fanservice. But it does not lend itself well to a gameplay experience!

In my entire time playing this game, the Camper team never once won a game. Sure, some players managed to escape and survive. But unless everyone manages to escape alive, Jason will still take the victory! The only thing that changes is that it isn’t a flawless victory!

This is where the game becomes incredibly frustrating! Unless the Jason player is directly attempting to help the other players succeed, they never will. You will never see a camper victory screen. This murders the longevity of the game completely!

The appeal of multiplayer games is the back-and-forth. Struggling to win and being able to do so decently consistently. The thrill of the game comes from losing a few matches, then bouncing back and claiming a few victories! If you do nothing but lose or win all the time, the game becomes repetitive and boring!

If the campers won so long as one or more players survived, then this would be much less of an issue. But as it’s built, it is nearly impossible to win if you aren’t playing as Jason. There is no competition, no hope for winning. All you can do is keep going until you escape, leaving your team behind, or you just die.

Sure, the campers can unlock extra perks that make them stronger. But even this has a caveat! Unlocking them via the in-game currency (not real-world currency, thank god) does give you a perk. At complete random! Even if you play fifty games to the best of your ability, you may still unlock fucking worthless bullshit depending on the RNG!

The game’s longevity is further murdered by the maps. There are a large number of them with a large variety of them. Unfortunately, they all feel exactly the fucking same! Every map feels completely indistinguishable from one another. Sure, some maps have boats rather than cars. But guess what? The boats are just cars but on the water! Mechanically speaking, they are exactly the fucking same!

If you’ve played this game as both the camper and Jason, then you have experienced everything it has to offer. The initial fun is fleeting, leaving you with a hollow, repetitive and boring gameplay loop that is neither scary or fun. This game was clearly made by huge fans of the films! But the film simply doesn’t lend itself to a balanced and fun multiplayer experience.

I would not recommend Friday the 13th: The Game. If you want a multiplayer horror game with variety, longevity, and balance, go play Dead By Daylight. If you want to play as an iconic horror/slasher character, then go play Dead By Daylight’s DLC. It is, in every way, a more realized, complete, and fun version of this mediocre game.

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