Thursday, 12 March 2015

Five Nights At Freddy's 2 - multiple platforms

Yay, let's go back for more!

So it’s time to head back to the Five Nights At Freddy’s group, that happy and fun place where kids love the dancing animated robotic creatures and everyone else is mortified by the experience. Where pizza and parties are laid out and man-sized robotic animals are freely available to wander the hallways seeking out children to entertain and eyeing every adult with suspicion.

If you're seriously thinking of going back here, you NEED help.

Story wise, it’s another Five Nights At Freddy’s with NEW looking robots and the old ones too. (I’ll stick with this to avoid spoilers before anyone starts telling me otherwise...). We’ve Bonnie Bunny, Chica the Duck/Chicken/Poultry who seems really intent on giving us a cupcake. Freddy himself returns as does the fan-favourite (most terrifying) Foxy the Pirate. While we’re also met with lovely new versions of Freddy, Bonnie, Chica PLUS new robots in the form of Balloon Boy, Mangle and the Marionette.

So you’re now looking at 11 possible opponents, including the rather special, Golden Freddy.

No doors, but you have a torch... Just give me the tank and flamethrower.

You’re the night guard once again (a different one, which becomes apparent later on), and you’re tasked with looking after the establishment while the robots casually go wandering around here and there. To help you with this problem, you’re given full power access to the camera system, torch with VERY limited battery life (no Duracell here!) and no doors. Your main defence here in this case is the ability to shine the light at the freely roaming robots that might pause them, or cause them to reset, but also a large head from one of the suits. So if one of the animatronics walks into the office, you can slap on the head and pretend to be one of them. Unless it’s Foxy or the Marionette...

Mask down; I'm safe. Unless Foxy wants in or the Marionette is loose.

To stop you from just leaving the hat on, there’s the case of Foxy and his ability to completely IGNORE your hat/mask and just launches himself at you if you ever miss him winding up for an attack at the end of the corridor. The other big issue that stops you from just slapping masks on and off and flicking the light on an off periodically, is the Marionette. Which cannot be stopped from an attack, doesn’t get blinded by lights and doesn’t care if you’re wearing the mask or not. So we need to switch the camera on and head over to the Marionette’s area and remotely wind up a music box that will placate it. (To the tune of My Grandfather’s Clock, no less...)

The new crew! Despite the overhaul on looks, still rather off-putting.

Initially the game starts off filled with intrigue, the phone-guy is back and talking to us once again despite what happened on day 4 of the previous game and until you find out WHY this is the case, fans will overlook this apparent continuity flaw for the time being.  The cameras give partial glimpses into each of the rooms and from each a small story is told and listed. From identifying the origins to the odd circumstances in the game that leave us with man-sized robots that have a link to the local face-recognition database for identifying ‘predators’. If you stop long enough in the game to consider this, you start to worry what kind of world/environment are we in where pseudo-murderous robots in a pizza shop need access to that level of security.

They use the air-vents too.

Despite the subtext and plot, the game itself is about working out which robot is advancing, how to stop it and where to find out the next threat is going to be coming from. As such, it is VERY easy to be killed on the first day by several different robots and of course, the Marionette. As such, once you recognise the routes and journeys that the robots take, you’ll eventually devolve your exploration down to a very simple method of checking the vents, listening for movement, flashing the light down the corridor and then cranking up the music before “...the old, man, died” starts to play. Eventually something WILL meander into the room and you’ll slap the mask down (hopefully) in time to leave them confused enough to leave and hopefully not get attacked by Foxy in the ever-close window of opportunity one has to flash a light on and stop his One Hit Knock Out attack (though in truth many of the others do this too, but Foxy gives you NO chance beyond that light flash).

You'll cheer louder than the kids do when this happens.

Suspense in the game so thick you can cut it with a 2 by 4, or just batter it about a bit, while the game itself can very quickly engage and then utterly terrify players with the jump scares, suspenseful moments of being inspected by the robots and hoping beyond hope that the cute looking robot (or not so cute if you refer to the ORIGINAL set of robots), doesn’t rip your mask off beyond ending your brief stint into the game. For some, this kind of suspense is too much and in a similar vein to Alien Isolation, there’s little you can do to defend yourself but at least you can fight back in Alien Isolation. In this case, you’re stuck with the idea and notion that you’re simply waiting, defending against the inevitable hordes of robotic horrors until you reach and surpass the 5 days and emerge victorious from the whole ordeal. But then again, much like the first one, why doesn’t someone just quit? Perhaps it’s because quitting and not earning is less preferable to being hunted down by psychotic robots? But it’s all part of speculation that could infer facts about the background and origins, not that you’ll have much time to contemplate them while Bonnie is sticking his face into your own and remains undecided as to whether you’re the threat or not that it thinks you might be.

Hello Foxy...

It all depends on whether you appreciate the scare factors and the fear effects that will determine if this game will be successful for yourself. If you like being terrified and scared of being stalked, live in London, or play this game. If you don’t, then it becomes a very time-based puzzle game with loud noises and sudden changes of images when you fail to hit the pre-requisite conditions to move onto the next level. Personally however, I’ve enjoyed every minute of Five Nights At Freddy’s 2 and gleefully look forward to giving the 3rd game a run for its money.

Expect this, a lot.