The asymmetrical survival horror game based on “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” movie is impressively atmospheric and faithful to its source material, yet it falls short in delivering the expected scares. While the game captures the essence of the 1974 film, it misses the mark in providing an engaging gameplay experience. The terracotta vision of Texas, complete with birdsongs, creates an authentic setting, but the game fails to translate this authenticity into genuine fear.
Despite its faithfulness to the movie, the game struggles to be truly frightening. Joe Rogan, the CEO of developer Gun, described the game’s meticulous recreation of the movie’s setting earlier in the summer. While the game pays homage to the horror classic, it compromises its potential as an engaging gaming experience.
The game attempts to distinguish itself with its prequel story, set as a backdrop to the slasher series. However, in approximately an hour of gameplay, the story remains largely irrelevant.
In terms of gameplay mechanics, “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” introduces asymmetry. Players can choose to play as either Victims (with four options out of five characters) or as cannibalistic Family members (with three options out of five characters). Each character comes with unique qualities, defensive and offensive abilities. Dialogue between characters reveals more narrative when Victims or Family members encounter each other in-game.
Despite this attempt at storytelling, the short duration of matches (around five minutes) leaves little time for players to delve into the deeper layers of the narrative. A more comprehensive understanding of the game’s maps is necessary for effective strategizing, yet the limited tutorial content hinders this process.
As the core premise unfolds, Victims aim to escape the Slaughter Family’s homestead, while Family members focus on eliminating their targets. Victims navigate quicktime-adjacent minigames for various actions, with events determining almost every action aside from running and hitting. Family members, on the other hand, are in a power position and have more flexibility in their actions.
While the game exhibits tactical complexity, it fails to capture the terrifying essence of the original movie. The game’s attempts to maintain authenticity and replicate the movie’s atmosphere ultimately hinder its potential to provide an immersive and engaging experience. As the game evolves and players become more skilled, there’s hope that it will evolve into a more entertaining and chilling experience. Until then, the game struggles to bridge the gap between preserving the movie’s legacy and offering an engrossing gaming adventure.