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Slicing ‘em up with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre


The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a 1974 movie that has since spawned eight sequels and reboots, as well as comics and videogames. It introduced the world to Leatherface, a sadistic, barbaric masked cannibal who chased his victims with a chainsaw. One of the very first slasher movies, it was practically the grandfather of the entire genre.

As a teenager, watching a horror movie was a typical weekend with some friends. Finding one that seemed like you shouldn’t even be watching it was even more so thrilling. Now I don’t mean to sound like some serial killer in the making, I have a point I’m heading towards. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was considered as a video nasty, banned here in the UK until 1988! 

the texas chain saw massacre screen keyart
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is coming

Seeing the words – “based on a true story” solidified the movie as a must watch. The film itself was indeed groundbreaking and a difficult watch when I was younger, but since then I have seen many of the sequels and watched countless franchises find inspiration from the classic. Nothing quite ever evoked the taboo feelings of seeing the movie back then however, as licences and age ratings over the years became more lenient. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is now quite tame in comparison to more modern movies.

And that my friends brings us to the people at Sumo Digital deciding to bring the terror of Leatherface and the family into videogame form. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – the video game – comes our way this August and we were lucky enough to get a chance to take a look at the upcoming title during a recent technical test.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Game is an asymmetrical horror title similar to the popular Dead by Daylight, Friday the 13th: The Game and Evil Dead: The Game adaptations. Playing as a team with other players online you can choose to play as a victim or as a part of the family. Both playstyles (and even characters) feel completely different from one another and have their own unique abilities, weapons and skill trees to master.

During the technical test, a lot of the meta game had been turned off, meaning that a lot of the skill trees, perks and abilities weren’t available for us to try out. Hopefully a future test will open things up a bit more to showcase them. Also during the test character choice was unavailable as was customisation. That said, what was available gave me a pretty good look at the former “video nasty” turned video game.

the texas chain saw massacre screen 1
Slice. Dice.

My preference was definitely playing as the family, gaining control of either the hitchhiker, cook or Leatherface himself; you must stop the victims attempts at survival and escape while fulfilling tasks around the map. Securing the property and blocking routes to escape are key to capturing the other team, but you need to also protect and feed grandpa who will assist in hunting the victim team down.

There are unique executions that can be performed by the family and each character has an individual set. The victim team can also attack grandpa to weaken the family bond and abilities. There is a nice set of objectives for everyone to balance and help each other with. Hiding is a big recommendation when playing as a victim and there are plenty of ways to use the environment to escape the family as well.

I first was thrust into the shoes of the hitchhiker, equipped with a small knife and the ability to lay traps to slow down and injure victims. Sneaking through small environmental gaps was also possible using the hitchhiker or cook, but playing as the lumbering Leatherface, I was limited in speed and movement as well as having to go the long way due to his sheer size, unable to squeeze through gaps or crawl spaces. But on the flip side it gives the iconic chainsaw as a weapon, which is much more effective when it lands a hit on the other team.

The victims play as a team of four and also have objectives to complete during the escape, all while keeping on high alert for the family hunting them down. Making noise of any sort will attract the family to that position as it gives the object that created the noise a red outline allowing it to be seen across the map easily. Like Dead by Daylight and other similar games, this can also be used as a decoy or distraction if you play with some smarts.

the texas chain saw massacre screen 2
Hiding might be an idea…

Playing as the family was definitely more fun. I felt having two other players upped the win chance for someone like me who has struggled as the solo killer in other games. The majority of the time during my time in the test, I found myself working more in unison with other players even though squads were unavailable this time round. Things just felt natural when helping each other to distract the family and complete objectives. This intuitive feeling to assist team mates was instantaneous and a credit to the design team. 

Graphically, while not in its final form of course, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre already feels like a true next gen version of the asymmetrical horror titles mentioned before. The family house felt satisfyingly creepy and disgusting, evoking familiar feelings from the movie when traversing through basements, kitchens and crawl spaces. The best comparison I can make is to the main house in Resident Evil 7: biohazard; textures were looking better than some full launch games and each room was designed to create tension while escaping.

All-in, I had an absolute blast with Sumo Digital’s upcoming PvP game. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre could be the one to dethrone Dead by Daylight, and I can’t wait for full launch in August. 

Perhaps before then we will get the chance to see more of the game, ideally with a beta style test complete with more features and selectable characters. I would recommend horror fans keep an eye out for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. 

Huge thanks go out to Gun Interactive for giving us access to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre via the technical test. 

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre will launch on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Game Pass, PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on August 18th 2023. Keep an eye out for a full review.

Alister Kennedy
Alister Kennedy
A gaming writer for TheXboxHub, Ali loves the finer things in life, like Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Gaming since the '80s on multiple platforms. Podcast host and video editor.
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