Thursday, 8 January 2015

Five Nights At Freddy's 2 - Steam

Boo... Scared already.

So we're back for another round of pizza-bear induced atmospheric horror with inevitable time limit countdowns as we play another hapless guard running the night shift in a building filled with homicidal animatronics creatures. From the first impression, it's a step up from the original game but carries over quite a few of the original elements.

Ooh some context! What indeed could go wrong?

What's returning? Well the original cast returns including the phone calling individual from the first game (voice by the creator so why not?) As well as the idea of a limited level of power, cameras installed in strategically helpful places save for them actually being no help to you at this location in time aside to give you an idea as to what's coming close and what will soon be ripping you apart.

All in place and all ready, the fun will begin shortly.

What's new? There's a LOT more different enemies to fend off. You've the original 4 (5... if you get that far) Freddy the Bear, Bonnie the Bunnie (with no face and looks even more horrific as a result), Foxy (with his own set of rules again) and Chika the du- chic- bird looking one. While now we've also to contend with new Freddy Bear, new Bonnie Bunny, new gender switched Foxy, a puppet/marionette (this one will be a REAL bastard), new Chica, golden Freddy and a non-attacking kid with a balloon that does kill your ability to use lights.

Are you in there? Don't move, you're being inspected.

So we've a new set of mechanics to learn. There's no doors to hide behind or lock, so you will HAVE to keep a watch on the cameras but this time they don't use your power. You will have to shine your torch down the main corridor to stop various bot attacks (which the balloon kid WILL ruin if you let him) and you've got to listen for approaches from the main ventilation panels leading into the room. You also have an empty puppet head of Freddy to wear that will stop the enemies from attacking you, as the game explains, they'll think you're one of them. Except for Foxy who doesn't buy your bullshit and the marionette who has a very different agenda.

Additional views and scenes build in a slightly abstract form of plot and explanation.

So you're thinking, "I'll just wear the head and leave it at that" Well, no. Foxy for a start doesn't care if you're wearing it or not and can only be stopped by shining a torch on him when he begins his unavoidable attack. The marionette on the other hand lives in another room entirely and is lulled to sleep by a windup music box that stops him from coming out. If it winds down fully and you don't restart the music, you WILL be caught by the quite creepy looking little git.

The old group are still here. Despite their look, they're still active in there.

But is there a point to this, is there a plot? If you listen to the phone calls at the start of each day, you can steadily piece together an idea that this is a new location (relatively new... bear that in mind) and that you're here but there were problems before hand. You've got to do X, Y and Z to stop the machines from running around and doing all sorts of nastiness to you. Despite that, this game brings to the forefront another claustrophobic atmosphere that is so thick you could cut it with a spoon.

And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

As the night progresses, the ambience increases, the attempts by the machines to "visit" you increases in severity while the timer left on the windup box gets shorter with each passing night, making you switch to the camera more often and leave yourself open to more vulnerable incidents. It becomes soon a routine of near obsessive, compulsive disorder level. You'll scan the vents, check the light down the hall, then rush to the camera to check JUST on the marionette and rewind the timer before slipping quickly back to check on vents and hallways once again. At which point, you're not interested in the game anymore and just trying to beat it and unlock the extra modes.

You may not see it as often, but you'll love this screen.

The sounds and graphics are impressive to the point where we appreciate the time spent on making the graphics but it's the same system as it was before, we don't see anything moving until it attacks and everything "blink shifts" from place to place either when you're not watching or in the one micro frame of gameplay when your light isn't on them. The ambient noises and effects act as clues but the haunting background clashes of sounds (for want of a better phrase) build towards a crescendo as the game approaches that all important 6am time. It's fun for a while but eventually you're just repeating patterns to avoid the sudden kill animations and even those aren't that shocking this time around.

Over, is the game.