Rectify Gaming

Friday the 13th: A Camp Crystal Lake revival

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you’re like me, you can agree that the world has been without Jason Voorhees (the mama’s boy with a penchant for blades) for far too long.  Lucky for us, the crew from Gun Media and Illfonic has created their opus to the Friday the 13th franchise.
May 26th, 2017 – The flood gates opened on the Friday the 13th servers.  The demand was so high that it created havoc with the servers on all platforms, leaving quick matches to be broken and private matches to be the main way of accessing the game.
The fans complained (as we tend to do) but unlike many companies in the industry, the small crew from Gun Media and Illfonic kept an open dialogue with fans of the newly launched game via social media outlets and automated email updates.  I have been a gamer most my life, and at the age of 35, I can say without a shadow of doubt that the developers’ transparency with their install base has been a breath of fresh air.
While many of us were enjoying a nice Memorial Day weekend, the devs were working hard at patching the troubles with the servers and quick matches.  Not a day went by without constant updates and responses from the team to even the harshest of critics.  Titles with much larger teams and publishers have gone radio silent when faced with similar circumstances.
So why should you give Friday the 13th a chance with the mentioned above launch problems?  Read on and I will take you on down to the depths of Crystal Lake itself:
I am admittedly a horror genre fan in all things, and when I realized FT13th was nearing launch I binged all the films from part 1-10 including Freddy vs Jason and the 2009 Friday the 13th film.  During my binge, I took notes of particular key locations and of course the iconic kills.  Why you might be asking yourself?  I’ll get into that right now.

Let’s first dig into the history of the game.  The game was originally to be developed as Slasher Vol. 1:  Summer Camp by IllFonic in mid-2015 (Gun would be the publisher).  Now jump over to Gun Media who were in talks at the same time with Friday director Sean S. Cunningham to obtain a license to develop an FT13th game, and after a series of meetings, Gun successfully acquired the rights.  Slasher Vol. 1: Summer Camp quickly evolved into Friday the 13th: The Game – and funding from both Kickstarter and BackerKit raised approximately $1,095,143.40 USD, becoming the 124th most successful crowdfunded project of all time.  FT13th is also the first IllFonic game to utilize Unreal Engine 4 after their departure from CryEngine following Project Advena.
camp crystal lake
Now if you’re a fan of the movie series you would know that nabbing Sean S. Cunningham as a producer is a pretty big deal. I mean come on, the man created Jason freaking Voorhees!  So, being a small studio looking to enter with a bang, what do you do next?  How about snagging Harry Manfredini, the composer behind the FT13th films to compose the music for the game?  Still craving more for their fans, Gun and Illfonic reached out to special effects wizard Tom Savini (special effects artist on FT13th part 1 and 4) for help with Jason’s design as well as his counselor kills.
Jason Rotting
Realizing you can’t have just anyone step into the motion capture suit of Jason, the crew needed one more person to create their slaughter team.  Enter Kane Hodder, who portrayed Jason in Part VII, Part VIII, Jason Goes to Hell, and Jason X – reprising his role via motion capture as well as acting as the coordinator for stunts.  If that wasn’t enough Jason nostalgia, actor Thom Mathews (who portrayed Tommy Jarvis in Part VI) also reprises his role in the game.  Check out the video of Kane in action below.

