I’m standing at the edge of the woods in the pouring rain. My path illuminated only by the moonlight and the occasional flash of lightning. My fellow Counselors are scattered around the camp, trembling, terrified, and sure of only one thing — there is a killer among us.
- What is it? Asymmetrical Multiplayer and survival game. Play as Jason or a Counselor.
- Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch
- Price: $39.99
- Developer: Illfonic, Black Tower Studios
- Publisher: Gun Media
- Multiplayer: Up to 8 players per session.
Friday the 13th: The Game Gameplay
It’s no secret that Friday the 13th: The Game had a rocky release back in 2017. The game was reportedly full of bugs, with awkward controls and no way to experience the thrill of the game outside of its online multiplayer mode. It received mediocre reviews as a result, and I’ll be honest that I wasn’t expecting much from the Ultimate Slasher Edition.
The game isn’t without its faults. The controls are still a bit difficult to manage. The environment proves to be more of a hindrance than you’d hope for a game where the surrounding rocks aren’t the primary antagonist. Furthermore, the game as a whole doesn’t have the graphical or technical seamlessness expected of a game released mid-2019.
Still, I’ve never been happier to be wrong about a game. The sheer power trip of being a nearly unstoppable killer as Jason combined with the excitement of being a Counselor trying to keep my cool while the ominous music heralding Jason’s presence reaches its crescendo kept me coming back to Quick Play again and again despite my faltering internet connection.
The Ultimate Slasher Edition also offers more content than the original version. It includes eight playable maps, eight different versions of Jason (nine, if you include the pre-order bonus skin), and fourteen selectable Counselors. This update gave me plenty of skins and locations in which to slay and be slain.
As Jason, your goal is to kill as many of the Counselors as you can in as many “schlocky horror picture show”-Esque ways as possible. I accomplished this by utilizing Jason’s four skills that unlock over time.
Morph, which instantly teleports you anywhere on the map; Sense, which clues you into the presence of nearby fearful Counselors; Shift, which pulls you into first-person mode and rushes you forward for its duration; and Stalk, which silences your proximity music and allows you to sneak up on unwary Counselors. Overtime (or with enough damage taken), his Rage skill also activates. Rage makes Jason far less susceptible to being stunned and damaged while giving him the ability to instantly break through any barriers that may be standing in his way.
In the midst of killing the Counselors, there are several things you can do to heighten their Fear and make them easier to catch. Jason can break electrical generators, set traps, break windows and doors, and disable the phone to delay the Counselors’ escape. The longer they’re trapped, the more chances you have to take them out.
And the Hunted
As a Counselor, your goal is to survive the night. Counselors can attempt to escape by repairing nearby vehicles or fixing the phone box and contacting the police. Other methods include simply trying to outlast Jason by hiding, setting traps, or attempting to fight him (which is significantly harder). Escape is the most efficient option, rewarding cooperative play among Counselors. For instance, three separate players who have found the car battery, gas, and keys can communicate and meet at the car to give all of them a better chance of escape.
Counselors begin each session with a set of established stats, a flashlight, and a minimap that shows them their immediate surroundings. Players that have unlocked certain Perks may start with more items that can improve their chances of survival. Even without the Perks, Counselors can pick up any number of smaller items scattered around camp. Aside from weapons with which to arm themselves, Counselors may also come across walkie-talkies, pocket knives, firecrackers, and a variety of other items that can be carried around for convenient access. Counselors can also activate radios to distract Jason, lock and barricade doors, or use the CB radio to contact Tommy Jarvis, who takes the place of a Counselor who’s already escaped or been killed.
All in-game content is level-locked, but the game’s universal leveling system rewards players with XP and CP (Customization Points). XP allows you to gain levels and unlock the various Jasons and Counselors. CP will enable you to unlock customizations that improve your stats and abilities as both Jason and the Counselors.
