Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Five Nights at Freddy's 3 Review

The End.

Wow. What a wild ride it's been, eh? Not to sound like an old curmudgeon, but I remember when Five Nights at Freddy's first hit the scene. Hell, I remember reviewing both games in the series. And with the third game in the series, all of our questions have been answered. We finally have an ending, and this is indeed the conclusion to the series. Is it a good ending? Does the horror of it all still live up to our high expectations? Is the game even any good. I'm struggling how to accurately answer all of these questions, but I'm going to try my best. 

First and foremost, I'm going to say that I will spoil SOME plot elements. I will be talking about the new animatronic and its implications towards the game and the series as a whole, and I will be talking about the multiple endings in the game, though just a brief glancing over of them. The reason why I preface this is because if my suspicions are true and this is indeed the last game in the series, or at the very least this current storyline, I want all of my readers to experience this for themselves. The FNAF community is very dedicated and passionate, and it would be a crime for me to spoil the conclusion for them. You have been warned of these two spoilers that I will be discussing. 

Anyway, this game is infinitely better than Five Nights at Freddy's 2. I personally was not a fan of the game and found it way too difficult to elicit any scares from me. How can I be scared of something if I'm more frustrated with it than anything else? Hell, it took me weeks to actually finish the game not because it was so scary, but because I kept dying a lot. It became a lot more micromanaging, and it lost a part of its charm because of that. 

This game launched March 2nd at 8:00 p.m., 2015. In one day, I've been able to beat this game and 100% complete it. I know the full truth behind the series... and yet I feel like as a "game", this was by far the easiest game in the series. I don't know if it was because of the negative reaction to the difficulty of the second game, but this game was just incredibly easy compared to everything else I've played. Which is odd, because the game throws you several new mechanic, takes away old mechanics, and essentially leaves you to sink or swim. The mechanics should be much harder to master, but they really aren't.

Our story this time is that Five Nights at Freddy's 3 takes place 30 years after Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria closed down (which Pizzeria though is up to debate, but I personally believe it's the one depicted in FNAF 1). A new horror attraction opens up based off the Pizzeria called Fazbear's Fright. It has several pieces of memorabilia in it from all locations, and its a week before they're open to the general public. However, they don't have any animatronics. The first night as you sit around and wait for something to come and get you... but no one comes. It's only at the second night that an animatronic appears, but no one knows how it got there. All you know is that you're locked in with one animatronic, and it wants you dead.

So right off the bat, we're thrown into this new environment with a completely new perception of the series. It's just you, one animatronic, some cameras, an air vent, and and audio cue. The last three tools, cameras, vents, and audio, are all the only ways you can defend yourself from the animatronic. The cameras will obviously allow you to see where it is, the vents will allow you to close them to prevent the animatronic from climbing through the vents to get you, and the audio draws him to a specific camera, under the idea that its programmed to approach any child it hears (the audio is of Balloon Boy). However, the animatronic can take out each of your systems, and if one breaks, you'll need to physically reboot it, which will take you away from any action to try and save yourself. If he takes out the cameras, you can't see. If he takes out the vents, you'll start to lose your vision and he'll get to you much easier, and if you lose the audio you have no way to repel him. All the while, hallucinations of decrepit and more malicious animatronics like Balloon Boy, Foxy, Chica, Freddy, and even the Puppet, will appear and scare the living hell out of you. Survive till 6 in the morning for five nights, and you win. Or do you...?

That's right, in a shocking turn of events, there are alternate endings to this game. One is the bad ending, where you beat night 5, the neutral ending, where you beat Nightmare mode (night 6), or the good ending, which is incredibly complicated and tricky to figure out. Each ending offers a unique perspective on the whole franchise and will offer conclusions to all of your lingering questions. However, it's easier than ever to experience all of these endings, with the major exception being the good ending which I'll discuss soon. I was able to fully beat this game in about 6 or 7 hours, but I never felt quite as challenged as previous entries. I was scared several times, but once I understood what was going on, I was able to replace my fear with determination. This was the one game in the series where I wasn't afraid to lose, because I knew that I was going to beat the one true adversary in this game; the lone animatronic.

