The follow up to Five Nights at Freddy’s is the imaginatively named Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 – another light-hearted romp through a darkened Pizzeria. Sorry, who am I kidding – what I mean is that it is another addition to the creepy, jump scare-filled series of terrifying nights. Ready to clock in for another shift?
The format of Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 is pretty much the same as the previous one, albeit with a few key changes. We are hired as a night watchman for a pizzeria, which features animatronic characters to entertain the children of the punters that come in. The characters in question are similar to the previous game as well, but they look a little different this time around; more “withered” than before. Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, Foxy and Golden Freddy all return, but this time they are joined by toy versions of themselves and new animatronics – the Marionette (often referred to as the Puppet) and a humanoid robot known as Balloon Boy.
Similar to the first time around, and as was previously noted, these animatronics have a night mode where they wander about, in order to prevent their servos from freezing up. The toy characters have apparently got the very latest in facial recognition software built in, along with access to a police database in order to keep the children safe, which sounds like a great idea. However, they weren’t programmed with a proper night mode, and so when the restaurant falls silent they seek out the nearest source of noise so they can have an audience; as we are all alone in the place, guess where they head towards. The original creatures still seem to have the same inclination to shove us into a spare animatronic suit, as they think we are a disembodied exoskeleton, but it is here where a new mechanic also comes into play.
In fact, while the setup is the same – stuck in an office and unable to move from the room – there are a few changes. There is no longer a limited amount of power for lights or CCTV in the night, which is a relief. However, there are also no lockable doors either, so the creatures seemingly get free access to the entirety of the pizzeria whenever they fancy. In order to help us survive the nights though, we have a flashlight (which can be used to reset some of the animatronics), a wearable Freddy Fazbear head that fools some of the animatronics into thinking we are one of them, and a wind up music box that can be used to keep the attention off of the toys. In order to wind the music box, you have to open the CCTV, navigate to the correct screen, and then hold down the B button on the controller to wind it. Of course, while you are doing this, the rest of the enemies are wandering about, and quite often I’ve lowered the CCTV monitor to find an animatronic looking at me. The jump scare that follows has made me squeal, I’m not ashamed to say.
Another new feature that has been introduced to FNAF 2 is the advent of 8-bit, retro-styled minigames that sometimes occur when you are killed by the animatronics. These games are almost ZX Spectrum-era in style, and seem to hint at a dark chapter in the restaurant’s recent past, involving some murdered children. Phone Guy makes a return too, and in between giving us hints about how to make it through the night, he also happily hints at some trouble happening in the restaurant during the hours of daylight. These games are an interesting diversion from the main event, to say the least.
Graphically and we find that Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 is pretty much the same as the previous one, with the CCTV in particular being still of somewhat ropy quality. One change here though is the ability to use a light attached to the camera to light up the areas, and I can’t overestimate how atmospheric and scary the game is, with half-seen movements ensuring that your nerves are always kept jangling; when the light goes on, there appears to be nothing out of the ordinary, building the tension even more. The sounds are creepy as well, with things absolutely going bump in the night. If the music box should run down then you’ll need to really be on your guard.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 is however much trickier to work through than the original game, and at all points it is very much akin to keeping plates spinning while patting your head and rubbing your stomach; multi-tasking is necessary to make a go of the job of night watchman here.
In conclusion then, Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 is a worthy successor to the first game; one that comes with new ideas to explore and additional mechanics to try out. It’s very much harder than the first one, but in turn the jolts of the jump scares also hit home just as hard. The new characters are creepy, the withered originals look even more horrifying than before – especially when peering at you through a camera – and it is still scary and creepy in equal measure. Turn out the lights, put on some headphones and maybe a set of Tena pants – you’re going to be in for a bumpy ride with Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 on Xbox One.