Friday the 13th is one of the most iconic modern horror franchises in movies and is no stranger to getting adapted into a video game. It was only recently however that a faithful translation of the iconic atmosphere and look of the series were made in game form by developer Gun Media. Friday the 13th: The Game is an asymmetrical multiplayer game that has Jason hunting down camp counselors in Crystal Lake, with players taking the form of a teen consoler or the iconic slasher himself. It’s a tense and wild experience for everyone, but it can also have some technical problems that kill the mood all too quickly. Jason Voorhees might be nearly unstoppable by mortals, but he’s definitely not immune to video game bugs and glitches.
The biggest part about playing Friday the 13th: The Game is the power fantasy you can live while playing as Jason. Like other asymmetrical multiplayer games, it’s you versus a group of up to seven consolers and your objective is to kill them all before they escape. This can be fun if you have a full group of people all in one game. As Jason there are many different supernatural abilities that allow you to stalk, locate, and sneak up on your victims, while everyone else has to figure out ways to complete objectives and avoid being killed. The kills that Jason can do are both gruesome and over-the-top, just like in the films, with nearly every entry of the series getting represented in some way.
It’s a very faithful take on what you see in the movies, one that plays out very well when all things work properly. It’s a lot more fun to play as Jason for obvious reasons, but playing as the consolers can be challenging and more interesting in some moments where teamwork is required. Everyone running around can choose a few perks before the game starts that give them small abilities to help them and their allies out, some of which might even be helpful enough to kill the player who plays as Jason.
Much of this however can be stopped dead in its tracks due to various bugs and glitches that often get in the way of everyone’s enjoyment. The hit detection on both Jason and the counselors’ attacks can be inconsistent and really become a hindrance at the worst of times. You might have a weapon on hand to defend yourself against Jason and run away, but sometimes your attacks won’t always hit despite having a clean shot at the serial killer. The biggest hurdle that everyone will run into at some point is the camera, which can get obscured by objects and become a pain when you can’t reorient yourself to react to what’s around you.
The dark visuals and moody atmosphere are fantastic for a Friday the 13th game, but when the camera becomes your bigger enemy than Jason in every situation, it can pull you out of experience. In addition to all this, the game suffers from frequent texture pop-ins that briefly show everything in low resolution. While running around the stages during a game, the pop-ins can somethings obscure your view of things at a distance, as well as the placement of items you can interact with nearby. You can notice the same thing in the menus as well, which happen often despite not much being displayed on the screen.
The online multiplayer mode is what suffers the most from this. Getting into a match online doesn’t take long, but matches are plagued with latency issues that make every bug and glitch you find that much worse. Depending if you find yourself on a stable and fast internet connection, playing Friday the 13th online can be a hit or miss, often leading to games ending prematurely from players leaving early or timing out on their connections. This can make unlocking new outfits and bonuses for your own Jason a bit difficult. You can still play the game offline with Bots and earn the points needed to unlock new things, but you’re limited to playing as Jason and not the consolers.
The Ultimate Slasher Edition of Friday The 13th has all of the downloadable content from its original release included in one package for Nintendo Switch. All of the bonus outfits for Jason and the counselors, extra emotes, and additional kills Jason can use are what you get. Outside of this, the game is nearly identical as the original release on other platforms but can now be played portably with the Switch.
The controls on Switch feel good to use, but a few instances when using Jason’s abilities or interacting with items on the ground as a consoler can be problematic. Sometimes inputs won’t register and you’ll have to tap repeatedly before they finally do so. This also happens with the sprinting for all characters when pushing in the left stick, where some moments you’ll suddenly stop and walk before sprinting again, despite hitting the input to sprint the entire time. This could be another technical issue instead of a problem with the controls, but it becomes a nuisance regardless.
The best parts of Friday the 13th: The Game come from all of the series fan service scattered throughout the virtual camp. It’s here you can explore in first-person view, which has objects with trivia about the entire Friday the 13th franchise. The facts about certain props and behind-the-scenes info at the making of the movies is very cool and offers a lot of insight into the evolution of the films.
You can do a number of actions and discover hidden secrets that give plenty of nods to the whole series, some that hardcore fans are going to be surprised get alluded to and much appreciated love. If you’re clever enough to partake in a few specific actions to complete the camp experience, the surprise payoff is well worth it.
Friday the 13th: Ultimate Slasher Edition is the most complete version of the game, but it doesn’t do much to fix any problems that may have been in the original release. The bugs and glitches will impact any fun both online and offline, leading to games that don’t conclude or haphazardly end. If you’re able to look pass this as a fan of films, you’ll still enjoy seeing the franchise adapted in a very faithful way. The easter eggs and fans service is the most rewarding part of the game and worth checking out once you’re done stalking Crystal Lake. It might not be the best horror game out there, but it definitely understands and has a great reverence for the iconic franchise that it’s based on.
This review was based on a digital review code for Friday the 13th: Ultimate Slasher Edition on Nintendo Switch, provided by Gun Media.