Friday the 13th – (PS4 Game Review)

In 1989, video game publisher LJN released the one and only Friday the 13th game for the NES. Based on the hit horror film franchise, you played as one of the Camp Crystal Lake counselors and made your way around the dreaded summer vacation spot to rescue children, kill zombies and ultimately face the man behind the mask himself, Jason Vorhees. Honestly, the game was done fairly well for its time and it was one of the earliest video games I beat.  Still, time marched on with gaming technology, but that late 80’s product was the only thing gaming fans of the demonic serial killer had.  Fast forward to May 26, 2017 and that appetite has been satiated.

In October of 2015, Gun Media launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund an updated and more deadly version of the 1989 game.  Over 12,000 sadistic pledgers backed the game, including yours truly, while we eagerly awaited the October 2016 release.  As with many ground-up projects on Kickstarter, there were the unexpected delays, which I have come to understand are just part of the territory.  The guys behind this game wanted to get it right, rather than rush out a project that looked unhanded and unpainted by the end of the day.  After all, horror icon Tom Savini was heavily involved while actor/stunt man Kane Hodder, the man who has played Jason on screen more than anyone else, provided the motion capture for Jason in the game.

On May 26, 2017, I was excited to find a Gun Media email in my inbox with the digital download code for my PS4.  There were no issues with the download and once it was complete, a simple reset of the system allowed the game to begin smoothly.  With close to half a dozen matches under my belt, it’s time to hit the review table.  The game has its fair share of ups and downs and I will be sure to cover them all here.



In the multi-player online game you can play as either a counselor or Jason.  Yes, you read that right.  You can be the machete-wielding bad ass supreme.  There is a Customization setting that allows you to pick who you would rather play as; Jason, a Counselor, or a third option that basically says it doesn’t matter to you.  Let’s be honest, we all want to play as Jason, which has actually created a drawback but I’ll get to that later.  For now, there are three maps to play on: Camp Crystal Lake, Packanack and Higgins Haven.  They are all different in their layout but there is a consistency to the multiple cabins that dot their landscapes.

There are multiple counselors in the game but multiple people can be the same counselor in the same game.  Each has unique stats such as luck, repair, stealth and stamina just to name a few.  As the game goes on and you earn experience points, you can acquire new counselors with better stats, in addition to altering the look of your existing counselors.  The same goes for Jason as there are a handful of versions available of him also acquired through leveling up.  Each of those variants also have different stats from one another.

For counselors, there are multiple ways to win.  You can kill Jason (not impossible but highly improbable), call the cops and reach their squad car when they show up, escape in a car or a boat or just simply hang on and survive until the clock runs out.  However, these actions are not as easy as they may seem.  For instance, the phone to call the cops is broken.  You’ll need to scour the map for the right part to fix it, just as you would for the boat (needs a propellor and battery) and the car (needs gas, a battery and keys).  In the case of Jason, there is only one path to victory…kill.  He must wipe out all the counselors before they can accomplish any of those aforementioned goals.





I couldn’t do this review and not mention the tools of the trade.  Counselors can arm themselves with a plethora of damage-inducing objects such as a big tree branch, a frying pan, steel pipe, monkey wrench, iron poker, baseball bat, axe, machete, flare gun, shotgun and even a bear trap.  Like the people that wield them, these weapons all have stats of their own which include stun and damage capabilities.  Stun works extremely well against Jason so weapons high in that attribute come highly recommended.  Counselors can also attack fellow counselors.  I should know.  I fell victim to one online turncoat who cracked me over the head one too many times with the baseball bat.

Jason has access to some, but not all of those.  The machete is a given, but he can also utilize a pitchfork, something that looked like a spear (most likely plucked from a fence in the game’s environment) and even other fixtures in and around the maps.  Case in point, I was not paying attention and got caught from behind by the unhappy Vorhees.  Next thing you know I was airborne through a window, landing on the glass shards.  Game over for me.  Sometimes his bare hands are deadly enough getting choked out or simply having your head compressed between his filthy palms.





