Five Nights at Freddy’s 4: Closure…?
Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 feels like a fully-realized vision for what Five Nights at Freddy’s could have been. It’s the best possible progression from the first game in so many ways. Writer’s Note: any instances of the animatronics’ names implies, unless said otherwise, that I’m talking about the Nightmare versions in this game. I realized I omitted that title a few times and I’m just too tired to fix it. Not even sort of sorry.
FNAF 4 is unique in that it’s played with a child for the main character. The story begins with a Fredbear plush trying to calm down the protagonist who is crying because he’s been locked in his room again. It becomes clear that there is a party in five days, that the protagonist’s older brother torments him regularly by preying on his fear of the animatronics, I won’t really say much more, as the game is still new enough that I’d hate to spoil even a little of it. Just know that this game seems to be another prequel-sequel.
Oh my dear god. This game has so much packed into it mechanics-wise, yet it manages to not feel overly-involved like FNAF 2 did. The bedroom has a similar set-up to the office from the first game, with a door on either side. Players must move around the room, checking each area carefully to avoid allowing the animatronics a chance to slip into the room and…well, Game Over. Nightmare Bonnie approaches from the left, Nightmare Chica approaches from the right, and Nightmare Foxy sneaks in by way of the right door before making his way into the closet. Nightmare Freddy has some of the most interesting mechanics in the game, however, as he shows up gradually. Miniature Freddy Fazbears appear on the bed over time, building up to three. If the player doesn’t address this by facing the bed and shining the flashlight on them, Nightmare Freddy will appear (which, of course, results in the Game Over screen; there are no more hallucinated safety nets here).
The doors are where most people seem to die. The player can choose to go to the left or right door, the closet, or look at the bed behind them. Once at a door, the player can choose to turn on the flashlight or shut the door. However, this is far more perilous than it sounds as this is where players must get used to the new, greater focus on audio cues. If the player can hear breathing, they need to shut the door. If not, they need to use the flashlight. Closing a door when there isn’t an animatronic there or using the flashlight when one is there will result in a jumpscare and Game Over.
The catch is simple: if the doors are ignored too long, or not properly tended to, there is an alternative jumpscare in which the animatronic (Bonnie or Chica’s cupcake) appear in the center of the room.
Foxy doesn’t seem to become a potential closet-invader until Night 2. If he enters the room and makes it into the closet, there is a telltale shift of the closet door. It’s crucial to keep up with Foxy, as he gradually moves into his kill position (similar to how he interacts with the curtain at Pirate’s Cove). Shining the flashlight in the closet could reveal a crouching Foxy, a standing Foxy, a plushie version of this nightmare…
As I mentioned before, it’s also crucial to check the bed for the Miniature Freddys (which I’ve taken to calling Jibblies for some reason, and I honestly have no idea why). Later in the game, a few things change up significantly. Spoilers.
One nice added feature is the mini-game Fun with Plushtrap. The goal is to stop Plushtrap on the X on the floor by shining your flashlight on him. There is a somewhat restrictive time limit. Shine the light too soon or too often and Plushtrap will never stand a chance at moving into position. Wait too long to try catching Plushtrap, however, and the little bastard will jumpscare you. Winning this mini-game, which happens between each night, moves the next night’s starting time ahead to 2a.m.
The Rookie Killer
When Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 first came out, the breathing sounds when an animatronic was at the door were really quiet. Near-impossible-to-hear quiet. Given how crucial proper door management is in this game, that was really killing people off left and right. It’s my understanding the breathing is louder now, but there are times when it’s delayed a little. Basically, be patient (but not too patient!) and make sure nothing sneaks in.
Misadventures in Failure
I’ve not played nearly enough of this game, only really getting to start Night 1 before distractions and other obligations stole me away. Bonnie killed me a couple times, which seems appropriate because Bonnie scares the Hell out of me. Since there isn’t much to say, and I’ve not yet done so, here’s a lovely Markiplier video from this game (I mean, I just really enjoy Markiplier’s FNAF videos).
Overall Rating – Scott delivered yet again
FNAF 4 is a damn-close second to FNAF 3 in terms of my favorite games in the series. This game feels polished and fine-tuned in ways I wish the first game had been. Having to listen for breathing at the doors, splitting players’ attention between four quadrants of the room, and the possibility of things changing at any moment (play through the game to find out…or do what I did and watch someone else play it) make this game as anxiety-inducing and terrifying as any of the others, if not more. The Nightmare animatronic designs are perfect for the plot, lending to the idea that a child’s imagination is all it takes to transform normal things into horrific ones with the help of a little darkness (more on that and the reasons why FNAF is so damn successful with scares in a future post; promise!). The cutscenes between nights give so much more information about the lore of FNAF, but they also muddy things up a bit in the process. We can only hope that The Bite of 87 DLC sheds additional light on the remainder of the FNAF story.