Only three months ago, Five Nights at Freddy's released for Desura and Steam. Now, three months later, the sequel has been released. One would expect this sequel to be nothing but a glorified expansion pack, right? Those people would be correct, as Five Nights at Freddy's 2 does very little to actually improve upon the original.
Five Nights at Freddy's 2 appears to be a sequel to the original... At least at first glance. If you thought the lore of the first Freddy's was confusing, this game is a whole different beast. I've already seen people try and analyze the game's payment, the technology, and where it relates to Mike Schmit's role in the grand scheme of things. Dissapointingly, many questions from the first game (The nature of Golden Freddy, what's in the kitchen) aren't answered, rather leaving new questions. I won't dive too deep into the story in this review, but I can guarentee it will spawn many more theories than the original could ever hope to.
However, with so many additions, it's easy for the game to seem crowded. There are so many story elements floating around, and basically none of them are answered by the end. There's no large progression of the storyline, sans some few creepy randomly-appearing scenes and comments by the phone man. If you really want to discover what's going on, you'll have to do a lot of searching... Or just wait for the inevitable videos explaining it all.
Of course, the game does a wonderful job make its already tense atmosphere even more nerve-wracking than before. One of the biggest changes to the atmosphere is the fact that there are no doors rather, you must wear a Freddy Fazbear mask to hide. Said mask completely destroys your peripheral vision, and it won't protect you from everyone! Foxy the Pirate needs to be scared off by flickering your flashlight at him, and the Prize Puppet can only be subdued by winding up a jack in the box. While this does help stop the player from just hiding in the mask all day, it often feels cluttered trying to balance all three mechanics. The game also has a fourth simplistic minigame, although I won't dive into its nature much for the sake of spoilers. Just know it won't win the game any gameplay awards.
Without the doors, you feel much more vunerable, and oddly, more comfortable. Trust me, approaching anamatronics is still horrifying, but they pose less of a threat at a distance. In this hallway, you actually have three phases to see them coming, give you plenty of time to prepare a strategy. And trust me, the rather silly looking new anamatronics don't nearly look as intimidating as the old ones did when poking their heads out of the airvents. Perhaps the anamatronic to take the biggest hit when it comes to terror is Golden Freddy, who now boasts one of the most laughable 'jumpscares' in history, a far cry from his terrifying first appearance.
The two brand new anamatronics really do change up how you handle normal anatronics, especially Balloon Boy. Balloon Boy cannot flat out kill you, but he's designed simply to screw with the player's head. He giggles like a schoolboy, yelps "Hi!" at every chance he gets, and can disable your flashlight. Once your flashlight is disabled, he actually starts laughing repeatedly to attract Foxy. Basically, once Balloon Boy got to me, I accepted the fact I was going to die a horrid death. The Prize Puppet is also awfully spooky, but he can easily be calmed by using the music box. Be sure to do this often so you don't find yourself in a pickle.
The game's graphical style is back in full force, as creepy as ever. The old anamatronics appear scarier than they ever were before, and the new anamatronics, while rather silly looking, have their moments of terror. The graphics are also pleasantly changed up to look like an Atari game in the aforementioned minigame, but you'll have to see that for yourself. Also, it's worth mentioning here that the jumpscares aren't nearly as scary as they were in the first game, at least for a majority of the anamatronics.
The game's sound is appropriately creepy, being filled with odd shuffling, assorted whispers, and the laughs of Balloon Boy. Scott Cawthon himself reprises his role as phone guy, and delivers basically the same performance as he did in the first game. While I wouldn't mention it for most games, I feel it's necessary to mention the quality of the jumpscare screeches. Yes, they're scary. Yes, they made me jump even without looking at the screen. If you don't play this game with your volume turned up, then you're going to lose a good chunk of the experience.
I'm honestly still not sure what to think about this game. I enjoyed its silly jumpscare moments, but I am wondering if it's that much better than it's predecessor. While some gameplay elements such as the Balloon Boy fit wonderfully, the flashlight flickering and Freddy mask don't really add much to the game besides annoying you. If they stuck with doors, the game wouldn't be a lesser experience in the slightest. The game has a lot riding on it, and while the story and some of the side mechanics are cool, the main ways of defending yourself just don't work nearly as well as I hoped they would. If you really want to know more of the franchise's story, it's worth picking up, but if you're looking for anything more than a remixed Five Nights at Freddy's, it's not worth the eight dollar price tag.
This game was purchased by the reviewer and reviewed on the PC
Easily a better story than the first few nights out, but in Five Nights at Freddy's case, sometimes less is more.