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Shellie - ShelliePancake

31 May 2023

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The year is 1973, and Maria Flores has gone missing in Central Texas. After weeks of new news and minimal leads, Maria's younger sister, Ana Flores, and her friends decide to seek out and find her. Unfortunately, their search leads them to a dilapidated farm and a deranged family - one of whom wears a face of leather and wields a chainsaw - and thus, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre becomes known.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the latest horror survival game to hit the market. Developed by Sumo Digital and Published by Gun Interactive, you would be forgiven for comparing it to Friday the 13th, and that's because it comes from the same studio. Gun Interactive has a passion for survival horror games based on classic horror movies, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre pulls the cold essence of horror from being chased and hunted down by a family of psychos and drops it right down your spine.

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 3v4 survival horror where you can play as either Ana and her friends - Sonny, Leland, Julie and Connie as Team "Victim" or you can play as one of The Family, which consists of Leatherface (of course), the Cook, Johnny, Sissy or the Hitchhiker. I believe Johnny, Sissy and Julie are due to be released, as the characters are shown in the tutorial videos, but I did not experience them during my play-throughs. Either that, or I was just unlucky in my random role of the character dice. The victims always start in the family basement and must release themselves from being tied up and escape by either finding a fuse or valve, finding tools to unlock doors or escaping through the gates at the edge of the farm and running down the road. Aside from trying to avoid the family, you've already been tortured and beaten, so you're running against the clock as you slowly bleed out to death. As the game has yet to be released and I was game testing, I could not select my character, customise them or try out the skill tree. Once the full game is released, the opportunity to hone your character skills will play a huge part in the game.

Stealth is a HUGE part of gameplay. I had to fight every urge to run as stamina depletion is fast and scarce, allowing you to limp faster for about five seconds before becoming drained again. Running from the family is NOT an option. Instead, you must hide in the shadows, sneak through their home, hide in lockers, cars or freezers or take bones from bone piles scattered around and inflict a little revenge pain to escape in a pinch. For players who may want to hide for most of the match, Gun has worked around this by creating a "fear meter" of sorts when hiding. Your character quickly becomes overwhelmed in the dark space, your vision gets smaller, you breathe quicker, and your heart pounds in your ears. You must exit your hiding space before bursting out from panic - alerting the family to your location. You can find health tonics, lock picks and screwdrivers to assist you in your escape. Finding a fuse to place in the fuse box will open an exit, as does the valve for the water tank. Sneaking through long grass and bushes, in the shadows, or behind crates will aid you in your escape.

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The Grandfather aids the family, and he is an NPC who sits on his throne of bones. The family must give him blood from slaughtering victims or buckets of blood scattered around the map to aid their side. As they level up the Grandfather, he will intermittently scream and alert the family to any players moving at that time. It forces the victim to stop where they are and wait a few seconds, and lord help you if you happen to be out in the open during this time. The more the Grandfather levels up, the better skills he develops to aid his family. The family are pretty well grounded to play as. Leatherface will naturally one-shot you with his chainsaw, which makes sense. The hitchhiker is quick and agile and can lay down traps to capture survivors, and the cook can track you down by hearing where you are. The first time this happened to me, it created a sense of panic as I could hear his cackling, and the warning on the screen alerted me that he knew where I was - and yet I couldn't see him.

The map feels like three acts from the movies. You start in the basement - dark and narrow, filled with gore and maze-like and confusing to navigate. Once you escape from the basement, the game changes, as you are in the house. You can see the outside, and the panic ramps up - you're so close to escaping now! Then, once outside, you fight every instinct to leg it at top speed to the end of the driveway. Freedom is so close! But it's never that easy. The metal grid across the entrance to the driveway is electrified, and you must destroy the generator to shut it down and escape. All while out in the open, injured and with three killers nipping at your heels.

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The controls are pretty simple. Smashing the spacebar allows you to limp-sprint, but as mentioned, stamina withdrawal is fast. You are subjected to a sound meter when looting bones or toolboxes, opening hatches or lockpicking. During my first run-throughs, I held down the E button and couldn't work out how to be stealthier as the sound bar peaked and red alert lines surrounded me, alerting the family to my location. Eventually, I learnt that playing slower is critical, and tapping the E button and allowing the soundbar to drop, then tapping E again and waiting again - rinse and repeat, was the way to go. I started finding lockpicks to open doors straight to the outside, scavenging sharp bones to shank the family to aid my escape and this prolonged my matches by far. The learning curve is fast - learn or die is how the game rolls.

Graphically it's well done. The gore level is high and expected for the title and the expectations the title carries with it. Character deaths are brutal, especially from Leatherface. From the dank basement to the dusty home and fresh, green outside that is filled with hope and promise, the graphics aid in each section's environment. The characters look their part - the victims are bruised, and the family appears deranged. The farm sheds, and vehicles are rusted, with piles of rubbish everywhere, and Leatherface's Basement is filled with piles of flesh, blood, and even bodies still strung up.

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The audio is fine, although while watching the tutorial video, it became quite grating on the ears with the constant whine of the chainsaw and shrieks of the damned. The tutorial video goes for over 5 minutes if you choose to watch how to play both sides and by the end, I was becoming so distracted by the music and noise I began to lose focus and not pay attention. During gameplay, the characters will screech taunts at you, or if a victim, make panicked musing about their environment. I will sometimes admit I was internally screaming at my character to be quiet, as at one point, I had opened a barricade, and they stated loudly, "I wonder where this goes?" as the hitchhiker was less than five meters away. You can hear footsteps overhead or the creaking of metal around you. Dust will fall and patter from above, which all aids in the terror of trying to escape. At times I was unsure if it was just the metal sheets creaking or the footsteps of the cook searching for me?

In all, if you're a fan of horror games, multiplayer games and Dead By Daylight or Friday the 13th, you'll love this one too. The number of killers on the map adds that extra level of skill (and stress) and makes for more enjoyable gameplay. I can't wait for this game's full release on the 19th of August this year and bring my friends over to meet the family.

9
10

The Bad

- Easy to pick up and learn
- Matchmaking is quick, with minimal wait times
- Nails the horror movie genre

- Menu audio got grating - no pun intended
- It can feel killer-side geared

The Good

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