Here is where I revisit that earlier mention of a drawback of everyone wanting to play as Jason.  With six matches played, I have yet to play as Jason.  I figured by that many played so far I would have accomplished that by now.  While it is random selection, it can be a little frustrating watching the same person play as Jason three times in a row.  Yes, I have my setting set to the “start as Jason” preference, but likely so does everyone else.  Still, that three-times-in-a-row nonsense was a bit over the top (with all the same players in the same lobby nonetheless).

That aside, let us get down to the nitty gritty.  Each match begins with the same animation sequence of a plaid-shirted counselor casually strolling down a dirt path at night to join his counselor comrades around the camp fire.  Jason pops up behind him, hacks him to death and the counselors scream and scatter in fear.  This repeat scene gets a little monotonous but it’s pretty brief so it’s no deal-breaker.  Once that ends, now the fun starts.

As a counselor, you can walk or stroll or flat out run.  While running gets you to where you need to go in a more expedited manner, it also makes more noise and noise attracts Jason to your position.  To start off the game, I like to take a casual jog through the environment, not too fast, not too slow.  Typically I’ll head to the closest cabin near my position.  A mini-map in the lower right corner of the screen reveals where you are as well as major landmarks (cabins, the car or boat, etc.).  When approaching a cabin, you can either enter through a door or a window.  If using a door, it’s usually wise to barricade or lock it once inside.  Unfortunately this prevents other counselors from entering through that door, but it does slow Jason down.  He’ll need to hack through it unless he’s in rage mode, in which case he’ll just plow through it at full force.

Once inside a cabin, you will want to search for weapons and items such as the walkie talkie, car battery, car keys, boat propeller or map.  In all honesty, I’m still trying to figure how what the map does since all counselors already start with the on-screen mini-map.  The walkie talkie allows all counselors (whose controlling players are using a microphone or headset) to actually hear one another.  This can help out ENORMOUSLY while playing.  As in real life, communication is key!  Keep an eye out for parts to to fix the telephone, transformer box and so on.  While fixing something or putting gas in the car, you’ll be prompted with what buttons to hit and when.  Hitting the wrong button creates noise attracting Jason.  Hitting the correct one advances your repair progress and keeps things quiet.

Inside cabins you can also hide under beds or inside closets.  There’s an additional ‘hold breath’ option to further throw Jason off your tail when he’s in hot pursuit of your soul.  I haven’t mastered the usefulness of the breath-holding feature yet as I caught an axe to the spine while taking refuge on one occasion.  I should’ve just rolled out and fought back.  Yes, if you are brave enough, you can go toe to toe with Vorhees. This is one of the game’s drawbacks I’ve found as the controls can get a little wonky in these situations.  You can be more than within melee weapon range of him while facing him, take your swing and viola!  Nothing.  I’ve found my hit success to be about 70/30 thus far with the former being my hit rate and the latter being my miss.

The  other flaws that jump out are big ones.  One, when you die, there is no re-spawning.  You can watch the other counselors or explore the campground cameras.  I’d add “if you want” to the end of that last sentence, but you really have no choice.  You either deal with spectator mode or turn the game off.  In defense of the game, this does make sense.  The point for Jason is to wipe out all the counselors.  If you kept re-spawning, there’d be no point for Jason’s goal.  Still, just sitting there watching and waiting for a match to end can get a little tedious.

Two, and this one is a doozy, finding a match to actually play in.  There is no single player option in this game.  It is multi-player all the way and waiting eight minutes to jump into a game, only to still not find one, is bad news. That alone dragged down this section’s score significantly.  Twelve thousand pledgers is a lot of people to play the game.  When you take into account they’re from all over the world, well, good luck syncing enough folks to fill a lobby and play.  Hopefully there are enough people and what I have been experiencing are just server growing pains for the game.  Time will tell.

