The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was released with positive reviews thanks to the new twist on the asymmetric gameplay style made popular by games like Dead by Daylight. This time, rather than one team going up against a single, more powerful player, teams are split into three Family members hunting down four Victims.
My experience with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a mixed bag. Despite what it does to improve the genre and set itself apart from its peers, multiple game-breaking bugs and frequent crashes soured my experience.
Like Lambs to the slaughter
As the Victims, your goal is to escape. This is done by navigating from your starting location in the basement to the overworld without being caught by the Family. Once there, the Victims must find an exit and interact with the appropriate on/off switch to activate it. This can be a car battery, generator, valve, fuse box, or a simple locked gate. One new wrinkle in the formula is that Victims must navigate the maps making as little noise as possible to not wake up Grandpa, the only NPC in the game.
When Victims fail at this task, or escape the basement, Grandpa becomes a sonar for the Family team, detecting and highlighting Victims for Family members to see. This sonar can even be upgraded by Family members feeding Grandpa blood from buckets across the map and attacking Victims. This is a great mechanic as it forces Victims to remain still and take their time and offers the Family team a reliable way to track Victims.
There are five Victims to choose from, each with their own unique abilities and stats to consider. For example, Leland has a tackle ability that can knock over and stun Family players, except for Leatherface, while Connie has an ability called Focused which lets her pick locks almost instantaneously.
While playing as the Victims I encountered several glitches. The most frustrating of which was when my stamina never regenerated, which unfortunately was not a one-time occurrence, and even happened during my time playing as the Family. Another example was when I suddenly couldn’t use any abilities, interact, or sprint during a match. This happened as a Family as well but only after being stunned by a Victim. I had consistent crashes mid-game, as well as witnessed teammates crash frequently.
I gave every Family member a try for one or two games, but nothing clicked until I played Sissy. I found her poison mist ability fun as I could cut off escape routes for Victims mid-chase. It felt good dishing out pain to Victims and being rewarded for intelligently using my abilities. I would consistently get kills, additionally, my map knowledge from playing Victims was useful for outplaying the players I was chasing. Playing the Family was where the game finally began to click for me.
Gutted and Bled dry
Playing Family offered me the most enjoyable experience, with the exception of Leatherface, who was the least interesting character to play. Despite him being built like a tank and having the advantage of being able to destroy obstacles, I was never able to have a fun and engaging experience playing him. His chainsaw is loud and gives you away, and he also can’t crouch to ambush Victims. I had developed a playstyle for other Family members that I was forced to abandon when playing Leatherface, as he demanded you play him a specific way.
My distaste for this character is only deepened by the fact that the game will not start unless one player chooses him. I almost always had to compromise as lobbies were being held in limbo with no one willing to make the sacrifice to play him. This led to playing more games as Leatherface than the characters I wanted to.
One week with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was more than enough for me to get my fill. There was fun to be had, and playing the Family for me offered the best experience, but not being able to play the way I wanted quickly ruined that. The constant need to compromise because of a requirement on the game’s part and lack of willingness in the player base, plus the constant bugs and crashes, sullied my overall experience. Playing the game felt more like an obligation just to finish this article rather than being fun and I was glad to step away from it.