The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a classic horror film that was shocking when it was first released in 1974. It gave the world horror characters like Leatherface and horrific topics like cannibalism on film that freaked out audiences. In the years following its initial release, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre has received critical praise for how it managed to terrify audiences without being graphic, garnering a large fan base over time. And while there have been video games based on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the past, it’s only gotten a few video game renditions in recent years. Sumo Nottingham has developed the first game (for PS5, Xbox Series X, and PC) that goes far in recreating many of the elements from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film, allowing players to hunt victims or escape the family just like in the movie. Does it end up being a successful adaptation on PlayStation 5? In some ways yes, but in others, not so much.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is an asymmetrical survival horror game that pits two teams against each other. Unlike other games that are similar and use a horror movie license, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn’t have one killer that everyone flees. Like in the original film, one team plays as members of Leatherface’s family, while the other play as victims. The teams are separated as 4 vs. 3, with more victims than killers. It’s a very different flow during gameplay than other horror games with only one killer, allowing teammates to work together in various ways to compensate for weaknesses when hunting victims. Yet on the other side of that, victims have to be much more cautious and work together to avoid multiple killers that can group up to take them out.
There are multiple family members and victims to play as, with a total of five options for both sides. Each character has their own abilities and weaknesses, with some definitely being more versatile than others. Everybody has their own stats with toughness, stealth, and specific proficiencies that factor into how they’ll impact a match. Overall, it can be tough controlling some characters during a match regardless of what team you end up playing as. It’s almost necessary to group up with another player if they’re playing a different character, especially if you’re playing as the family members. Every character moves at a somewhat sluggish pace, which can be a real problem when you’re trying to get away from a killer as one of the victims. The same can be said with the family members that can’t move very fast overall, despite being very helpful in doing other tasks outside of attacking.
But catching victims is not the only focus here for those who play as members of the family. A big part of matches for the family is gathering blood to give to Grandpa. This is important because the strength of Grandpa is directly tied to how easy it can be to find victims on the map. Family members can gather blood from canisters hidden on the map, or by attacking or killing victims with attacks. As they feed Grandpa blood and he grows levels, he’ll increase the power of family players and increase their awareness on the map, highlighting victim locations wherever they are hiding. In some cases, it can feel like matches are heavily tipped in the favor of the family because of this.
The toughest role to play in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is as one of the victims. A lot of teamwork with other players is necessary to successfully escape the map, and there are a lot of factors working against you. Every action you take from opening doors, searching for items, or moving around the area can trigger a sound and give away your position. Sometimes it can be to a huge detriment that not only will get you killed, but cost teammates the match. If everyone isn’t doing enough of their part to help escape, it can be nearly impossible to win. You’re also not given an indicator on where some objectives or key points are located, which can make it exceptionally difficult to interact with objects you need to find in order to win.
What makes some matches so difficult are the random hazards you have to deal with as a victim character. Noisy chickens, rattling bones that are hanging, and even metal doors and shutters can be your enemy. Getting spotted by the family fills up your screen with a haze that can make it difficult for you to see where you’re moving, which will often lead to your death. While this definitely falls within the overall theme of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it can make it difficult to play. This is why it’s vital to stay hidden when playing as the victims because getting spotted is almost a guarantee that you’ll get killed. There are some things that victims can do to get away, including crawling through areas that family members can’t enter, but it’s not always a helpful solution.
But it’s not all good for the family members as well. Some characters are prevented from entering certain areas, like crawl spaces and cracks, despite it making no sense that they can’t do so. Large characters like Leatherface are physically unable to do things like that, but others like the Cook visually don’t look like they would have a problem doing so. So you’re forced to find another way around areas when pursuing victims or hope that another teammate can do the job for you.
When you’re not in matches, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre allows you to customize the characters you play as. Finishing matches gives EXP to level up and obtain skill points to spend on new abilities and modifiers, which can help give an extra edge in some ways. Some boosts may feel more relevant than others in some cases, but you have freedom when customizing every character with what boosts you want to focus on. However, you need to spend skill points wisely. Some branches on the skill tree can be locked off if you decide to go in one direction or another, preventing you from getting any boosts in that area.
Abilities you gain can be equipped to a character before entering a match, as well as special execution animations for family members and cosmetic outfits. Some executions and cosmetics have to be bought from the online store and can’t be unlocked by leveling up from gameplay, while others you can gain simply by using the character a set number of times.
Playing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre requires you to be online. You’re not able to create offline matches with anyone, but you can make private lobbies for games with friends who are online. But you’ll often be going into matchmaking and getting grouped with others who are playing the game online. Finding a match doesn’t take that long, but can drag a bit when everyone needs to get ready before a match. The countdown timer in the lobby prevents people from delaying the game for a long time, but you might find yourself getting stuck in a game with one or multiple players down on either team.
This definitely changes the dynamic of the matches for better or worse, which can heavily impact how things will go. For some, this won’t be a big deal, but for others, it can make things very frustrating. In addition, if you’re not on voice chat communicating with allies, it can make matches very difficult to win, since much of the game requires teamwork to get things done.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a game that will appeal to those who love the original movie or fans of horror. But it won’t be anything special for those who enjoy multiplayer games online. If you’re already familiar with asymmetrical games like this, you may find some enjoyment in diving into this faithful adaptation of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. But beyond that, the experience you get in here won’t feel like anything that is beyond average.
What do you think of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre game? Are you a horror fan that loves to see video game renditions of classic horror movies? Let us know your thoughts about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the comments down below!
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The game is a faithful adaptation of what was in the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. There are multiple characters to use and gruesome death animations that feel authentic. But balancing issues in matches and some questionable design choices make some parts of the game difficult to enjoy.
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