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A quick review of Five Nights at Freddy’s
by TeenHelp February 3rd 2015, 10:03 PM

A quick review of Five Nights at Freddy’s
By Chess ( *~Skittles Martinski~* )

In August 2014, a new point-and-click horror survival game was released via Desura and Steam, becoming a hit with critics and gamers alike. The aim of the game is simple: survive five nights at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, a family-owned business with questionable security practices and maintenance schedules. The player’s persona is a security guard on the night shift at the pizzeria, from midnight until six in the morning, which translates to a little less than ten minutes on the original version (or around five minutes on the mobile version).

The main threat, as explained by an increasingly unsettling phone call from the security guard’s predecessor, is the animatronics who are given free rein at night, meaning that they wander around the pizzeria in the darkness. Should these animatronics happen across any humans during this time they will mistake humans for exoskeletons and, because this is against the rules, will forcibly stuff them inside an empty animatronic suit, thus ending the game. They become more active as the days progress, thus increasing the difficulty level for the player.

As a security guard, the player’s only defence is the ability to close doors on either side of the office, which uses up some of the limited power supply and therefore should only be done when absolutely necessary. The player is able to switch between several security cameras, which show unnervingly decrepit and dark rooms in which the animatronics lurk, ready to encroach on the security guard’s office. Each of the animatronics has its own ‘quirks’ and tends to follow a certain pattern, but even knowing these fails to entirely negate the tension of the situation.

At the completion of the fifth night a bonus sixth night is unlocked, which is more difficult than the ones preceding it. If this is completed as well it will unlock a custom night in which the player can change the AI (Artificial Intelligence) level of the animatronics, thus creating a more challenging experience for those brave enough to go beyond the first five nights.

One of the most intriguing things about the game is its vagueness. There are many clues throughout the nights as to the game’s backstory, for example as heard in the nightly phone calls and seen in the decorations of some of the rooms, but there is still a lot left unanswered. This allows the player to come up with their own theories, many of which are the subject of debate in online forums. While these theories are interesting, the more squeamish player should be warned against researching them, at least before playing the game.

As far as dynamics go, the brilliance of the game lies in the simplicity and the feelings of helplessness generated by the inability of the player to physically move. The animation is reasonably low-key, graphic violence is non-existent, and yet there is a constant feeling of suspense, generated by the low-quality security cameras and strange background noises. Coupled with the hints of morbid background stories, this is very effective in creating a delightfully terrifying atmosphere.

The game has become very popular among certain circles, particularly YouTube: it is the subject of many Let’s Play videos and other YouTube videos from such well-known names as PewDiePie, Markiplier, iHasCupquake, and Dan and Phil. Part of its value as a subject of YouTube videos is the fact that each time the character dies it results in a potential jumpscare, which is generally more amusing for the viewer than the player. That said, while playing the game it is also possible to avoid full immersion and thus allow more easily scared people to play. Some simple ways to reduce the fear factor of the game are to play with friends, to have music playing in the background, or to play without headphones in.

Overall the game does deserve the hype, as it is a refreshing take on a traditional genre and can be played by both serious gamers and the enthusiastic novice. It has also been so successful that it prompted the release of a sequel within the same year. As far as newly released horror games go, this has to be up there with the best of them.
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