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Texas Chainsaw Massacre Review | A Full Tank Of Gasoline

A faithful adaptation leads to an excellent time for both sides.

The game which you are about to play is an account of the tragedy which befell a group of five youths, and it is all the more tragic in that they were young. But, had they lived very, very long lives, they could have not expected nor would they have wished to see as much of the mad and macabre as they were to see during this gameplay. For them, an idyllic summer afternoon drive became a nightmare. The events of that day were to lead to the discovery of one of the most unique and interesting multiplayer games in the annals of video game history: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

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With a surprisingly large amount of asymmetrical multiplayer games hitting the market in today’s day and age, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre does an excellent job of standing out from the crowd before it. However, an extra serving of the Cook’s special Barbecue could be needed before it can go down in the halls of history.

A Tale Of Survival

Screenshot by Sumo Digital/Gun Interactive

Gameplay in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre breaks the mold with the introduction of a new type of multiplayer experience; three killers facing off against four desperate survivors. If you’re anything like me, this sounds incredibly unfair, especially after playing games like Dead By Daylight, or even the Friday the 13th game. Thankfully, the map design keeps things interesting, and matches never feel unfair or skewed in the direction of one side of the field.

During our review play sessions, the thought of the maps being full of dead ends was something that many different players echoed, but after taking a moment and putting myself into the shoes of these terrified survivors, I began to appreciate the map design a fair bit more. Starting in the basement after being rounded up by the Family, I needed to do whatever was necessary to break out of my binds and start my escape.

This is where The Texas Chainsaw Massacre starts to differentiate itself from the variety of other multiplayer games on the market; you start in the most vulnerable position of your life. You can either choose to go loud and break out of your binds as quickly as possible or be strategic and take your time. Once you are free, the hunt is on.

There are a variety of different objects scattered around the map that you can use as both a Victim or a Killer, from the ever-so-handy Unlocking Kit to the self-defense-prone Bone Shard. Any time you begin to interact with any of these objects as a Victim or Killer, you’ll need to choose how you want to engage, thanks to a meter that pops up on the screen. Depending on the severity of the situation you find yourself in, you may need to gather up items quickly while making plenty of noise, or if you are in the clear, you can be quiet and stealthy about grabbing your items of choice.

Playing as a Victim was one of the most stressful times I’ve had in recent memory, requiring me to think about every move I was planning on making before committing to it. Do I want to be a great teammate and try to take some of the pressure off of their backs by making plenty of noise, or do I want to be greedy and plot my big escape? The choice is yours, and each map allows you ample opportunity to choose how you want to proceed.

You also need to worry about Grandpa, the best killer of them all. While he may not be roaming the halls, he can scream loudly, revealing your location for a few moments to the Sawyer family. This could be a death sentence unless you give him a nice whack against the noggin.

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Screaming

Screenshot by Sumo Digital/Gun Interactive

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre hits the nail on the head when it comes to both the graphical and sound fronts. Not only did Edwin Neal reprise his haunting portrayal of The Hitchhiker once again, but the team at Gun Interactive went as far as using the original chainsaw to capture the audio for the iconic murder weapon. Ambient noise surrounds you in horrifying detail, making every moment of your escape, chase, and eventual execution all the more horrifying. Gnarly gushes of blood smattering the floor in high-definition audio is something I will likely be able to erase from my mind for a fair bit of time after this.

On the graphical front, Leatherface and the family have never looked better. While not completely photo-realistic by any means, the stylistic choices brought to life by the team help each character stand out, with unique bits of flora and fauna peppering each corner of the map that you’re in. From the dank and dirty basement and floors full of viscera from unknown creatures to the beauty of the outdoor maps, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre brings the film to life for a new generation.

Every character feels like they were lifted directly from the film that inspired this adaptation, and while Johnny and Sissy may not have been featured in any films, they fit right in with the horrifying Slaughter family. Each of the Survivors looks, feels, and sounds the part, making every chase all the more exciting.

Watching wounds appear on your character doesn’t help the feeling of being stressed out, as each cut is rendered in delightfully gory detail. No matter if you find yourself on the receiving end of the Hitchhikers switchblade or you’ve caught the Cooks broomstick to the head, your character will retain their gory visage.

No matter which side you pick, you’ll find yourself in the third-person perspective, so it’s easier than ever to admire the sheer amount of work that the developers have put into capturing the heart, soul, and fleshy bits that captivated audiences back in 1974. If I weren’t running for my life from an absolute maniac with a Chainsaw, I would love to stop and smell the flowers.

