Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) is a franchise of games that arguably have the most in-depth lore of any horror game out there. It’s definitely been a game that doesn’t appear particularly scary until you find yourself in that forsaken pizzeria, begging that you make it through another night. It can take players a good few months to pluck up the courage to pick up the next title after playing through the one before. But upon the release of the shiny new Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach, players’ love for the franchise is blossoming again.
Despite the first game being released in 2014, and ten games following that release, Security Breach has an entirely new approach to the title. Rather than featuring the same cast of sentient animatronics fans are used to, new ‘faces’ appear, and old ones seem to be pushed to the back (sorry Bonnie. We all miss you.) With a ‘GlamRock’ makeover taking place, suddenly a whole world of Fazbear is opened to us. Gone are the days of patrolling from one room and a map with security cameras. We welcome the hefty 80GB title and begin to face the very things that terrified us at first, but now it’s truly nightmare material.
Let’s go together (I don’t want to go alone into this) and explore the pizzeria after closing hours. Who knows? If you’re lucky you might make it out alive…
Story: You can’t hide forever
Gregory, a young boy, is a visitor of the Fazbear Pizzeria. But when his favourite animatronic, Freddy, collapses on the stage during a performance, he sees the opportunity to crawl inside an open cavity in his chest. Everyone remains unaware of this until he finds himself trapped within the wall of the pizzeria with no other option but to stay hidden until it’s safe to leave.
But when you’re a child and faced with ten-foot bloodthirsty animatronics you can’t exactly feel secure in one place. Honestly, some of the things faced in Security Breach will install a new sense of fear, just as they would’ve at Gregory’s age. I don’t know how he had the courage to even fathom half the tasks he was instructed throughout the game. Let alone maintain the hope of making it out alive. However, Gregory’s approach to most elements of the story is rather amusing. Despite his age, he cracks a few one-liners which are definitely unexpected. They break the tension between characters and you begin to feel rather attached to him. The same goes for the whole cast. You find yourself attached to them as the game progresses and you learn more about them, but certain faces are definitely missed.
Frustration at Fazbear’s
The most frustrating part of the story to me is how much is left unanswered. We are introduced to a load of new characters but never really told why. Such as Vanny, who we just make assumptions for, and the disappearance of Bonnie and Foxy. There’s merch for them throughout the game, even locations named after them. But their backstories aren’t really explored. For a franchise, so lore-heavy you’d expect some sort of speculation at least.
Old but gold
There are an admirable amount of nods to the original titles within Security Breach, which didn’t go unappreciated. Having gone into it with a general knowledge of the franchise and experience with the first few games, there are almost certainly easter eggs I missed. Even within the map itself, there are several references to previous characters and titles even if it’s just in the form of a discarded plushie on a shelf in the basement. To a hardcore FNAF fan, a lot of memories and nostalgia would enhance their experience with this title.
Gameplay: Don’t Look Back
As mentioned already, Security Breach brings a brand new concept to the games. Rather than having your character in one place, you are free to roam all over a quite overwhelmingly large map. Despite loving the original few FNAF games, this was definitely a well-needed breath of fresh air in the franchise. The open-world aspect has allowed several new elements of terror for you to endure. Including everything from crawling through vents to jumping into every hiding spot, you come across. The open-world aspect to this title allows players to experience a new level of immersion, more so than the few hours you’d spend on one of the first three games.
This feature would be praise-worthy if the map weren’t so overwhelmingly massive. You have the aid of your Fazwatch to guide you, but with the sheer size of it that doesn’t really feel like enough. There are minimaps dotted around the world as decoration for the visitors but if you try and use them to actually find where you need to go – they won’t be much use. Unlike the rest of the title which seems to be in ultra HD, the maps aren’t like that. You’re better off exploring when you can and trying to memorise the place for yourself. Neon lights seem to show you the main locations you need to go to, and there are several signs pointing the way but it is a little difficult to find your way around upon first exploration.
