There are a total of four games in the Five Nights at Freddy's series, and unlike what the title suggests, each iteration of the game is actually longer than just 5 nights. Surviving several nights in a row while trying to stay safe from murderously dangerous horrors that lurk in the dark is not an easy task; especially not when said things are launching a psychological assault on your emotional well being. The game is challenging and presents a gameplay style that is unlike any other horror game that came before it. While the entire story is not fully resolved (all the pieces are there and you have to piece them together yourself), the full experience is certainly something that a true horror fan should not pass up on.
What is Five Nights at Freddys?
The FNF series is 4 games that share one central concept: players will control a protagonist that must survive several nights in a row, armed with only the barest tools, fending off threats that are pretty much supernatural in nature. The first three games are more similar to each other –players take on the role of a night-shift security worker and must use a variety of surveillance equipment in order to monitor the various threats and ensure their safety. The fourth game in the series features a child in his room –who must manually check each doorway and closet with a flashlight.
The gameplay builds up tension pretty fast –the first night serves as a tutorial or a warm up for the players. This allows them to get acquainted with the basic controls and the general feel of the gameplay. Then once the second night hits, the dangers start evolving and players must learn to juggle time and energy in order to make it until the morning. Making the wrong move, wasting energy, and just not paying attention will get you in trouble in this game.
How the Horror Works
Jumpscares are plenty in this game and they are done just right. The perfect timing for jumpscares, after all, is when you either least expect it, or when you are already too drawn out trying to anticipate it. In fact, most of the gameplay is designed to break down a player's emotional barriers. You will need to shift between monitors, change the way you check doorways, move around –it all changes depending on which part of the series you are playing, but the result is the same, your mind is kept busy with queuing up tasks and little errands that you need to keep you alive. The more tired you are, the less likely that your are emotionally guarded from the scares.
Of course, there is something intrinsically scary about each game. The settings alone are horrid –long abandoned fast food joints with still-moving animatronics that are apparently automated to perform murderously evil stuff, an attraction dedicated to such horrors, and the coup-de-grace, a child's bedroom where things really are lurking in the shadows.
All that said, playing all four games in a single sitting is not a good idea. This game will literally wear you out –the amount of focus needed to get past the latter half of all the games is exhausting, both mentally and physically. Besides, it is better to appreciate each game on its own instead of treating it as just another piece in a bigger pie.
The Story and Gameplay
There are countless fan theories and speculations about the truth regarding the FNF series, but here's the basic breakdown of what is actually known. Back in 1987, a violent and tragic event known as "the Bite" happened in Fredbear's Family Diner, which involved the automated animatronic mascots of the diner. The diner is eventually turned into a pizzeria but still has the animatronics. The first two games are set here, where the player must keep track of the animatronics at night.
The third game is set further into the future, with an attraction style Fazbear's Fright: The Horror Attraction storing remnants of the animatronics and the player having to deal with a lone, yet seemingly more dangerous, all new fifth animatronic. In all three games above, the use of monitors and other surveillance equipment is employed to keep track of the animatronics, though each new game adds additional elements for players to balance and keep track of.
The fourth game in the set is different than the previous ones. Instead of being a security guard at night, players take on the role of a child (whom many believe is the original victim of "the Bite"). In this game, instead of switching camera viewpoints, players will have to literally move around the child's room armed with nothing but a flashlight. It is a lot less busy than the previous games, but also requires the player to be more careful with their actions as you will have to listen to audio cues as there are not advanced equipment to help you keep track of the dangerous animatronics.
This is not a game for action fans or folks who like stories to be neatly laid out. Five Nights at Freddys is a deconstruction of the horror genre –complete with unsolved mysteries and jumpscares, and all the classic elements but completely twisted on its head. It does not follow the norm. The minigames not only unlock full endings, but are also narrative elements that reveal important details that players would normally miss.
The order of events are not clearly stated, but it is obvious that the 4 games are not laid out in a chronological order. But more than all the hanging questions and mysteries about the purple man that appears and the strange phone calls that happen in the first three games, FNF's lore and scariness is something that strikes true to the heart of the most avid horror fans. If you like getting scared and left wondering what is happening, then the Five Nights at Freddy's games are perfect for you.