Publisher: Scott Cawthon
Genre: Horror, Indie
I have a confession to make: I did not like Five Nights at Freddy’s when it first came out. I thought it was just cheap jump scares with no real substance. I mean, come on! Killer animatronics? I’ve been a fan of all things horror since I was a kid and this just felt like another indie developer trying to grab a quick buck. Then, I started to do a little research. I looked at the backstory and the hidden messages scattered throughout the first game. I watched videos discussing theories on who might have done such a horrible and unspeakable thing to children and listened to fans talk about who they thought the now-infamous purple guy was and it got me more invested in a game series than I have in a long time. Now, with the fourth installment finally here, Five NIghts at Freddy’s 4, maybe we will get some answers and put the spirits of those affected by the purple guy to rest.
This time, instead of playing as a security guard, you play as a child in your home defending yourself against the “nightmare” versions of Freddy Fazbear and his haunted companions. Armed with only your flashlight, you must defend yourself by checking the doors to your bedroom as well as your closet and your bed behind you from the terrors that lurk in the dark. As the game progresses, you find out more about the identity of the child and how he fits into the FNAF timeline.
The biggest thing to be concerned about in this installment of the FNAF series is the appearance of the animatronics. The creator Scott Cawthon wanted to make this one the scariest installment of the entire series, so the animatronics and visuals are quite disturbing. If you have small children and they are easily frightened by loud noises and creepy looking animals, then you might want to make sure they do not watch you play or play the game themselves. There is no cursing or violence, just like the rest of the series, so you will not have to worry about anything of that nature.
FNAF4 changes the formula from the previous games quite a bit. You have to watch two bedroom doors,the closet door, and on the bed behind you. You only have a flashlight this time around and cannot keep doors closed forever. Instead of security cameras, you have to go from door to door and listen for footsteps and breathing. While at the doors, you have the choice to close the door or to shine your flashlight down the hall to make sure no one is close. If you make the wrong choice however, and shine your flashlight when you hear said breathing, it’s game over. In difficulty, Five Nights 4 would sit somewhere between harder than the first and third game (which weren’t that difficult) to nowhere near as hard as the second (harder than all four games combined).
FNAF4 takes the same approach as the first Five Nights at Freddy’s with Bonnie on the left and Chica on the right. However, when dealing with Foxy and Freddy himself, the game takes a whole new turn. You have to really be on your toes this time around and make sure that you hit the right button at the right time. Most of my failures came from simply getting my buttons mixed up.
A fun new option this time around is the “Fun with Plushtrap” mini-game in between nights. If you can catch him moving and have him fall on the X in the middle of the screen, you can cut two hours off of your next night. I would not rely on this too heavy though, as the difficulty towards the end of the game really ramps up and if you’re like me, you will fail many times. Without giving too much away, just like the other three games, there are extra nights to be played so if you are brave enough, give them a try. They are worth beating to reveal more secrets about the tragedy of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.
Sound is by far the most important aspect this time around because you have to listen for Freddy and company to come down the hallway. The breathing mechanic is a little buggy, as some times you cannot decipher between the muffled breathing of the animatronics or another random noise down the hallway. Scott Cawthon has explained that you will have to take time and listen in the darkness for the breathing, but it is still difficult to differentiate between noises at certain points.
This is the best looking Five Nights at Freddy’s to date. All of the animatronics are highly detailed and scarier than ever. The jump scares flow very well and always come when you least expect them. The atmosphere this time around plays heavily around the common childhood fear of the dark. Your eyes and ears will play tricks on you more than ever this time around, so it is definitely important to be at the top of your game if you want to complete this one.
There really needs to be more game makers like Scott Cawthon. Five Nights at Freddy’s doesn’t need to be vulgar or incredibly gory to be a memorable horror experience. What’s more is that this series has brought together a community of gamers who just pick apart each and every little detail to each game and to discuss the possibilities of the identity of the purple guy. Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 offers great scares and very satisfying moments while keeping in true horror fashion by keeping you second guessing your every move. It keeps that same frantic feel from previous chapters in the series while adding a new sense of anxiety and fear to the mix. It may not answer all of the questions that the fans have, but it definitely helps put some major missing pieces of the puzzle on the table.
The Bottom Line
Five Nights at Freddy's 4 is a great ending to a great series. Let's hope that we see more from Scott Cawthon very soon.