For fans of all things Jason Voorhees, any Friday the 13th on the calendar is a time for celebration and last week was no exception. With a physical release on shelves and free DLC for all players, the studio behind Friday the 13th: The Game helped ensure the campfires around Crystal Lake burned brightly.
The latest update to Friday the 13th is substantial. There's a new Jason based on his Final Chapter iteration, with his own movie-appropriate theme music and kill moves. A new map, "Jarvis House", features locations drawn from the same film.
New counsellor Mitch Floyd, based on hapless stoner Chuck from Part III, unlocks for all players when they reach Level 24.
Other new features include rain effects (currently it's random, but it will be able to be toggled on and off in a future patch) and a "push" ability for counselors. When teamkilling was removed from public matches, players were unable to do anything to counteract other players blocking doorways, but with this new ability you can shove the griefers right out of your life.
Free and paid emotes and paid DLC costumes weren't enough to entice me back to the game over the last couple of months, but last night I logged on to check out the new content. I admit, I was dubious, but if this update is a sign of things to come, Friday the 13th is only going to get better and better.
Jarvis House is the largest map yet. It can be difficult to get your bearings, as there's a fair amount of distance between cabins. Some are located on small islands, forcing players to swim (and thus draw attention to themselves) to reach them. Mind you, none of this is a complaint — there are advantages and disadvantages for both the counsellors and Jason. It may be easier to hide from the killer, but it's also more difficult to escape to safety.
Fans of The Final Chapter will find a lot to love on the new map, as it features two large, iconic locations from the film: the Jarvis House and the "party house" next door. There's a great attention to detail in both, including Tommy Jarvis' bedroom, complete with his collection of homemade monster masks. Each house makes for intense gameplay, as they're sprawling, multi-levelled, and full of rooms, both small and large, for hiding.
Once the option is available, I'll frequently have the rain toggled to "on." The flashes of lightning, peals of thunder, and pouring rain make for a terrifically spooky atmosphere.
As the game's rocky history might lead you to expect, the update has not been without issues. Despite the rebalancing and bug fixes cited in the patch notes, some players have complained about terrible frame rates when the weather effects are enabled, as well as invisible counsellors and crashes.
My game glitched when I joined a group mid-match, and I was stuck staring at a solid black screen for ten minutes. Illfonic is already at work on the next patch to fix known issues.
After playing for a while last night, everyone in my group agreed that the new content made us feel like we were just starting out again. The new Jason is imposing and his kills are gruesome, while new counsellor Mitch is an all-around solid character to play.
Overall the game feels fresh once more. It was as scary, fun, and exciting as ever as we ran from and stalked each other. Whether or not the feeling lasts until the next major update remains to be seen, but for now this Friday fan is happy to be back at Crystal Lake.