Jason vs. Bots
I returned to Friday the 13th: The Game today, only to find a substantial 3GB patch waiting to be downloaded. I last played in late December when I bought the game in a Steam sale. I stated in a blog post at the time, that the game was flawed and very much a work in progress. The patch has addressed several issues with the game; the most important one being offline play. You can now play Friday the 13th: The Game offline as Jason Voorhees against seven bot camp counsellors. It should be noted that you cannot play offline as a counsellor against a bot Jason. However, playing as Jason has a more complex learning curve, whereas playing as one of his potential victims is a lot easier to figure out. So I can understand why the developers opted for this arrangement. Hence, I spent a few hours this evening, fooling around offline, slicing and dicing various camp counsellors and trying to master the basics of playing a Jason. It did prove quite useful and I found myself far more prepared for online play as a result.
The bots have three settings, which broadly scale. On easy mode the bot counsellors tend to panic and run around ineptly. They’re often oblivious to Jason until he’s really close. On hard mode the bots are more proactive and will actively defend themselves. However, regardless of the settings, the bots at times can get stuck in loops or simply make incredibly poor decisions. On one occasion a counsellor threw themselves through a window to avoid Jason, only to then exit the hut and run straight back into him. I allowed this cycle to repeat a few times before I dispatched them. At present as I haven’t played much of the game, I only have a few Jason skins unlocked. I’m currently using the Jason from Friday the 13th: Part III. One of the advantages of this skin is that Jason has improved run skills. The bots on easy setting allowed me to experiment with the various grab kills such as Jaw Rip, Crotch Chop, Head Chop and Heart Punch. All were quite satisfying but there was no real challenge at this level. Hard mode facilitated a more credible gameplay experience. Offline play also affords you a great opportunity to learn the maps which is key to being successful in the game.
I was also surprised that offline play counted towards your levelling and progression in the game. You can therefore unlock new counsellors and Jason skins by playing in this mode. But playing with bots does have its limitations. The AI is still somewhat erratic, so you never get a 100% comparable experience to playing with other people. However, Friday the 13th: The Game attracts a lot of pubescent imbeciles which can make online play a little tedious. You find yourself having to mute everyone by default and abandoning games where players are more interested in pursuing their own agenda. Bots offer a welcome alternative to this. I suspect that later this year when this game finds its way into a discount bundle of some kind, the overall player population may be a lot lower. Thus, offline play may well prove to be a god send for those in time zones outside North America and Europe. Hopefully, the developers will expand this functionality further in future patches. It would certainly improve the longevity of a game that is essentially a one-trick pony at present.