Long gone have been the days that people clamor for their mics in online gaming. We owe this to what many would call the CoD effect (where players leave their headsets on and the rest of us have to listen to all of their distracting background audio, or worse yet, when the obnoxious individuals themselves spew curse words and racial slurs just to get rise out of others).  So, what happened?  People quit using them and the world of gaming lost part of its connective magic.  Now games like Destiny have started bringing the mic back to the forefront of gaming, but I will tell you games like Friday the 13th are what proximity chat are made for.  Whether you are playing as Jason, or as a counselor, the proximity chat is your friend.  The stories that will come from this game’s use of proximity chat alone make this title a water cooler conversation starter.  I guarantee either you or someone you run into will for sure bust through a door and say the “Here’s Johnny!” line made famous by Jack Nicholson’s role in The Shining when he axed through the door and uttered the famous Johnny Carson intro.
So why should I play if Jason is the only fun character?  I can honestly state that the fun is damn near equal playing as a counselor or as Jason because the fear is real.  There are multiple versions of Jason from various entries of the film franchise.  Each Jason plays a bit differently, with a different weapon and perk set. Same goes for the counselors – one counselor is different from the next, with various perk sets like higher stamina for being the “bait” while another counselor may be slower but extremely good at repairing things.  The key to playing with success is a well-rounded team.
Of course, when you are in a group hiding away, or trying to make a run for the car/boat, or the police have made it to the camp and your small group of survivors are trying to bypass Jason’s wrath – the banter between players (especially if one of you gets caught) is stuff you won’t find anywhere else.
hello is this the john bon jovi lookalike line
I had one round where another player spawned back in as Tommy after having his counselor character beaten to a bloody pulp in a sleeping bag (all the while screaming at me because I was in the tent one space over).  His sacrifice gave me and the rest of the counselors just enough time to make our way to the police at the edge of camp.  Along the way, the remaining six of us were thinking “This is it, we have it in the bag…”  That might have been the case – if this was merely some generic murderous hillbilly hunting us.  But no, this was Jason mother F-ing Voorhees, and he had set traps along the way.  One counselor set off a leg trap and managed to get free only to set off another while limping towards the flashing blue and red lights of safety.  I had a flare gun, so I figured I could slow Jason down with a shot to the head… BOOM!  I fire off the flare, and it was a miss!  The injured counselor said a couple of comedically timed explicit phrases just as she was lifted by her throat and Jason ripped her heart out of her chest.  This caused our counselors to start tripping all over ourselves, as we had depleted most of our stamina pools.  Enter the hero, Tommy Jarvis, to the rescue.  I was being lifted up by my face, sure to be the next casualty of Pamela Voorhees’ vengeance exacted by her undead son Jason… then the loud KABOOM of Tommy’s shot gun went off, stunning Jason long enough for me to stumble my broken arse to the safety of the police line.  So, the cool thing here was the counselor who was killed in the beginning was brought back after one of the remaining counselors called over the radio for back up.  This randomly picks to revive an escaped (or dead) counselor to spawn in as the toughest counselor type character in the game – complete with a single shot shotgun.  Alas, Tommy used his only weapon he had in my defense and was soon axed and quartered in a gory stream of laughter from all that managed to survive.  At its core, Friday the 13th is truly an adult oriented game of hide and seek which 8 players can experience together.  With the early launch issues, Xbox’s clubs really shined as the go-to place to find games.  It rarely took me more than two minutes to find a game through the club’s system.  This has also added a ton of people to my friends list, and we have all thoroughly enjoyed playing this game together.
Jason searching
Okay so how is it now that it is patched?  I rarely get disconnected now and I typically find a lobby in about 15 -35 seconds.  There are still some glaring issues like being kicked from a match because the host leaves (which they are addressing in another patch soon by implementing host migration).
The bottom line is that this game has (despite its issues) given my hours of fun. The attention to detail this game possesses has been amazingly entertaining and nostalgic, pulling me in deeper and deeper every time I pick up my controller and hear the Ch ch ch, ha ha ha” sound effect over my Astro A-40s.  Gun Media and Illfonic have created a rare gem that bypasses its glitchy launch, and delivers a true-to-filmography experience for many fans, both old and new, to take part in the realm of Voorhees.
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][review_summary positives=”Great game play weather you are playing as the counselors or Jason. A good team will have you coming back for game after game until you realize you played through the night into the next morning.” negatives=”With a small amount of maps some players may find the game a bit repetitive. Also there is no single player/ offline mode at the time of launch (Jason Vs Bots comes later this summer)”][/review_summary][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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