Game Review – Five Nights at Freddy’s 2

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Welcome back to the new and improved Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza!

In Five Nights at Freddy’s 2, the old and aging animatronics are joined by a new cast of characters. They are kid-friendly, updated with the latest in facial recognition technology, tied into local criminal databases, and promise to put on a safe and entertaining show for kids and grown-ups alike!

What could go wrong?

As the new security guard working nights, your job is to monitor cameras and make sure nothing goes wrong after-hours. The previous guard has complained about the characters trying to get into the office (he has since been moved to day-shift). So to make your job easier, you’ve been provided with your very own empty Freddy Fazbear head, which should fool the animatronic characters into leaving you alone if they should accidentally enter your office.

As always, Fazbear Entertainment is not responsible for death or dismemberment.

Well, here we are again, folks.  As the Phone Guy said in the trailer for this game, “If you’re hearing this, you’ve probably made a really poor life decision.”  This is the sequel to the critically acclaimed indie horror game that came out in 2014, Five Nights at Freddy’s.  You’ve probably already seen my review for the first game (and if you haven’t, I urge you to go read it now), so here it is, my verdict on the second game.

When I left you with the first review, I said I had been attempting the “impossible” 20/20/20/20 (or 4/20) mode on the first game.  Well, after 49 tries (48 of those resulting in death) I managed to defeat it and got my third gold star.  I had conquered the seemingly impossible.  I was so happy.  So then I knew it was time I move on to the second game.

I had heard people all over the internet say how much harder this game was as compared to the first game.  Markiplier died several times on the first night, after all.  So I was understandably a bit wary.  But I made it through the first four nights without dying once.  Night five was the first time I died, but after that first death I got out unscathed.  And then I got to night six.  Oh my, night six was a true nightmare.  But I’ll get to that later.

This game introduces us to some new animatronics: we have the old versions from the first game of the four main ones, but now they’re withered and falling apart; we have four new versions of them, called “toy versions”, though the new Foxy is known as the Mangle as it is a take apart/put back together display and it is horrifying; we also have two brand new characters – BB, or Balloon Boy, and the Puppet or Marionette (it has no official given name).  We also see the return of Golden Freddy, who was just an easter egg in the first game, but now he’s a full fledged animatronic that you have to watch out for (he only shows up on night 6 and 7).

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All animatronics

Yes, that’s right.  The first game only had 4 animatronics to watch out for.  This game has 11.  They’ve truly stepped up their game this time around.  Many people, upon the announcement of the second game, were afraid that it wouldn’t be any good, that the concept would just be the exact same thing as the first game and thus get stale and no longer deliver the scares that it once did.  They were proven so, so wrong.

While the mechanics of the game are essentially the same – checking video cameras to watch the locations of the animatronics as they move toward your room to come and get you – it’s also taken away a couple mechanics from the first game and added a couple new ones.  First of all, it’s taken away the doors you had previously to lock yourself in.

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Yes, that’s right, there are no doors.  But you also don’t have a power level to worry about like in the first game.  Instead, you have a flashlight that you can use to both look down the hallway in front of you and use while in the cameras (makes you wonder how that works but whatever).  The battery for your flashlight can go down, but the game won’t end until you reach 6 a.m. or until you get killed.

The two new mechanics that have been added are the “hiding” mechanic and the music box.  The hiding mechanic is simply that they’ve given you an empty Freddy Fazbear head to put on to fool the animatronics into going away.  It works on most of them, but not all of them so you can’t just wear it forever.  Another reason you can’t wear it forever is because of the music box.  In one of the cameras, there’s a little music box which you have to keep winding up.  If you let it get unwound, the Puppet will come out and kill you instantly.  Just assume that once you start hearing the “Pop Goes the Weasel” song playing, you’re dead.

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*screeching intensifies*

So essentially, what you need to do in this game is concentrate on winding up the music box while also checking the vents on either side of you (they have lights separate from your flashlight, much like the door lights in the first game), and looking into the hallway in front of you.  Seems simple, right?  Well, it was at first, but they start getting more and more aggressive with each passing night.  More of them gang up on you and it turns into a race against time.

Animatronics will start appearing in your office when you put your monitor down (and sometimes they’ll force you out of the monitor) and the only way to save yourself from death is to pull your mask down immediately.  If you hesitate for even a second, you’ll be dead.  So make sure you have good reflexes.  The worst thing for me during that was that sometimes even though I thought I put my mask on, my mouse just messed up and it didn’t work for some reason.  I normally had good reflexes, it’s just that it didn’t register that I had done the thing to put the mask on.

So, while you keep your mask on until the animatronics go away, you run the risk of the music box going off so you have to be very precise when you take it off, check the lights, and then go to wind it.  It’s incredibly stressful.  As I said earlier, night 6 was an absolute nightmare for me.  I would argue that it was worse than 4/20 mode from the first game (even though that mode took me 49 tries while this one only took me 27).

So yes, despite the fact that I died far less in this game, I would say this game is much harder than the first game.  The nice thing about the power level in the first game is that if you manage your power just right, you can have an idea of how long until it hits 6 a.m.  With this game, it’s just desperately cycling through winding the music box and checking the lights in the hall and vents until 6 a.m. eventually hits.  In some ways it’s not as scary, but I still don’t feel I’ve been completely desensitized to it like I have been by the first game.  The jumpscares are more intense, come much faster, and on occasion come at unexpected times (Foxy is my mortal enemy when it comes to that; nearly stopped my heart quite a few times).