There is one thing this game does incredibly well, and that is build tension.  Playing at 1 am with the lights off helps, but hearing Jason’s infamous breathing cadence of “chu chu chu, ah ah ah” is a little nerve-rattling, and once you hear that, you know he’s closing in on a counselor.  If you catch a little interference on your screen, like an old TV signal that’s not coming in, that means the goalie mask-wearing stalker is right by you…what are you waiting for, fool?!  RUN!!  Words do those moments no justice as I have not played a video game that creates tension quite as magnificently as Friday the 13th.  Granted, I’ve missed out on a lot of Resident Evil games that likely excel at that so take my opinion for what it’s worth.




As mentioned earlier, controls with weapons can be a little awkward because perspective just doesn’t feel natural at times.  I’ve missed with firearms at close range and hit nothing but air taking a swipe at Jason.  Opening doors and windows, barricading entryways and searching for goods is all rather easy.  Even setting the bear trap is as simple as 1, 2, 3.  It’s those frantic moments, however, when I need where I’m aiming to be where the bullet actually goes that get really frustrating.  Granted, the majority of the time things are good but a minor bit of retooling to smooth things over could go a long way during an attack.

Characters can get around with some decent agility as they turn and move.  Even when the turd hits the fan and Jason’s in the same room as you, you can find it easy to dive through a closed window just to make a quick escape.  Sure you’re health will take a hit, but some health is better than none at all.

There’s not a lot of variety in the game, and for how this title presents its gameplay, that really isn’t a bad thing.  You’re either trying to survive or kill everyone.  You get so caught up in the game’s undying sense of urgency that you get focused on your goals really quickly.  That said, for the things you do need to do, the controller results are mostly positive, but like I stated, in an emergency you might just be swinging at the night sky while you think you’re aiming for Jason.




The cinematic scenes are pretty cool looking and would even make non-horror fans stop and take notice.  Some of the skin rendering on a few of the counselors does look rather plastic though.  However, it’s the in-game graphics that count the most.  For the $30 I spent on the game, they’re somewhat sufficient, but could stand improvement.  Stepping into a bear trap instantly sprays blood up your paint leg.  A strike from Jason (or another counselor) leaves its mark on you as well.  This stuff doesn’t disappear either unless you get a hold of some first aid spray.  Kudos for consistency!

Character animation can look a bit unnatural though.  When you run, yes, that looks like a human running…with a hint of robotic-ness to it.  When you open a door, it comes across like a normal-looking action, as long as the counselor’s hand is actually on the door knob.  Grabbing air and watching the door close is a little awkward.  In addition, I’ve also experienced moments where Jason is on the other side of a door and his machete is already appearing through the door.  No, he wasn’t hacking at it.  As a matter of fact, he was just standing there with his bladed weapon protruding through an undamaged wall or door.

Cabin interiors are somewhat plain with a few actual photographs donning the walls in certain spots.  The natural landscape is more detailed with tall grasses that move when you run through them, while rocky terrain and tall deciduous trees make up a few of the many outdoor visuals.  If a midnight swim is on your agenda, feel free to take a dip in Crystal Lake and watch the water part ways and splash as you make your way through it.  Careful not to dawdle there though.  Jason is fully capable of creating an aquatic kill scene if you get my drift.




It would have been nice to give Jason a shot to provide a more comprehensive review.  I can tell you he has the ability to disappear and reappear elsewhere on the map, reminiscent of his clever positioning in the films.  Buildings light up red when there is noise present so it makes it easy for him to find out where the counselors are.  He also has one hell of a library when it comes to ways to snuffing out the other players.  Since I haven’t experienced that, I’ll just tell you I have a slight addiction to this game. It is fun and make sure you have your controller microphone connected to add to the experience.