A variety of new vagabonds
With a new location comes a whole new herd of horror as well. There are several new characters implemented into this game rather than the original few from FNAF 1-4. We are introduced to some pretty cursed characters, such as vent-dwelling mechanical spiders and an unsettling nursery warden. But not all of these new characters are working with malicious intent. Whilst some will grab you and alert the main crew where you are, there are several bots that are simply lurking for dramatic effect. I adored running around and initially sussing out who was friendly. Yet it’s more than likely for players to experience distrust of certain characters – despite if they claim to be trying to help you. Even after you go through the whole game, parts of my being just refuse to trust. Not after the trauma of every other game.
A butterfly effect ending
As most horror games tend to go, you are presented with a choice at the end of the game as to how you can leave. After spending hours engaging in hair-raising chases and death-defying encounters you’d expect to really be pulling your hair out trying to make this final decision. To avoid any spoilers within this review, I’ll only say this.
Don’t waste your time waiting for something spectacular.
It felt really disappointing when the game just suddenly came to an end. Even after trying two out of the three options, it led to giving up and not wanting to tamper with the experience of the game as a whole. It felt like the developers spent years perfecting this incredible new approach to the franchise and then just… gave up? Questions are left unanswered and it’s all very unsatisfying to end it on. Whether they are gearing up for a sequel to Security Breach, remains unclear. But it definitely felt anticlimactic.
Audio and Graphics: A nightmare come to life
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach, is a stunning game. The graphics do not appear clunky or pixelated at a single point unless they are hiding something. Everything moves smoothly, which obviously makes being chased by seven-foot robots all the more terrifying. However, there are several bugs that occur during these chases which give you a gentle reminder that they aren’t real.
For example, Moon really easily gets stuck on blocks you knock over in the nursery. So suddenly their presence really isn’t as haunting as it should be. The same goes for most other characters. They can run and chase you for however long they need. Even until you’re diving headfirst into a hiding spot, then suddenly they’ve lost track of where you are. It definitely ruins your immersion of the game to a certain extent, which is a shame because without these bugs it would definitely be intimidating from start to finish.
Additionally, with raytracing being implemented into the game, it causes some pretty severe lag. Luckily, it isn’t an integral part of gameplay; so, I’d suggest it remains off unless you know your console can handle it without fault. The game looks amazing without it so I can assure you that you aren’t missing out on anything really. The 80’s style of the map is reflected by phenomenal arrays of neon colours and bright lights. It definitely transports you to the childlike glee of visiting an arcade. Except for this time, you might be stuck there forever.
Five Nights at Freddy’s? More like Five Nights of Fear
As for the sound design, it takes classic horror intensity but lays on a metallic sheen to really emphasise the terror of the animatronics. There isn’t much of a soundtrack persay, but the arcade element to the map has a pretty tuneful accompaniment. It’s very synth-heavy, once again reinforcing that ideal arcade sound. Rather than a non-diegetic soundtrack all of the sounds within the game are heard by all characters. So make sure that you are keeping an eye on how much noise you’re making.
Using the sounds you make to alert enemies makes the whole experience that bit scarier. Also, there is nothing quite like the blood-curdling screech unleashed by the robots after getting caught. This is one element that has remained the same throughout the FNAF franchise, but the jumpscares are one of the biggest selling points of the title. It’s expected that the most iconic element remains the same across the board.
One of these things is not like the other…
Each animatronic has a soundboard of phrases as well, which appear repetitive at first but it reminds you of the fact they aren’t human. They are probably the only phrases they are programmed to recite. As the story progresses the animatronics develop more of a personality and expand their vocabulary. Which again, is rather haunting. It makes them feel more human, but you know that they definitely have enough strength to destroy you. The personality chip embedded in each robot is one of the most terrifying parts of the story to think about. They have a taste for blood, and you are definitely their next victim.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach was reviewed on PC.