Thursday, December 22, 2016

Five Nights at Freddy's



Five Nights at Freddy's 1: you're a security guard of a kid's pizza restaurant, and the animatronic performers on stage start moving around at night. If they make it into your office, you're dead.

Why do the doors require power to stay CLOSED? Why does the security system run on a battery?! What are you guarding???

Illogical as the setup is, it's entertaining and creepy. The gameplay is intuitive, and it's a fun challenge to find the rhythm needed to survive the final nights. Understanding how each creature behaves is crucial to managing your resources, and as limited as the graphics and gameplay are, they are well-executed.

Five Nights at Freddy's is an experience as memorable as it is creative. It creates a real sense of dread, helplessness, and panic, all from still images in poorly lit rooms.




Five Nights at Freddy's 2 isn't as good as the first. You're a security guard again at a new and bigger restaurant location. No doors to close this time. Now the creatures can get into your office, and you can't stop them.

We're expecting the jump scares, so it isn't a surprise this time, and now you have a flashlight, so getting such a good look at the animatronics kills their scare value.

In game 1, all the creatures move about in observable ways, and you can and must track them on camera, and you know when to close the doors and when it's safe to open them.

Not so with 2; creatures sometimes just appear in your office for no reason, and you only have a fraction of a second to put on the mask or the game is over. Closing doors to keep the creatures out is intuitive in game 1. Game 2 has fuzzy rules.

Looking at the cameras is pointless because it affects nothing, unlike game 1, in which it is the only way to keep a couple monsters from moving. The monsters don't always have consistent paths through the building, so keeping track of them wastes too much time. Winding the damn music box is the only reason to open the cameras now, and it means your eyes are permanently glued to camera 11, and the player doesn't get to see the building or observe the creatures at all.

Checking up on Freddy's and Foxy's locations in the first game makes the cameras part of the game because doing so prevents them from moving. In game 2, the cameras don't serve a purpose at all. Being able to shine light in the dark rooms affects nothing, and it takes away from the subtlety.

In FNAF1, the animatronics move in subtle ways, and because you can't see them clearly until they are right in front of you, at first you wonder if they are moving at all. FNAF2 lets you see them clearly at all times, and yes, now they are obviously moving.

The sound effects are subtle and creepy in the first game. Some could be mistaken for ambient noise. In the second game, they're pretty blatant and loud. Foxy even has a theme song that plays when he's nearby. Doesn't add to the creep-factor.

This game feels like the cartoonish knock-off an imitator would make, not a sequel.




As for Five Nights at Freddy's 3... The pizza restaurant is closed, and now you're a security guard for a haunted house based on Freddy Fazbear's restaurant. I beat the game in less than 90 minutes, and I don't know how or why. The rules are so unclear the game is more confusing than frightening. I couldn't find the damn creature on camera! Despite clicking on every view a dozen times per night, I never saw it apart from a couple sightings in the vents, so how was I supposed to play?!

If there is a place where you're told to use audio to lure it away from the office, I didn't hear it. I read that's what you're supposed to do in a community guide. I figured since I had made it to night 4 without taking any action, I should find out what I'm actually supposed to do. So I hit the audio in random places throughout each night, and eventually I beat nights 4 and 5. Did it have any effect? It must have, but I didn't see a result, and that's the big problem with this game. Game 1: close door, prevent death. Game two: put on mask, prevent death. In game 3, there is no connection between an action and preventing your demise.

I've read you must complete the minigames in cryptic, unintuitive ways to get the true ending. I will not bother.

*

I enjoyed the first game. The scenario is illogical, but the gameplay makes perfect sense, it is genuinely creepy, it is intuitive, and the experience is memorable. I'm guessing the success of the first game killed this as a franchise as the creator cranked out the sequels too fast to think them through. I have no faith the other games in the series will be any better.

No comments:

Post a Comment