My Interest Has Been Held Captive

Screenshot by Sumo Digital/Gun Interactive

A part of what makes this The Texas Chainsaw Massacre rather interesting is the ability to utilize voice chat, no matter if you’re playing as the family or playing as the Victims. While Proximity Chat is not available for either side, being able to plan your massacre as you see fit helps keep the game fair. In games like Dead by Daylight, there is only a slight bit of verticality, so you almost always have a sense of where players are. The maps in Texas Chainsaw Massacre are huge labyrinths of twists and turns and can easily be confusing for players of all skill levels.

Each match takes part in three stages; starting in the basement, making your way into the building level of the map, and then getting outdoors. With four different ways to exit the game, the variety is unmatched, making each match end with an unpredictable outcome. That is until players start memorizing the maps, and matches start to become less exciting.

With only three maps launching in the base game, I can see the meta of the game becoming the memorization of maps, exits, and locations of particular items that can make each match turn into a slog. While it all depends on the skill level of the player, it’s hard not to worry that this could be an issue in the future, so I can only hope that more maps are on the way after launch.

However, each of the games that I played during my review session was unique in their own ways and made for a frenzied screaming match between the Killers trying to pinpoint where the final survivor was hiding and survivors trying to help their friends escape the grasp of the Sawyer family. My pulse is always felt in my fingertips as I’m trying to pull a deft maneuver away from The Cook, ensuring that he can’t see me.

Technical Issues Are A Massacre Of Their Own

Screenshot by Sumo Digital/Gun Interactive

While I can sing the praises of this experience for hours at a time, there are a few issues that I had with my time chilling with the Family. While the action is crisp and responsive, the framerate during executions was sometimes more brutal than the actions themselves. I’m running a pretty beastly rig at the moment, and standard chases and action run at a buttery smooth 60fps. However, as soon as a victim was cornered up and put to the final moments of their lives, the game would suddenly tank in framerate, ruining the visceral action put on display here.

And while the maps are all excellently designed, the fact that there are only three to choose from could be a hindrance as players begin to memorize them. While each map is varied in the way that Victims and Family can explore, the meta could take a horrifying shift once players start finding particular ways to exit. This could lead to matches that are over too quickly or just aren’t any fun.

The inability to change your Skill Tree options or change any aspect of your character without taking off your “Ready” status also feels like an obtuse addition. Many other games on the market will allow you the opportunity to jump into a match, ready up, and start customizing to your heart’s content. Not here. You’ll need to take off that “Ready” notification if you’re hoping to add or change anything about your character of choice. 

And this is just a personal preference that doesn’t affect my overall score but deserves to be brought up. There are plenty of cosmetics available in the game, but none of them are all too exciting. Basic recolors of clothing options that already exist can help spice the game up, but none of the Sawyers beyond Leatherface have any customization options, and Victims get the option to swap into a different colored pair of clothing. Hopefully, as the game matures, we’ll have some more unique options to choose from.

The Verdict

Technical issues aside, I find myself being drawn back into the grips of the Sawyer family more often than I would like to admit. No matter if you choose to side with the cruel and sadistic Family or you decide to step into the shoes of the Victims that they’ve ruthlessly captured, you’re in for a multiplayer experience unlike anything else on the market.

It’s really going to depend on the continued support from developers to keep this title from running low on gas, as it’s already a bit dry on overall content. However, thanks to its more budget-friendly entry point, it’s a great attempt at bringing the film to a new medium and allows players a chance to don the iconic mask that struck fear into the hearts of many years and years ago.

Technical issues aside, I find myself being drawn back into the grips of the Sawyer family more often than I would like to admit. No matter if you chose to side with the cruel and sadistic Family, or you decide to step into the shoes of the Victims that they've ruthlessly captured, you're in for a multiplayer experience unlike anything else on the market.
  • Excellent visual and sound design
  • Terrifying encounters that strike fear into your heart
  • Unique perks and traits for every playable character
  • A lack of content could lead to stagnation quickly
  • Confusing map design that requires multiple playthroughs
  • The Meta could become memorization rather than gameplay
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review. Reviewed on PC.

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Image of Shaun Cichacki
Shaun Cichacki
As a fan of RPGs, Action & Retro titles, Shaun has been gaming since he was a young boy. With an overwhelming obsession involving Metal Gear Solid and Pizza Tower, you know you're in for a wild ride when it comes to things he's writing about.