The idea of there being only one animatronic is brilliant. With only one enemy, the game quickly became a battle of wits between the animatronic and myself. I was fighting him and he was fighting me. When he acted, I had to react just as fast to keep him at bay. When he used "Phantom" versions of animatronics, I fought back just as hard with rebooting my systems and foiling his plans. It's fighting a singular, intelligent opponent, which is exactly what this game needed. It needed one enemy to fight and defeat and not 10 different enemies to fight with different patterns. If anything, this game is probably akin to most slasher movies than anything else. In slasher movies, you know who your one opponent is, and you fear them because you know what they're capable of. You know that they're a truly scary foe to realize, but you have to face them regardless. There's one monster, you know who they are, you know their abilities, and even though you're scared of them, you'll have to overcome your fears to fight them. You can be afraid of Foxy in the first game, but you may not encounter him in some sessions. You never have to face up to your fears. This time, the opponent is intelligent enough to play to your weaknesses and if you're going to win, you're going to need to get better.

Which brings us to the one animatronic. Who is he? What is he called? What is his identity. Ladies and gentlemen, your enemy this game is... Springtrap. Aka, Golden Bonnie. Aka... The Purple Man. That's right, the big enemy in this game is the antagonist of the entire series. The man who killed all of the children that inhabit the animatronics himself is now an animatronic. How you may ask? Well, I won't say exactly, but this honestly isn't up for debate or speculation like other entries in the series. The Purple Man is Springtrap, and Springtrap is the one animatronic hunting you down. Not only that, but his presence offers up an explanation for what exactly Golden Freddie is, why Golden Freddy appeared limp in several games, how people were able to wear his suit and kill children, and the overall history as to how these killings first began. Springtrap explains everything and by God is he difficult to predict and fight!

You can say now that we finally have a face for all of the carnage and terror of the whole series, and it's refreshing to finally have an image to associate with all of this. The idea of who exactly the Purple Guy was and how evil the animatronics really are has been up for debate for a while now, but now his presence as Springtrap makes this game feel much more personal. Defeating him will bring closure to the series and you can feel satisfied that you've actually done good in the world by beating him. Before, you were satisfied in completing the five nights, but you never felt like you won. Instead, it felt like you just survived. Now though, you can actually win and beat the game. You can finally end the children's suffering, which is exactly what you do in the good ending.

I will say though that getting the good ending requires moon logic and an incredible amount of patience and thinking. Clues will be presented to you in weird dream sequences after each night, and you have to figure out exactly what each clue means. Clues like "BB DBL CLICK" may seem simple enough, but what you're supposed to do with them can be obtuse at the easiest. It's frustrating, and even when you figure out what each clue does, which usually leads to a minigame, the obvious answer is never the right one. You need to explore and be inventive in order to solve these puzzles and minigames in order to get the good ending. I was able to decipher two clues on my own and stumble upon a minigame by accident, but I had no idea how to technically "win" each game by myself. I had to consult several guides in order to figure out what the hell was going on.

That's probably my biggest complaint about the game; it throws so much at you and it hopes that everything sticks. You can eventually learn how the audio, cameras, and vents work, but I didn't fully realize how to use the audio until night 5. Even then, the good ending would have required an incredible amount of effort and though to solve it by yourself. Because each night is essential to completing the good ending, and that all of the minigames can only be played on specific nights, you would need to memorize the game front and back to fully appreciate at it and win the game. And, like I said, because the game is so easy, completing it won't be hard, but it'll be tedious if you want to get the full story behind the game, which is what every Five Nights at Freddy's fan wants.

And that was exactly what I was looking for in this game; closure. It's no secret that people have been bemoaning the fact that the Five Nights at Freddy's games come out at such a frequent pace and offer little innovation besides jump scares. However, I personally don't agree with that at all. While the Pewdiepie's of the world use it as the most recent jump scare simulator and don't view it as anything else, I don't. I view it as a rich and deep world with a lot of thought and care put into it by Scott Cawthon. Scott originally said that Five Nights at Freddy's was going to be his last game before going into a new profession. He made it, and it turned into an overnight phenomenon with a rabid fanbase that wants more of this world. It has a dedicated fanbase and it has the lore and heart to back it up.

Yes the game is scary, but it's a lot more than just a jump scare simulator. And yes, Five Nights at Freddy's 3 has a lot of flaws with it, like the other games in the series, but I still look over most of it. I just can't help but have fun playing this game, even though I can get scared very easily by seeing a horrifying Balloon Boy pop up, or watching Springtrap watch me from down the hall. I can't deny that I had a good time playing these games. This game isn't revolutionary, but it is the definitive ending of Five Nights at Freddy's and like most trilogies, I think it went out on a high note. I tip my hat to you Scott Cawthon.


For my previous Five Nights At Freddy's reviews, you can click here for the original Five Nights and Freddy's  and here for Five Nights at Freddy's 2.

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