22nd Aug2019

‘Friday the 13th: Ultimate Slasher Edition’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

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Originally released in 2017, Friday the 13th: The Game was hotly anticipated by fans of the franchise and unfortunately shipped with some serious bugs and issues which marred the initial launch. Two years on and following a protracted court case, the developers have announced that no more content will be made for the game and the ‘Ultimate Slasher collection’ is the finalised version of all available content, effectively making it the full package.

Having originally played the game on a mid-level PC, I was pleased to see how the game ran on the Switch. I got more out of it this time around (due to the portability offered by the console) but the positives were affected slightly by network issues and, quite frankly, quitters.

For those new to Friday the 13th: The Game, it plays as an asymmetrical multiplayer game in that it is seven camp counsellors against the ominous and very singular figure of Jason Voorhees. The aim when playing as one of the counsellors is to evade Jason at all costs and try to escape by car, boat, radioing the police or by simply surviving until the timer runs out.

When playing as Jason, it is a very different experience, as the counsellors hide or try to radio for help / get petrol / tools to fix vehicles, you are an almost unstoppable force with various powers (there are several versions of Mr. Voorhees in the game, each with their own perks and negatives) ranging from teleportation and a sort of ‘killer sight’ to ‘shifting’ and a RAGE mode which unlocks halfway through the match which makes you very problematic for others indeed.

I’ll discuss the online aspect of the game first. When online, you get randomly assigned a counsellor or Jason and play the game as such and boy is it fun. Chasing down those pesky teenagers and murdering them in various, grisly ways; smashing windows so your victims wound themselves when diving out of them; hacking through doors and wrenching open cupboards; smashing fuse-boxes to terrify and scatter people…it really does feel like playing Jason Voorhees as he hunts down his prey, pushed forwards by the ever-present, maniacal voice of his dead mother.

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Should you play as a counsellor, the game play is totally different. You can slow Jason down by using firecrackers, baseball bats or sticking a screwdriver into his neck when he gets you but mostly….if he finds you, you’d better run. It is tense when those familiar tch-tch-tch-ah-ah-ah’s kick in, signalling his closeness, perhaps the screen will fill with static or your vision will blur through fear as you scramble away from his hulking frame.

Through each match you win experience points which you can use to unlock new deaths and weapons for Jason and clothes, perks and emotes etc. for the counsellors, this adds a nice twist and some longevity to the game through the reward system.

There are also offline modes to Friday the 13th: The Game, ranging from a virtual cabin (which has a lot more on offer than meets the eyes, let me tell you!) filled with information about the franchise to a single-player mode where you can play as Jason hunting AI counsellors, which is surprisingly fun; and finally, a challenge mode which sees you working through scenes from the movies and trying to complete certain objectives. I really liked this mode as each run-through of such short, snappy scenarios, trying to kill in certain ways or get a certain amount of XP to pass the trials really felt like I was re-enacting the movies (I have to say I’m not a particular fan of the series but I do find the look of the character and the music / sound design very iconic and enjoyable), I was completely in the zone.

There are some negatives, though. Due to how players are assigned, I came upon a LOT of games whereby they would start and then pretty much instantly finish due to people leaving as they weren’t assigned the character of Jason, this was a real pain as I spent more time than I would like hanging around in lobbies. I wish there was some sort of penalty to maybe push back against this but it looks like we have to live with it, sadly. I also had more connectivity issues than I tend to with online games and, although I’m giving the game the benefit of the doubt, I’m hoping these teething issues are short-lived as some games just seem to end due to network errors, meaning I’d lose the XP I’d gained in that particular match. Irritating.

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Aside from this, and some noticeable texture pop-in on the Switch and the battery being caned in 3 hours or so in portable mode (understandable due to the style of game), this is a solid PC port of the game that runs well.

In summary, I really like Friday the 13th: The Game on Switch. Bearing in mind I’d already played the game, it was really fun revisiting it for this review. Both sides of the game are balanced and just as enjoyable as each other and there is a lot here for the fans as the developers clearly hold the franchise close to their hearts (Kane Hodder did the motion capture for the ‘Jasons’ in the game, which is cool). Aside from some quitters and connectivity issues that hopefully won’t last, the core gameplay loop in Friday the 13th: The Game is strong, simple and keeps me coming back for more as does the excellent audio design. Make no mistake, this is the definitive Friday the 13th game.

Friday the 13th: The Game – Ultimate Slasher Edition is available on the Nintendo Switch now.

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