Developer: Scott Cawthon
Publisher: Scott Cawthon
Release Date: November 14th, 2014
Price:$7.99 on Steam
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with horror games. They make me feel tense, paranoid–usually causing me to panic and lose control. These mishaps often left me to fall victim to jumpy-scares, or dying over the same ridiculous slip-up, leaving myself open to yet another confrontation. Until, yes enemy, you’ve got me.
So, why play titles in the survival-horror genre? Well, I’m hooked on the adrenaline rush. Forcing myself to broaden my horizons, I’ve played Slenderman and Amnesia. These eventually lulled me into the sense of security that, “Hey, maybe I can play these scary games. Just hide out for a while, avoid spooky shadows, and conserve battery power. The sun will rise eventually and I’ll be okay.”
Feeling self-assured I got ahead of myself, thinking I could take on any horror game, but Five Nights at Freddy’s proved me wrong. The nightly horrors of the point-and-click adventure of Five Nights at Freddy’s manages to be like nothing I have ever experienced before, differing from others that inhabit the marketplace.
The original game, Five Night’s at Freddy’s, came out only about five months ago. In essence, the series is a point-and-click survival horror game where you are the night security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, surviving what feels like the longest week of your life. It differentiates itself in the cluttered genre with a slower, more focused gameplay. Instead of running-and-gunning, the suspenseful sitting-waiting-clicking stirs a sense of seated anxiety as you attempt to stay undetected by the nightly hauntings of the fast-food bazaar.
After being continually forced by friends to play the original Five Nights at Freddy’s in a darkened garage, I was genuinely surprise by my overwhelming desire to partake in beating the sequel. Even through the screams and the occasional tears, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a challenging game with easy-to-use mechanics and an amazing storyline. For anyone that ever attended a birthday party hosted by animatronics animals, it will jog memories of nostalgia and fright while you simply try to survive.
With that being said, Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 is the ‘roided-out sequel that has proven to be far more difficult to complete.
The gameplay is much like the first, meaning that you’re still stuck in the control room within the restaurant. The task is to then put all of your trust in relying on numerous security-system cameras to give you a full visual of the restaurant’s star characters’ movements. The characters that are so lovable by day need to roam at night or their machinery will lockup. While they love children by day, it is best to stay out of their way by night.
Your main focus is on the stars of the show, as each character will move from the Main Stage towards your office. You can follow them through areas like the Banquet Halls, The Backstage, the Kid’s Cove, and eventually, into the air vents.
While in the first installment in the series, your battery power was linked to your camera, the hallway lights, and the doors. The sequel switches things up a bit. Doors no longer slam shut while you anticipate a visit. And, the camera and hallway lights no longer uses up any of the building’s power usage. Instead, you receive a flashlight that stuns some of the older characters and houses the only battery power you need to be concerned with, delivering yet another thing to worry about.
While the game is filled with characters that can deliver potential harm, there are a few things that in your personal arsenal that come into good use. For example, in the prize corner you can find a music box. The roaming characters of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza are more at ease when they hear the music box, allowing players to employ a bit of strategy in order to survive the night. Like most music boxes, it must be wound and will eventually stop if left alone. When it gets low, a hazard symbol alerts you to get on that, because as soon as silence fills the restaurant, your death is imminent.
This time around, players have their own Freddy Fazbear mask, so to speak. The mask is an empty Fazbear head that you can use to hide out from characters. Although it can save your life, putting it on while you are surrounded by more than one character can leave you susceptible to attacks that you weren’t ready for.
Speaking of characters, all of your favorite characters from the original Five Nights at Freddy’s are waiting for you in the background, while their new and improved counterparts join them in their wanderings of the restaurant. Freddy Fazbear is his usual slow self, although he seems to be missing an important feature—his face. The new and improved Freddy, however, is just as slow and steady with his eyes now featured as blackened holes. This definitely makes his stare quite unsettling.
Bonnie the Bunny is also lurking down the main hallway, while newer and blue-er Bonnie giggles while peering through the eyes of your Freddy mask, always trying to figure out what’s inside that suit. Chica, my favorite, has a new character design that is ridiculously sexier than the original. She almost looks as though she’s been working out and eating well. Chica becomes a true threat when hitting the air vents. Lastly, Foxy has stuck around, although he no longer has the Pirate’s Cove to hide in anymore. Hanging out in the repair/parts room with everyone else, he hasn’t lost any of his speed or sneakiness.
Even with being tasked with simply surviving the night, there are a few other features found within Five Night’s at Freddy’s 2 to enjoy. During one of my many attempts to survive through “Night Three”, I got to experience my first weird, mini-game.
Using the WASD-keys, I wandered through the restaurant in 8-bit form, following a rather disturbing character, moving past puddles of blood. Eventually we reached wherever it was he was leading me, only to jump out and kill me in animatronic form. Great, someone else I have to keep an eye out for.
There was only two places in gameplay that could I felt could have used improvement. The number one gameplay qualm I had from the first game managed to carry over into the second. It might be a minute detail to some, but the fact that pressing ESC doesn’t pause the game. Instead, it immediately exits. This is a rather punishing inclusion that created instances of frustration that any native PC player might recognize. As someone who constantly had to pause to regain composure, it becomes an annoyance.
My one other annoyance is the fact that the mask and map buttons are so close to each other. Much like fumbling around with the ESC, I would constantly fumble, not hitting the intended key. This left to moments of panic, and at times, left me losing to Chica’s terrifying teeth.
Even through the anxiety and nightmares Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 kept me interested far past what I thought I was capable of. As someone who screams every time the radio starts to even begin to fuzz in Silent Hill 2, I’ve kept playing past my required one-week contract. The game is simple to play, but lives up to the idiom as it becomes hard to master over time.
With the mask, the music box, and the mini-games, Five Night’s at Freddy’s 2 is fruitful sequel, adding difficult challenges, but always leaving me wanting to have another go at it.
It was impressive to see such a difference in games, particularly due to the short release time in between them. This sequel is leaps and bounds above the first in terms of both story and in-game mechanics. The dark and disturbing history of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza slowly unfurls through phone calls and your perseverance to play on past night five.