Friday the 13th: The Game
By: Tara Donahue
As a child of the 80’s, I grew up with the Friday the 13th movies. I was absolutely terrified of Jason Voorhees and had many nightmares of that hockey mask and haunting music, which incidentally is not “ch-ch-ch ha-ha-ha” as I’d always thought. In fact, it’s actually “ki-ki-ki ma-ma-ma,” which composer Harry Manfredini has said is meant to resemble Jason’s voice saying the phrase “kill-kill-kill mom-mom-mom.”
When I heard about the game coming out, it was a must buy for me. I missed out on the Kickstarter that actually made this entire project possible (and I’m still kicking myself for that), but I wasn’t missing out on the actual game. I bought it the very day it was released and, apparently, I was only one of many thousands. The developers had accounted for triple the number of Kickstarter backers for their servers and ended up, on release day, with something close to triple that number. There were so many people trying to play the game on that day that it overloaded the servers and made it virtually unplayable for many. Personally, I didn’t get to play my first match until five days after release. Not only was I not able to get in, but I also wanted to allow those working on getting it resolved the time to do so. These developers worked tirelessly and spent many sleepless days and nights trying to get this resolved for all those wanting to play.
The first few weeks were plagued with issues. The game suffered crashes, the inability to use the quick match features, glitches and other bugs. Despite the issues, there was always the option to create a private match and invite your friends to play with you. Additionally, there was the option to post a looking for group (LFG) post in the game hub on XBox. This enables you to state what you’re looking for and who you want to play with. This feature allows you to choose different options and hashtags such as adults only, mic required or join through profile and the always fun random Jason. I’ve never seen this many LFG posts for a game, which speaks to the following this game has acquired in such a short amount of time.
In those beginning weeks, I did something that I don’t typically do with a game; I joined strangers and even got on my headset and mic to talk as I played. I made some new friends and, like with any multiplayer, I encountered some I hope to never encounter again. Once I managed to convince several of my friends to buy the game too, I was able to just start playing with them.
The game is, for the time being, solely a multiplayer game. You play as one of ten counselors, all with their own strengths and weaknesses, and you earn both XP and CP each match. The XP levels you up and the CP allows you to roll perks. You can equip three perks at a time on your counselor. They range from poor all the way up to epic and includes things like “My Dad’s A Cop,” which enables a certain percentage of time to be shaved off if you are the one to call the police. That’s just one of many different ones you can obtain through spending 500 CP a pop to roll for perks. You can also sell them back and get some of your CP back for ones you don’t need or want.
The same system is in place for Jason. You have different Jason’s throughout the span of the different films, all who have their own strengths and weaknesses. You can use your CP to purchase more elaborate kills for him. These range from 200 CP up to 2500 CP and it give you a little more variety for your kills when you play as Jason.
Playing as a counselor, you have to try and work together with the other counselors to try and defeat Jason. There are three different maps (Camp Crystal Lake, Higgins Haven and Packanack Lodge) and each one features different ways to escape. There’s the two door and four door cars, which allow that number of counselors to pile in and escape by driving out of the camp. There’s a boat, which seats two and you can drive it out. You have the option to call the police and wait the allotted time and try to make it to the exit they arrive at before you meet your untimely end. Also, there’s the option to try and hide and survive the twenty-minute match.
These escape methods aren’t as easy as you’d think, though. The cars need a battery, gas and a set of keys. The boat needs a propellor and gas. To call the police, you must find the phone fuse and use it to repair the phone box before you are able to call them. The items, along with weapons you can use, maps and walkie talkies to communicate with other counselors where Jason can’t hear are spread out over the camp in the different cabins. You must search for them and try to get them repaired before Jason can kill you.
You also have the option of calling for help via radio, which brings in (usually after 1-2 people have died or escaped) Tommy Jarvis. This is a character from the films, the only person to ever defeat Jason. In the game, it’s just the same; he is the only one who can kill Jason. However, it isn’t easy and there are many steps required to do so. I, myself, have never done it. Though, there are a few out there who have and some videos (I may or may not have watched) on YouTube to help so that maybe one day you could succeed in killing Jason yourself.
The goal with the counselors is to either escape or survive, but with Jason, the goal is to kill. You use a variety of abilities to help you with this and there are many different strategies I’ve seen Jason’s out there use. You can morph to different areas of the map, use his sense ability which highlights the cabin someone is hiding in a bright red color or the counselor themselves in the same color when they’re hiding in the woods nearby. He can also use shift, which allows a fast travel if a counselor is running ahead of you. Use this and you catch up very quickly. The mechanics of this one take a little getting used to and there’s been many times I’ve shifted way ahead of the counselor I’m chasing. There’s also the “stalk” ability, which you can activate to keep that scary music from playing that alerts the counselors that you’re near. This allows you to catch them by surprise.
Playing as Jason also lets you kill in a variety of ways, depending on what your choice and strategy might be. If a counselor is hiding in a cabin, you can smash out all the windows and this injures them when they try to crawl out to escape. You can chop your way through the door to get inside to them, though halfway through the match Jason’s rage ability activates and he can simply walk through the door with an easy button press. When you catch up to a counselor, you have the choice to simply keep swinging whichever weapon the Jason you’ve chosen is equipped with until you kill them or you can grab them, pressing another button to use one of your special kills. Or, if you’re near certain environmental things, you can use those to assist you in your kills. One of my favorites is using the fireplace, which gained me a “Cooking With Jason Voorhees” achievement.
There are still some issues that need worked out on this game. Some technical ones that cause the game to crash and send me back to the XBox Dashboard and some involve players out there who use glitches to cheat and survive and those who go around killing other counselors. Those latter ones make the game frustrating and annoying, but there are plans in place to deal with those who don’t play the game fair or responsibly in the form of banning them from the game. To be honest, I feel that is a very fair way to deal with the ones who go out of their way to cheat or purposely kill those on their own team.
Other than these things, the game is a lot of fun and highly addictive. I’ve played many matches at this point and I plan on playing many, many more. I look forward to the single player mode they’re going to add later this summer via a free update for those who’ve bought it and to all the plans they have to make this great game even better. Until then, I’ll be out there, trying to survive or finding ways to escape Jason. Or maybe keeping you from doing the same.