The Texas Chain Saw Massacre review in progress – The saw is family

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Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is my favorite horror film of all time. As a huge fan of the genre, there isn’t a film more realistic and frighteningly visceral in the depravity that unravels, and as someone with a massive emotional attachment to the franchise, I’m always curious as to how it’s handled in new releases.

Developed by Gun Interactive, the team who also made Friday the 13th: The Game, I was curious but not overly excited about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Asymmetrical multiplayer horror games like Dead By Daylight have never really been my bag, but if anything was going to endear me to them, it would be Leatherface and his family.

In the time I’ve spent playing The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – which has been less than I’d have liked, hence the lack of a score just yet – I’ve had an awful lot of fun. Being one of the cannibalistic families is considerably more enjoyable than playing as a plucky survivor, but I already can’t wait to see where the game goes in the future.

Slashing fun

When getting into lobbies with other reviewers and game testers, I was always hoping in the back of my mind to be one of the family. All your favorites from the 1974 original film are here, from Allen Danziger’s grisly cook to Edwin Neal’s hitchhiker, all the way to Leatherface himself. There are a few original killers here too – Sissy and Johnny – but I couldn’t help myself from mostly using the familiar faces I know and love.

Gun Interactive has ensured no killer is too overpowered, with each one having discrepancies that make switching things up necessary. For example, Leatherface is one of the best damage-focused killers, but the time it takes to power on his chainsaw, and his inability to crawl through smaller passages, make killers like Johnny and the hitchhiker also necessary.

The same goes for some of the survivors here, sadly none of whom are based on classic characters like Sally Hardesty. The game is perfectly balanced to the point where one character doesn’t reign supreme over the rest, though I spent most of my time as Ana, whose stealth and fast mobility made it easier to flee from tough scenarios and push toward escape.

The great escape

Speaking of escape, that’s the name of the game for survivors in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Just like Dead By Daylight, the victims all work together to open exits and flee, while the family aims to block their exit routes and bring them all back for their own cannibalistic wants.

I really appreciate how The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is slightly more streamlined and as such less intimidating, than a game like Dead By Daylight. There is a breadth of perks and skill trees to upgrade, but there’s also enough diversity in the existing roster that those who just want to play matches and not worry about optimizing their builds can do so.

The same goes for the killers, even if most people will instinctively want to play as Leatherface. The killers have a somewhat easier task in matches – just to take out all the survivors they can find – while survivors have much more work to do. From escaping their shackles to sneaking around, finding unlock tools, and ultimately escaping from the Sawyer family via one of the numerous unlockable gates and exits.

It’s no easy feat – I’ve only managed it once in this review period so far – but the satisfaction of successfully evading the Sawyers and leaving the farm unscathed is a significant one. It’s much harder than you may expect, due to the smaller map size and less explicit hiding places, but it’s incredibly rewarding.

But more than anything, I’ve loved being able to play as some of my favorite cinematic characters in hugely iconic locations. Gun Interactive has done an astounding job of faithfully replicating the 1974 film’s locations with meticulous detail, from the bone-inspired furniture to the outside of the Sawyer house. As someone who really cares about the source material, it’s very meaningful to see it reconstructed with such care.

While I’m not ready to give it a score just yet, it’s safe to say that I’m loving The Texas Chain Saw Massacre so far. I’ve never been wild about Dead By Daylight and games of that ilk, but this game has more than converted me to the formula. I just can’t wait to play even more and, with my chainsaw in hand, lay waste to plenty of unassuming survivors.

Reviewed on Steam Deck. A code was provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 5PlayStation 4Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Buy The Texas Chain Saw Massacre on Steam now.

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