Platforms: PC, PS4 / PS5, Xbox One / Series X|S
Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of Tobe Hooper’s genre-defining slasher flick. And, proving there’s plenty of buzz left in the chainsaw, this new game taps the iconic Leatherface and his cannibal clan for a fresh cut of multiplayer terror.
That means there’s no story here, be it adaptation of the original film or attempt at crafting a pseudo-sequel. Instead, like publisher Gun Interactive’s Friday The 13th: The Game before it (now shuttered due to rights expiry) or ongoing horror fave Dead By Daylight, this take on the horror classic is essentially a grisly game of hide-and-seek. Each match sees three killers hunting down four victims. Members of the Family must stalk innocents while harvesting blood to feed to the terrifying, desiccated husk of patriarch Grandpa, while Victims — a cast of brand-new creations — have to bandage wounds, disarm traps, and seek routes to safety.
It’s far more fun to play as the Family – Leatherface possesses every bit the brutal menace of Gunnar Hansen’s towering butcher.
Although every character has unique skills to master, with Victims such as Ana Flores — the obvious Final Girl, were this a film — being able to weather more damage or Leland being able to stun most killers, it’s far more fun to play as the Family. Leatherface possesses every bit the hulking, brutal menace of Gunnar Hansen’s towering butcher, able to destroy obstacles and mutilate fleeing teens with his signature chainsaw, while the Cook uses keen senses to pinpoint victims’ locations, and the Hitchhiker sets traps.
It’s newcomers Johnny and Sissy who make a bigger impact, though. Both feel perfect additions to the deranged Family — no surprise, given they were designed with input from original screenwriter Kim Henkel. Johnny is “the closest to a traditional serial killer”, able to track and pursue his targets. Meanwhile, Sissy is just psychotic, implied to be a former member of the Manson Family, and fond of poisoning victims before slashing them with a scalpel, singing country ditties to herself all the while. Lovely.
Unfortunately, being online-only means being at the mercy of unpredictable servers. And even once you’re connected, despite there being plenty here to evoke the nerve-jangling tension of the source material, a sense of repetition soon sets in. With only three maps to hunt on or escape from — the Family’s house and gas station from the movie, plus a new slaughterhouse location — and a limited combination of characters, you’ll soon feel like you’ve seen all the game has to offer. With the game’s adaptation rights limited to only what was in the 1974 film, as opposed to anything else from the series, don’t expect that to improve much, either — sorry, Chop-Top fans.