The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Review
Extra Features: Online Multiplayer (7 players), Online Co-op (3 players/4 players)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre original 1974 movie still stands as one of the most memorable horror movies that I have ever seen. The characters in that movie are off the wall crazed and the final 20 minutes is absolute insanity. We’ve seen Leatherface make cameos in Mortal Kombat X and Dead by Daylight, but now he stars in his own game. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is an asymmetrical survival horror game developed by Sumo Nottingham and published by Gun Interactive. In every way, this game pays homage to the original movie and should be played by everyone that enjoyed it. Just watching this game start-up will let you know that it’s going to be good. It starts with a narrator reading yellow text that scrolls up the screen just like the 1974 classic. The video is grainy much like an old movie. The story to the game is rather simple just like the original movie. A college student disappears and her sister (along with her friends) set out to find her. Three players take on the role of The Family and four players take on the roles of the Victims. The Victims start out in the basement of the residence and must work together to escape the area. The Family must keep the victims from escaping. Both sides are so very fun to play.
Playing as the Victims is more like playing a survival horror with how you must sneak around and avoid the Family while trying to unlock doors. Each Victim starts with nothing. They must scavenge the environment for helpful items that will aid in their escape. Lock picks can be used to open doors, bone shards can be used to fight back against the Family (back stab) and there are also health items. Each map has four exits, and the Victim must find a way to open each exit. Some exits are guarded by an electric floor that is powered by a nearby generator or car battery. Some exits require Victims to find certain items in order to start up devices (switch panel or pressure gauge) to open exits for a few seconds. Hiding from the Family is crucial. Victims can get the drop on a Family member to stun them for a few seconds, but Family members can kill victims rather quickly. They are definitely to be feared and you don’t want them seeing you.
Each Victim has their own unique ability that is on a cooldown once used. Leland can hit Family members with a shoulder tackle to stun them, Connie can quickly unlock doors, Julie can run faster for a few seconds, etc. On top of this each Victim has their own skill tree with unique perks that can be purchased with skill points. Each Victim can equip up to three perks. Attribute points can be gained from the skill tree that will allow players to level up each attribute for a Victim. All Victims start with their own unique attributes, but they can be leveled up (to a certain amount) with attribute points. Each Victim can also level up their ability to make it stronger with additional effects.
The Family are a pack of killers that players can use to hunt down Victim. Your main goal is to keep ALL Victims from escaping. The Family can lock and unlock doors, start car batteries/generators, destroy obstacles and booby trap areas to keep survivors from escaping. Just like Victims, each family member has their own unique skill. The Cook has extra padlocks and can hear Victims in the distance, the Hitchhiker can set traps to damage and hold down Victims for a while, and then there is a Leatherface... the developers went all out on his overall gameplay. Leatherface is by far the most unique family member and the hardest family member to play. His chainsaw can be turned on and off and you’ll have to go through a cranking minigame each time you start it. His chainsaw has to be constantly revved so that it doesn’t quit. One of the best ways to play him is to constantly rev the chainsaw while running and chasing Victims since your attack on the highest rev does the most damage. This gives off a VERY Leatherface feel. He is also the only family member that can destroy large obstacles and doors.
On top of all of the Family members, there is Grandpa. If you’ve seen the movie, you know Grandpa is the best killer there ever was! He remains stationed in an area and family members must feed him blood in order to level him up. During the match, Grandpa will moan and be able to detect any Victim that is moving and show them to all surrounding the Family. Victims can stand in place for a few seconds to avoid detection by Grandpa. Once Grandpa is max level, he will be able to detect Victims no matter where they are and no matter what they are doing. Victims can fight back against Grandpa by stabbing him with a bone shard to incapacitate him for a few seconds and level him down. It’s important for the Family to level up Grandpa and protect him throughout an entire match.
The Family has a similar type of leveling setup as Victims. They share different (and simpler) attributes however. The Family each has their own “Grandpa Ability Slot” that will give Grandpa extra power when he uses his ability. Just like with Victims, a lot of different builds can be made and you can choose between different loadouts per character. The more you play, the more experience you gain. Each player has their own player level that levels up as well. There are also unlockables associated with performing certain tasks such as leveling up. Some outfits can be unlocked and there are exclusive still pics from the original movie along with concept art for the game.
