Adapting the classic 1974 horror movie Texas Chain Saw Massacre into an asymmetrical multiplayer game might seem odd at first glance, especially when the team setup isn’t the same 4v1 we’ve grown accustomed to with the popular Dead by Daylight, but rather the same weird-sounding 4v3 arrangement. However, it works exceptionally well in practice, creating a tactical, tense, team-based multiplayer experience that favors brains over brawn. Whether you’re part of the Victim team of four trying to escape or the serial killer family trio trying to take them down, Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s modified asymmetrical multiplayer format already plays very well, and the 4v3 format is a great match for the movie license it’s built around.
Developer/publisher Gun Interactive promises more maps for launch next year, but for this preview session, I played half a dozen rounds in Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s most recognizable location: the rural Texas home in which the film is set. Victims start in the basement, and teamwork is encouraged and dare I say vital; there are only a few exits from the basement and only two exits from the house once upstairs. In other words, there are only two ways to win. Yes, only two, because Victims cannot kill the Family but only stun them, which further affects the balance of power. They can, however, slip through tight gaps in walls and hide under barbed wire traps.
Texas Chain Saw Massacre – September 2022 Screenshots
Meanwhile, characters on both sides have unique skills. While the cook can eavesdrop on non-stealth victims and add locks to doors for the family, which takes victims longer to get through, Connie, for example, has the unique ability to break a lock instantly. It can literally be the difference between victory and defeat, as on my last lap I was chasing Connie as she headed for the backyard door – I just wish I had footage of that. Anyway, she was the last victim left after we stabbed all her friends. However, my stamina plummeted and Connie reached the door right in front of me. And with that skill she kept in her back pocket, she immediately stepped through the lock, through the door, and escaped triumphantly. Without this advantage, I would have had enough time to claim one last victim – and victory for myself.
Meanwhile, the franchise’s Leatherface is tall and not nimble at all. But he can use his chainsaw to cut through doors and destroy crawl space entrances and exits so victims have fewer navigation options. I reveled in his ability to spin his chainsaw and how that relates to the power of his attacks. Throw your saw at a victim without spinning it and you’ll do some damage. Turn it too high for too long and it will stall. But if you catch the rev range sweet spot, you’ll get a one-shot kill, complete with a quick and macabre cutscene. (Note that you can also turn off the chainsaw so you can move around more stealthily as the big guy.) From first-hand experience, I can tell you that it’s extremely satisfying. In addition, rotating it around the house allows it to sow terror very hard in the hearts and minds of the victims. He’s my favorite character so far.
Finally, the hitchhiker is the most skilled and serpentine of the serial killer trio. He can get through those same little cracks and crevices that victims can, and I made sure to use his agility to dash around the front yard at the start of the game, igniting the gas-powered generator that powers the electrified security system guarding the way to the road. He can also set traps that are guaranteed to slow down victims – either trapping them directly or placing them in places where teens have to spend time disabling them.
The three family members are wise to collect blood around the house – as well as victims – in order to feed Grandpa, the non-playable family member who acts as a sort of all-seeing eye a la Sauron. like blood. you feed it levels it. It will scream and occasionally tag any victim that moves when it screams. And speaking of leveling, there’s a massive, persistent skill tree that I didn’t get to play with in this single demo session, but it promises to let you scale your respective skills as a victim and of family to your liking.
I admit that I enjoyed playing as a Family more than as Victims during my first turns. I had a blast trying to outsmart them despite being outnumbered. But there’s no doubt that careful teamwork and coordination will pay off big time for good Victim players – like when one of you goes up to the top floor of the house and restores the power out of the basement. -ground, allowing his teammates another way to escape. Notably also, the victims can hide in dark corners of the house, in the bushes outside, and sneak quietly so as not to make a ton of noise and alert the family. As my developer guide said, “Just leaving a door open can hurt you in this game.”
The number of tactics in play between these two very contrasting teams is impressive. More commendable is how well Texas Chain Saw Massacre is playing right now, despite its release date not being until next year. The movie license hasn’t just been applied to this game. Instead, it looks like a great couple, and I can’t wait to play more.
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