The tension is fantastic, the soundtrack is very fitting, but the graphics are just so-so and that coin flip of “Will I get to play today?” every time I turn the game on is a massive concern.  Honestly, that could be the death of the game if there are not more people that jump on, more servers added (if that’s even part of the problem) and/or a one-player game added.  I’d love to see that third option more than anything.  Granted this game doesn’t have the following that something like Call of Duty or Battlefront does where thousands upon thousands of people are playing at any given time.  Still, one shouldn’t have to worry if there will even be enough people on today to put Friday the 13th to use. Here’s hoping.




After a few days of playing this, I have some updates to report…especially since I’ve logged a few go-rounds as Jason!  Since he is what everyone is clamoring for, I’ll start with that.  It is not easy to play as him.  Some people make it look rather easy when they successfully wipe out all the counselors on a map.  There are throwing knives scattered around the map that are stuck in various places.  An X-button prompt will show you when one is in your line of sight.  You simply walk up to it and yank it out of the log, pole, cabin, etc. that it’s stuck in.  While it isn’t easy, you can throw them as long as you’ve chosen a version of Jason that has the knife-throwng ability.

Grabbing people to execute a special kill move is also easier than it sounds.  If someone has a pocketknife, they can use it to instantly get out of Jason’s grasp.  Keep in mind pocketknives are few and far between in a given map.  If someone gets grabbed by Jason and they don’t have one, they have to hit the X-button repeatedly and rapidly to break free.  Unless the person playing Jason falls asleep while controlling him, it is virtually impossible to get out it.  So I wonder how so many people are able to kick free from me.  Once, I get it.  Nearly every other time I grab someone?  Ehhh…something’s up.  A less creative but more rapid kill is to just melee with the counselor and strike them down.

Jason’s regular abilities are pretty cool.  He can morph (teleport anywhere on the map), stalk (takes the alert music away that a counselor would hear when you close in on them), sense (check for nearby counselors and noise) and shift (zoom, not sprint, zoom a considerable distance to catch a counselor).  When using them, they need recharge time, which can be frustrating, but it’s just part of the drawback to not make Jason overly powerful.  After all, the counselors still need a fighting chance.  My big complaint is when there is one or two counselors left and at least one of them hides.  There’s no noise and you’ve got this massive map to cover while the clock is ticking down.  Camping brings down the game in first-person shooters and it does here as well.  It makes it virtually impossible for Jason to have a chance.

Okay, last bit on this update.  That 70/30 ratio I mentioned as far as a counselor’s successful hit rate on Jason?  Flip that.  That has become incredibly inhibiting.  Jason will be within striking distance, I swing and!  …get nothing but air.  That’ll be when Jason grabs me and it’s all over but the shouting.  #FixThat


5 Responses to “Friday the 13th – (PS4 Game Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Great review! I was not expecting this level of detail and I appreciate it!
    I’m very curious as to how the game play of this compares to Outlast? Have you played that one yet? I highly encourage if not. Kori who claims to be the biggest horror fan couldnt even take it. I remember when we first played I turned the lights out. In 30 minutes she was in the bathroom and said she couldnt take it anymore. It’s that scary! But it’s a horror survival game and there’s no killing Jason it’s saving your hide. Sad to hear the graphics are not great and even worse they pulled a Battlefront and released the game half done. I read that the servers were jammed on Friday and the guys were looking to add more. Play with my Las Vegas friend on FB’s team!

  2. Ray

    Is this Dead by Daylight? They look nearly identical but Dead By Daylight doesn’t mention Jason or Friday the 13th. Also the Jason character on the front looks different. Is that a knockoff?

  3. Gregg

    Sorry guys, I’m not familiar with either game. I can tell you Friday the 13th uses the Unreal engine but other than that, I believe this was built from the ground up.

  4. Gregg

    Yes, you can defeat Jason with force. It’s extremely difficult but not impossible. So it is not exclusively a 100% horror survival game.

  5. Brian White

    Stupid question, but it deserves to be asked for the uninitiated. This game is officially licensed right?