One of the struggles of making a good game based off a franchise is getting all the parts right. This is what separates a good game with a popular skin and a bad game set in a popular world from a legitimately good franchise game. Friday the 13th: The Game attempted to make the horror movie franchise into a rather unusual asymmetrical multiplayer game and it actually made a lot of sense. It plays out similar to how the movies do, except here it’s entirely too possible for Jason to win it all. Sadly, the original game suffered from some issues, which were corrected over the years. With all the DLC, improvements and a new console, will Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition be all it should’ve been or does the Switch version present new problems?
The core concept of Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition is fairly straightforward for fans of the slasher genre and its tropes. If you play as the malicious force known as Jason Voorhees, all you need to do is hunt everyone down and kill them. Those playing the helpless consolers need to do one of those seemingly impossible tasks for anyone in these movies, survive the night, escape, contact help or perform a series of tasks required to kill the seemingly unstoppable killer.
What makes the experience exciting and lends itself to the multiplayer aspect is the risk and reward system. A skilled player is going to have a vague idea of what someone is going to do. If you know the layout, have an idea of which tasks are being completed or just know where everyone is, you should have a good idea of how to counter them. This could be as simple as using Jason’s power to mysteriously appear where these kids are trying to escape or get near these locations to set traps and force them into making a mistake. There is no objective best or worst choice, giving players plenty to consider.
Often times it will come down to the situation. Even if you want to complete an objective, doing that is not without its own risks. Fast movement and anything that creates a lot of sound makes you an obvious target. Perfect for distractions, assuming you want to risk your life for everyone else, or a great way to hinder a good plan.
All this stuff leads to the biggest negative in Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition, it’s a lot of the same. Unlike a lot of other games, where the static elements are enhanced by the ever present metagame, there is only so much you can do here. A good Jason will break windows and create choke points that ultimately lead to a trap and then death. And players will use their skills and cunning to confuse and disorient Jason, ideally giving them enough time to make it out alive.
Except, these tactics only have so much runway. Some of the best tactics involve heavy use of traps, which ultimately means set up. It will be fun for a while and for certain players, it’s just a concept that doesn’t have a lot of runway. At most it will be fun until every match follows a predictable arc. This can be fun in a general way but won’t sustain the experience long term without some friends or a love of mind games.
Even with the short comings, it’s important to understand Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition is all about the love of the franchise. With all the DLC and costumes included, practically every version of Jason, plus a wide variety of iconic kills, are present. Consolers also get a fair bit of personality to play around with. Even a good selection of places present in the franchise are included. It’s small things like this that make this so much more than a cumbersome game that hopes to collect on the franchises name.
Considering this is a port to the Switch, it does come at a price. The look is somewhat downgraded and it isn’t the most natural or intuitive in terms of controls. Even the characters themselves go from looking okay to Jason-esque monsters when zoomed in on. This isn’t too surprising, if anything it is expected, just keep this in mind if these are a concern.
Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition comes down to what you find important. If you want to play offline with bots or just casually play as Jason, odds are you’ll get bored in an hour or two. However, if you have friends or have a love of mind games, there is plenty of things to do. Every match is less about finishing whatever task you decide to complete and more figuring out how to best your opponent(s). The gameplay style is a bit limited, as is variety but there is enough to see the value.
[Editor’s Note: Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition was reviewed on Switch platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]