Jason offers many ways to gruesomely kill Counselors, all of which are unlocked from a list with CP. Counselor Perks are somewhat less straightforward — Perks are rolled randomly but can be applied across multiple Counselors once unlocked. If players end up with several undesirable Perks, they can be sold back for a small loss in CP.
Other unlockables include the Pamela Tapes, which are rare bits of lore that can be found throughout the game to offer players insight into the aftermath of Jason’s fateful drowning.
High Ground View
We’ve rated Friday the 13th’s three game modes: offline, multiplayer, and challenges.
Offline Play (4/10)
Part of the main appeal of Friday the 13th: The Game is its asymmetrical multiplayer mode. Of course, this is an experience that’s unfortunately lost in the offline mode that’s new to the Ultimate Slasher Edition. While you do get a guaranteed session as Jason, the fun of being an unstoppable force of violence is replaced by monotony upon realizing that the bots controlling the Counselors are incredibly stupid. In the midst of a chilling rage, I was often met with victims that would slowly wander into the woods alone after seeing me approach. Some would stand in place while opening and closing the same door as I hacked them to pieces with my garden shears.
To the game’s credit, the teens do get smarter at higher difficulties. In “Hard” mode, Counselors will pick up and use weapons more frequently, seek out smaller inventory items, and even begin repair work to initiate escape. The game becomes more akin to its online mode, but the Counselors are still a little too reminiscent of the “teens paralyzed with fear” trope to provide an enjoyable challenge in a game setting.
Multiplayer Mode (7/10)
Online mode is where the game’s real potential lies. The matchmaking can be a bit slow, but the intensity of the 1-v-7 multiplayer is definitely worth the wait (though the game isn’t committed to filling a room before launch).
Jason shines in multiplayer, with the thrill of the chase improved by having competent opponents to pursue. A player’s chances of playing Jason are significantly lower than their chances of being stuck as a Counselor for several sessions in a row — although players can set their spawn preference, the default mode is random, which only gives a 12.5% chance of playing as the murderer over being a terrified teen.
With that being said, Counselors can outwit and outlast Jason by working together to escape. As mentioned previously, the game encourages cooperation — since items appear randomly throughout the camp, Counselors that are working in tandem have a better chance of dividing and conquering.
Friday the 13th: The Game’s Challenges are as close as the game gets to a story. Players can act out Jason’s role in several orchestrated scenarios that allow you to kill Counselors in particularly grisly ways. These Counselors are smarter than their other offline counterparts, programmed to follow specific paths to fulfill the story or attempt immediate escape if Jason is revealed.
Players unlock new Challenges by fulfilling at least two out of three requirements — completing the Challenge without being detected, leaving no survivors, or by gaining a set level of XP achieved by completing the Challenge’s set goals. These goals prove to be the best part of each Challenge, as they frequently include triggering environmental kills for specific campers in brutally satisfying cutscenes.
Let’s take a closer look at the game’s specifications:
- Game Modes: Quick Play, Private Session, Offline Mode, Challenges
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
- Genre: Asymmetrical Multiplayer, Survival
- Developer: Illfonic, Black Tower Studios
- Publisher: Gun Media
- Release: August 14, 2019
- Price: $39.99
- Business Model: Game Sales
The game’s offline mode falls flat, but playing online (especially with friends) provides a fun and thrilling experience that rewards players with new levels and customization options.
Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition Review Verdict
Game title: Friday the 13th: The Game
Game description: Friday the 13th: The Game is an asymmetrical multiplayer survival game where one player controlling Jason Vorhees must use their abilities to track and kill his victims, the remaining seven players acting as Camp Counselors. Counselors must cooperate to fight Jason and the clock by collecting weapons and items to defend themselves or escape before they’re killed.
Offline Play - 4/10
Multiplayer Mode - 7/10
Challenges - 6/10
Friday the 13th: The Game provides mostly mindless fun that delivers above all in its online multiplayer mode.
- Online play is thrilling as both Jason and Counselors
- Universal leveling rewards play in any mode
- Offline play is tedious compared to Online multiplayer
- Difficult controls and bad frame rates detract from play