By Frank Portillo
The extremely violent and entertaining “Friday the 13th” was released Friday, which happened to be the thirteenth. The game gives players the ability to control the machete-wielding Jason Vorhees and hapless camp counselors.
“Friday the 13th” is currently only playable online and requires an internet connection and Xbox Live account. Having a headset can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing matches. Being able to communicate with the other players goes a long way as opposed to trying to communicate via flashlight and emotes.
The goal of the game is simple. As Jason, players must hunt down all seven camp counselors as they work together, or sometimes even against each other, to escape.
Players will spend most of the time as counselors and will be tasked with exploring different maps, containing locations from the films, to set up an escape plan.
The counselors each have different skill sets and specialties. The best attributes a character can have in this game are stealth, stamina and luck, which are crucial when getting chased by Jason.
What is most interesting about the game is the ability to work with counselors to overcome the killer, or to work against one another. The only time this works against a player’s advantage is when joining a party session. Players within the party will give themselves more time by divulging the location of the other players, creating an unfair advantage.
In each of the maps, there are four ways of escaping. Finding parts for a car, repairing the phone to call the police or repairing a boat are some of the different ways to escape Jason and win as a counselor.
Being chased by Jason can be a terrifying experience if playing late at night. While focused on completing the objectives, players will hear fear-inducing music indicating that Jason is in the area. Not seeking shelter can result in a quick death. It becomes especially scary when characters escape in a car and Jason suddenly appears in front of the car using his teleportation ability to stop the vehicle in its tracks.
The players in the car must exit the vehicle to escape before Jason pulls them out and executes one of the many murder sequences. The fear of running from Jason is beautifully realized in the use of music.
Playing as Jason is, by far, the most entertaining and stressful aspect of the game. Chasing counselors can be rewarding when players get to use the many different kill animations, which can be unlocked using experience points. Gouging out counselors’ eyes, decapitations, tossing them out of windows, throwing pick axes through their heads are some of the many options that players can use when customizing their Jason.
Like the counselors, there are different forms of Jason from the various movies, each with their own attributes depending on the player’s style of play. The forms are variations of costumes from the different movies.
When counselors are hidden in cabins, Jason enters the building by breaking down the door. Breaking down doors is a slow process that gives counselors the opportunity to flee.
Jason has different abilities at his disposal, which add interesting kinks to his hunt. While it may take some time to get used to, it gives players more tools when hunting counselors. The morph ability allows Jason to teleport anywhere on the map. It is mostly used to spawn at car locations, where counselors usually congregate. The sense ability gives Jason heightened senses and highlights the houses which contain counselors and even single counselors running from shelter to shelter.
When Jason enters rage mode, it becomes easier for Jason to enter buildings. He can walk through doors that normally take at least 15 seconds for players to break down.
While the game is currently multiplayer only, the game developers have announced a single-player option to be released for download later down the line. Also announced were new maps, characters, variations on Jason’s costume and kill sequences, which will be released through the next year.
Some of the only issues the game has stem from connectivity issues. At times, it feels like it can take up to 15 minutes to find a game to join, and sometimes games get glitchy. When connected with a great party, the game can easily be played for hours, as new ways to win are discovered.
“Friday the 13th” is rated M for Mature and should definitely be on Christmas lists this holiday season.