Then of course there’s Golden Freddy.  Ah, Golden Freddy, the thing that I feared so much in the first game and never actually encountered except in the 1987 setting on night 7.  Now he’s an actual animatronic that can kill you in this game.  He doesn’t show up until night 6, and then it’s surprising and horrifying.  No one thought that would happen.  I never actually died at his hands, but he did still disturb me when I saw his giant head floating down the hall.

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My heart skipped a beat when I first saw that.  So yes, while this game doesn’t have the same small, dark, claustrophobic atmosphere built up with those random disturbing things you might have seen as in the first game, this game still delivers its own brand of scares.  I think the things that scared me the most in this game were the “death mini-games” and the cutscenes between nights.

The “death mini-games” as most people call them are little things that will sometimes occur after you die.  It looks like an old arcade or Atari style game.  There are four different games you may end up playing; two of them you play as Freddy Fazbear, one you play as Foxy, and one you play as the Puppet.  All of them reveal some element of the overall story in very cryptic ways, and while it is interesting, it also just poses even more questions than before.  (I won’t go into them here, so if you want to know more about them, look them up for yourself.)

The cutscenes happen between the nights after beating them, and there’s also one when you start up the game for the first time before getting to the main menu screen.  It looks like you’re looking through the eyes of Freddy Fazbear on the show stage from the location in the first game.  You can look from left to right and see Bonnie and Chica on either side of you.  Things change slowly during each new cutscene.  Bonnie and Chica start looking at you more and more, then you’ll see Golden Freddy looking at you, and the last one has the Puppet watching you and following you when you move your head.  I believe it’s revealing story in some way, I just don’t know how yet.

Speaking of the story, there is more story stuff in this game than in the first game.  If you’ll remember in the first game, the only way you could get any semblance of a back story is by actively searching for it as there would be newspapers that would change sometimes when you look at them.  This game doesn’t have things like that, however the Phone Guy will tell you more interesting things with each passing night, handing out cryptic clues of things that might be going on during business hours.

Then there’s the paycheck at the end of the game, specifically the date.  It says it’s 1987.  Like the Bite of ’87 mentioned in the first game.  Yes, that’s right, this game is in fact a prequel.  There’s debate over that for some reason, but it seems pretty clear to me that it’s a prequel.  And I am under the impression that the “Bite” incident happens on the last day where your character, Jeremy Fitzgerald, is supposed to take over the day shift for the very last birthday party event.  The place closes down after that, with a hope of it reopening eventually with a much smaller budget, scrapping the new animatronics but keeping the old.  Hence, the first game.

Lastly, there’s the 7th Night; the Custom Night.  In the first game, you could set the A.I. levels to whatever you want, with the highest being 20.  Some crazy people decided to do all four of them at 20, which the creator thought would be impossible to beat, but when he was proven wrong, he made an update to the game to add a third gold star on the main menu for beating 4/20 mode.  As I said, I did actually defeat that.  So what’s different in the second game’s custom night?

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10/20 mode, also known as Golden Freddy mode.  Just… just kill us now, okay.

Aside from “Golden Freddy” mode, there are nine other custom preset challenges.  For each challenge you beat, you receive a little plushie that appears on your desk when you play again, as well as a gold star on the preset screen.  One of the presets is 4/20 mode with just the old animatronics, and for beating that you get the third gold star on your screen.  So no, you don’t have to beat the extra-impossible mode of 10/20 to get that last star.  What you DO get for beating that mode is a Golden Freddy plushie on your desk.  It’s probably not worth it.  But I’m going to attempt it anyway.

I haven’t tried any of the presets out myself, yet, but I do plan on doing them at some point.  I have a feeling that, aside from Golden Freddy mode, the rest of the presets will be a piece of cake compared to Night 6.  And hopefully by the time I finish all of them, the third game will be out and I’ll have purchased it and I can do another fan fic and review of it after that.

I said in my first review that Five Nights at Freddy’s was horror done right.  While I don’t believe this game is quite as terrifying as the first game, it still delivers scares in a new form and it’s still a wonderful piece of horror.  The inclusion of story and the way they tell it is absolutely brilliant and I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting for the third game because I just need to know more about the story, as well as seeing how he’ll change up the gameplay and make it scary again for a third time.  I am so, so excited.

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I love Five Nights at Freddy’s and I love Five Nights at Freddy’s 2.  It’s a simple gameplay concept which is easy to do and understand, but it’s never boring despite being unable to move from your spot.  It builds up great tension and atmosphere and even when you know a jumpscare is going to happen, it stays scary through that tension and build up.  The story is brilliant with its mystery and the way it is conveyed and leaves everyone dying for more, and in this game you have to fail to get more of the story (with the death mini-games).  When you make a game where people want to fail to get more out of it, you’re doing something right.

Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 is the best second installment that we could have ever asked for.  I give this game a solid 5/5 rating.  Scott Cawthon, keep impressing us and giving us a whole new set of nightmares with the next game.  I applaud your storytelling skills as well as your ability to keep this idea fresh and new.

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