One of the most renowned days in horror lore is Friday the 13th and we are fortunate enough to be celebrating such an occasion on this very day of publication. What’s more suited for such an occasion than a review of Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition for the Nintendo Switch. Jason Voorhees made his presence felt on the other platforms in recent years; but he’s come to the Switch in Ultimate Slasher form, as the Switch release features the main game, all the DLC, plus the clothing, costume and emote packs. This complete release makes killing on the Switch an enjoyable endeavor and having Friday the 13th available for portable play sessions somehow makes this campy romp even more entertaining.
Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition is a genuine Friday the 13th experience, as it retains the cliché feel of the films. Nevertheless, it still manages to provoke moments of terror via jump scares and a sense of dread as you are stalked by a cold and calculating Jason Voorhees. Much like the films, the premise of the game is that a group of camp counselors must either escape the campground without being murdered by Jason or by killing Jason. Both methods require patience and teamwork to coordinate an effective strategy, or you could be selfish and escape on your own and leave your fellow counselors behind to fend for themselves.
In a way, Friday the 13th isn’t only a game based on the film series. It is also a video game adaptation of The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition assigns the role of camp counselor to up to eight players, while another player gets to play as Jason. In Connell’s short story, the premise is that of hunting man and having to outsmart the hunter. That’s what Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition challenges all players to do. The camp counselors must use their wits to outsmart the player assigned to the role of Jason; while the Jason player must stalk, trap, track, and outfox each camp counselor.
A match of Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition opens with an NPC counselor being murdered, resulting in the other counselors to flee for safety. The game then transitions you to your assigned role of either Jason or a counselor desperately looking to survive the night. Counselors have free reign to trek the location, explore cabins and other onsite locations to search for and gather supplies to aid them in their escape. Depending on the map, means of vehicular escape will vary but the general path to victory will come in the form of car repair, boat repair, call the police, survive the night, or by killing Jason.
Playing as a counselor is engaging and requires you to think ahead but also on the fly. Finding walkie-talkies will let you communicate with other counselors (if you have a microphone plugged into your Switch), though the most useful item will be a map of the location. Finding a paper map will allow you to see all points of interest on the stage – meaning, you’ll know where the car or boat are waiting, locations of all the cabins, items other players may have dropped, and even Jason’s location if he has been tagged by a flair gun.
The sole player that gets to play as Jason is tasked with a far simpler goal: kill every camp counselor and make them suffer. Jason is equipped with traps, weapons, and supernatural powers that reflect the film version of Jason chosen by the player. Although Jason holds the advantage over the counselors, you never feel all-powerful. Counselors can find items to temporarily trap Jason or stun him long enough for a quick escape.
While the counselors must use logic and plan things out, the player of Jason can mostly rely on Jason’s instinctual skills. If there is a noise disturbance in the area, Jason will get an on-screen prompt showing the direction of the commotion. The noise could be a counselor running or it could be a distraction set up by a player in the form of loud music. These little mind games add to the experience and build on the premise of hunting another person. Every player is looking to outsmart the other. The experience Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition offers is unlike any other online multiplayer game. It feels personal and the experience is never the same thing twice.
Even though the core gameplay experience is enjoyable and unique, the game does have some performance issues. Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition suffers from the occasional bug and glitch. An abundance of these glitches and bugs result in comical outcomes, like having a player get stuck in a wall or watching Jason brutally murder the same player several times in a row. These problems aren’t exclusive to the Switch version and kind of add to the game’s charm.
One area that Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition falters is in its offline mode. Offline is the same as the online mode but lacks that special feeling of hunting another actual person. Offline is good for learning the controls, map layout, and skills of Jason, but the main appeal of the game will rest in the online. As of now, the online community is active and there has been no issue finding a match. The community is vocal, and players are willing to communicate and work together to achieve a common goal: surviving and escaping Jason.
Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition for the Nintendo Switch is the online experience the platform has desperately needed. It’s engaging, it’s addicting, it’s everchanging and it is unlike anything else on the system. Overcoming the odds and escaping Jason is a thrilling chase that will get your adrenaline racing. You never know what is going to happen in Friday The 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition and that is what makes it so appealing. No two games are identical. It’s a killer game and, if given the chance, one that will slay your free time.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Gun Media