Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 Review: Improved in Every Way
If you had a business with a murder problem, you’d probably just close up shop and deal with the lawsuits brought by the families of the deceased. Not so the owners of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, who dealt with their murderous animatronic problem by moving to a new location and installing new security measures. Thus is the premise for Five Nights at Freddy’s 2, a great follow-up to the popular indie game.
It’s hard for me to review this without referencing my review from just a month ago. In that review I considered the game a “one-note” experience, “literally a game of Statues with jump scares.” I liked it, but wished it could be more. Happily, that one-note nature of the original FNF has been completely erased in FNF2. It is still primarily a game of Stop-and-Go with jump scares, but by introducing new task-maintenance and protection strategies, FNF2 has made a game that I, for one, enjoyed more than I did the original.
In the first game, your primary defense against gristly animatronic death was a power-sucking door. Now, your primary defense is an empty Freddy head which you must put on your head whenever you spot a character near your booth. Timing is important! And you cannot just put the head on and wait out the night, because doing so will prevent you from winding the music box … and you don’t want to let the music box run out. Trust me. The animatronic characters are also a little more varied, with some of them acting less as murderers and more like nuisances that make your job of staying alive harder.
Also, the power-sucking doors are gone. Hooray! Instead, the power mechanic has been turned into a flashlight, which is a much more plausible battery drainer. I still dislike the Power part of the game, but it’s a lot less annoying here while still being something you have to monitor.
The result of these changes is that you feel more exposed and less in control of the situation. You also have to take more calculated risks, which means that when you die you feel more like it’s your fault and less like it’s the fault of the game’s stupid power mechanic. This isn’t to say that there aren’t moments of frustration where it really does feel like the fault of the game more than of your own missteps, but they’re fewer and less frustrating when they do happen … at least during the earlier nights. In later nights, things get downright brutal and the design begins to feel a little sloppy.
In addition to the improved gameplay, the iOS graphics are definitely improved. Everything looks better here than it did before. I’m not 100% sold on the “Toy” character redesigns — Chika’s new look is particularly bothersome, she’s like a waitress in a Hooters — but they’re still unarguably creepy when they’re peeking around the corner of the hallway, staring into your control booth.
All in all, it’s been an interesting six months for Five Nights at Freddy’s. FNF2 feels like the game FNF wanted to be, and FNF had just enough of the potential of this game to pave the way for this sequel. Fans of the original should definitely check it out, as should any horror survival game fan.
Our score: 4.5 out of 5