Bear in mind, that this particular game is still being developed on a continual basis thanks to some very dedicated developers and some cash handy fans.
So far, the offering which was for a while online only was a good one in a few strange unperfected ways.
Now that the game has reached shelves at game stores the expectation on graphic improvement, glitch removal and better vehicle handling as well as revamped Jason vs counselor interactions is increasing.
The core game-play involves being either Jason and catch and dispatching the counselors in a variety of ways or being a counselor and working by yourself or with other counselors to escape, call the police and flee or turn the table on Jason.
When you play as Jason you have a number of abilities which allow for movement across the map, these abilities have slowly decreasing refresh times as the game progresses they become shorter and the only barrier to catching the counselors can become poor planning.
Whilst for counselors as the game progresses and your fellow counselors get knocked off one by one, the fear increases and the amount of noise you make draws Jason ever closer unless the person who is Jason is AFK (Away From Keyboard).
This does happen sometimes where the person playing as Jason doesn’t do anything for several minutes.
Often though they come to life after a few minutes and surprise the counselors who had fallen into a false sense of security, so it’s important as a counselor to continually check the list of people in game to see who got killed and how.
The how is important if your Jason is controlled by an experienced player who instead of grabbing counselor for a gruesome finisher just hits them with his weapon, it makes having a pocketknife for those escapes pointless if he swings his axe.
There are a number of tools strewn throughout the many draws of each map, cabin and house that the counselors can use to survive the night – the best being the pocket knife which allows for escape from Jason’s grasp (unless he hits you with his weapon).
The stock standard items include a map, firecrackers, health spray and the walkie talkie, whilst the escape items include fuel, keys for the car, the fuse for calling the police, batteries for the car and the propeller for the boat.
The tricky part is that whilst holding the fuel or other vehicle parts you cannot hold a weapon to defend yourself against Jason so its risk versus reward.
Strategizing is key for counselors in their selection of skills to equip and the way they play with others and on their own.
With teamwork, all challenges are surmountable, with poor teamwork everything will go wrong and you may all perish, there is usually a mix of morally virtuous players and if you help them they will usually help you.
No game is unwinnable even if everyone else gets killed it is possible to outwit Jason and escape, the most difficult part is escaping after everyone else has already used the vehicles to escape themselves.
Often your fellow counselors do not do you the courtesy of voluntarily leaving behind their items for you, and thanks to an update, at the least they forcibly drop their items at the exits, however for new players, those items are as good as gone.
So is the game any good?
Yes sometimes it can be fun to escape and see Jason fail to get you, and when a game goes down to expired time and you survived by hiding in a closet then yeah there’s some satisfaction.
But the most enjoyable part is being Jason and facing a team of counselors who work together and still finding a way to pick them off one by one despite their intentions to escape.
Or when they are forced to either risk their own lives to help their fellow counselors or sacrifice them and escape.
Its this tension of doing the right thing that brings the game to life, the constant struggle between the selfish and the self sacrificing in a battle for survival against an unyielding foe.
And then you have betrayal where a counselor kills another counselor by either accident or design, granted that the aiming for the shotgun is crude and trying to shoot Jason whilst he is holding a counselor is a recipe for disaster (sorry stranger i was just trying to save you…).
There are limited variations between the growing list of maps, you will see similarities in terms of cabin design very easily but hopefully this will be adjusted as the game becomes more polished.
Other areas for improvement as mentioned at the start include clunky animations, glitches, car handling being abysmal, graphic anomalies in character interactions namely after being killed by Jason the dead body does like to fly into the sky.
The loading time for maps is long and my luck when searching for a game to jump into has been poor lately, maybe I am just picking the wrong time of day.
The skills are good although you require luck to roll the best ones and then more luck to roll the best ones in their best incarnation (no negative side effects).
I would appreciate an option to use in game currency to purchase the best skills and maybe still have random allocations of positives and negatives.
New maps would be great and I would love some Elm Street type suburb locales for Jason to stalk through with multiple houses on one street, as well an abandoned hospital location, a morgue, an insane asylum, in space, an abandoned high school at night or a shopping mall.
The scope for expansion and the potential to expand core game-play mechanics is evident, with interactions between counselors and Jason still lacking that movie touch (you should be able to speak to Jason with your favorite movie catchphrase).
This game is a labor of love, and there is still work to be done especially since the game costs $50 AUD and it’s not even fully developed, the onus is on the developers to meet the building expectations of fans or just be like EA and ignore them.
You should buy this game if you are a fan of 80’s horror films and suspense action, as well as if you were a sadistic axe murderer in a previous life.
Not for the faint of heart or the squeamish.
Thank you for reading
By Angus Tanis.