The Chain Saw Massacre has a lot of potential but the limited licensing, the budget, and content release schedule all severely hamper the potential of the game itself. Compared to a game where you can play as almost every horror icon you can think of, it is very hard to hold your head above water.
Developer – Sumo Digital
Publisher – Gun Interactive
Platforms – PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series XlS
Review copy given by Publisher
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the latest entry of the online multiplayer killers versus survivor asymmetrical horror games made famous by Dead By Daylight. There have been a lot of attempts to bring more games to compete in this genre, especially utilizing horror movie franchises. The Evil Dead game which came out recently made quite an impression but fell flat after some time and I was a bit hesitant to really dive into The Texas Chain Saw Massacre due to the similar nature and restricted licenses that would potentially hold the game back from reaching its full potential.
The game is a sequel of sorts to the first film and you will see a lot of similar faces and locations during your time with it. While there are a very limited number of locations in the game, the maps are pretty well-balanced and designed to allow for mostly equal footing on both sides. Each character has specific traits and talents that allow for somewhat unique gameplay and tactics. Another nice aspect of the game is the skill trees for each character which allow you to make vital changes to the abilities and stats of each character to help balance out their weaknesses or excel even more in their strengths.
Each time you play the game, you start out in a very similar situation and try to begin to make your escape from your captors, The Slaughter Family. The odds are stacked against you as you start out with very few ways to make it out alive. Limited number of usable items, making too much noise, keeping still when Grandpa is using his sonar-like ability. It can be very overwhelming at first to get your supplies and learn the maze of the map.
Once you get top-side, there are even more challenges ahead such as finding which escape route you want to attempt, finding the specific tools needed in order to make your escape, and actually running out of the area to finish the game. You will need the help of your fellow survivors to really stand a chance, and everyone has to have a basic knowledge of the game or they will get wiped out very quickly. This can be frustrating as you are learning the game, especially if you are coming in at this newest update where there are so many knowledgeable players that have upgraded characters and know the ins and outs of the maps. However, once you put in the time and effort, you can begin to be more competitive. Even just surviving for a significant amount of time will reward you with a lot of experience points which is nice.
Using these experience points to navigate your skill tree and upgrade your stats and abilities is a fun aspect of the game and you can really put together some devastating combinations to make your character more deadly in the case of the villains or more tactical in terms of the survivors. The drive to continue to play the game was amplified by wanting to get more traits to become the best version of my character I could be. It’s quite thrilling to weave in and out of the tunnels and hallways avoiding the killers and it’s satisfying when you are able to make your escape. They did an excellent job with creating a rush with the gameplay for both killers and survivors alike.
The one thing that really worries me about the longevity of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is the same thing that plagues so many of the other games in this genre. Limited amounts of content at launch and the limitations set by the licensing acquired for the game. As it stands, they can only make content based on the original movies which leaves quite a lot of content to be desired. While they can make their own content and characters in the future, which they already have as of writing this review, I wonder when it will get to the point where it will lose the TCM feel all together and become more of a skin wrapped around another game.
Since launch, they have added two playable characters and 1 map but the player base has dropped pretty dramatically by about 50% per month. I am not sure that the budget and the release of content can satisfy this game to survive much longer. It has been out for nearly 4 months and is already at 1,400 average players on Steam. There are a lot of great aspects to the TCM game, but the limited licensing, the budget, and the content release all severely hamper the potential of the game itself. Compared to a game where you can play almost every horror icon you can think of, it is very hard to hold your head above water.