The map design to this game is amazing. There was a LOT of work put into each map to set it up for both Family and Victim. There are many places to hide for Victim. You can hide in bushes and dark areas as you stealth your way through the area as Victim. Areas constantly have obstacles to take cover behind along with holes and cracks in walls that Victims can sneak through. The Family can damage holes in the walls or close them off to where Victims may not be able to use them. Victims can vault (slow vault) over dressers that are in the way to escape the Family, but Leatherface can destroy these dressers. The Family is able to lock a number of doors and gates to keep Victims from escaping. Victims have the option of hopping down wells to escape the Family (this basically resets gameplay), but this comes at a cost of health. Maps are reminiscent of the plantation layout for the original movie. There is a map for the Family house, Slaughterhouse and Gas Station.
As each match progresses, a Victim’s heart meter starts to go down since they all start out already damaged. When the heart meter has run out, Victims will start to bleed out and lose health every few seconds until they escape. The Family has some very gruesome death animations for when they kill off a Victim. By default, every family member has two death animations. Once three of the four Victims has either escaped or been killed, a dreadful tune starts as the last Victim must race for continued survival. So much pressure ramps up on the Victim’s side as the three family members struggle to find that player.
The game’s sound design is so very good. It has many sound effects taken from the original movie. All of the character voices are well done also. The voices for the family members are top notch. We even have Ed Neil returning as the Hitchhiker form the original movie and he sure hasn’t lost his touch. The overall design for the Victims and Family is fantastic also. Besides the characters taken from the movie, I really enjoy the original designs for both sides. The new family members (Johnny and Sissy) feel like they belong with the rest of the family. Sissy is so very psychotic. She hums tunes as she searches the grounds for Victims. Johnny is a serial killer and like a walking tank, but faster than Leatherface. Leatherface is still the star of the show though (and he should be). So much work went into him. If you get good with Leatherface, he is truly a spectacle to watch. He is just as animal-like as his movie appearances when played well. With map design, it’s amazing the amount of brainstorming that went into work for areas that aren’t shown in the movie. There was a lot of thought put into these maps.
This game has a wealth of information under its “Tutorial” menu, but the entire tutorial is all composed of videos. The videos are very descriptive and there are many for both sides of play. You can pause them while viewing them, but you can’t rewind or search through them. Only a few of the videos are narrated and the other majority of them just have text that appears on the screen. This type of game should really have some type of single player sandbox mode that allows us to explore a bit and get used to the feel of a Victim and the Family. The way it is currently, the only way to get a feel of either side is to go online with other players and experiment during a live match. This game has a LOT to learn when you’re new. It’s not as simple as Dead by Daylight’s objectives.
The game also has bugs and exploits at times. There are some random bugs that can occur. Your communication with other players can be cut off suddenly to where they can’t hear you speak. The game can crash very suddenly. Matches can suddenly disconnect without warning. On the topic of exploits, Victims can slam doors into the Family to knock them down and keep repeating it after a knockdown. Victims can also stab Leatherface from behind in his starting room over and over to where he can’t move (stun lock) since Victims are free to move before Leatherface.
The game promotes use of microphones, but you don’t have to use them. You can type out stuff on a keyboard and send it to other players and it will appear on the screen. You can actually turn off all online communication if you want. I would like to see some sort of in-game communication rather than microphone and keyboard. Dead By Daylight handles communication quite well with survivors in that game and I’d like to see some sort of gesture system or something else in Texas Chain Saw as well. Communication in this game is HIGHLY needed, especially for the Family players.
All of the problems can easily be patched. The game is not plagued with bugs, but they can ruin the experience for the moment. It’s still amazing how solid the game is overall. Right now, there is no ranked mode. You are paired with other players that are around your current player level however, which is good for balance. This is definitely a game that every Texas Chain Saw Massacre fan should try out. If you’re a fan of Dead by Daylight or Friday the 13th definitely give this game a try. It more closely resembles Friday the 13th, but it plays much better. It’s so very addicting and overall balanced!
+ Such an addicting game
+ Sound design is really good
+ Map design is clever for the type of game it is
+ Many different play styles to experiment with per character
+ Just an overall great Texas Chain Saw Massacre feel
- There needs to be a hands-on type of tutorial rather than just videos
- Exploits and bugs can ruin the experience
Final Rating: 80% - I must admit... this game made me a family man.
Note: A review code for this game was provided by the publisher.