Games To Play Before You Die: Five Nights at Freddy’s

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Five Nights at Freddy’s brings a unique flavour to our gaming bucket list. Bite-sized horror lets even squeamish players get in on the action.

Tenured readers of our fine publication will undoubtedly know of my feelings about Five Nights at Freddy’s. I’ve been singing its praises since I first played it.

There’s a wonderful balance that allows the game to have few barriers to entry while retaining meaning for seasoned fans of horror. For as good a game as it is, Five Nights at Freddy’s inclusion in this list is more a reflection on this unique brand of being both awesome and easy to play.

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It’s Impactful

The nature of being primarily jump scares allows Five Nights at Freddy’s to put most of the focus on such scares. They are the star of the show. Unlike other games in which jump scares can be added as an afterthought to no real advantage, Five Nights at Freddy’s utilises them beautifully. An added advantage being the fear of such impressive jump scares artificially creates a sense of dread and foreboding throughout the game.

Central scares aside, there are very strong elements that tie the game together. The appearances of the animatronics throughout the pizzeria, the seedy appearance of the world around you, and the slow ticking down of the power meter. There’s a surprising depth to the art and the story of the game, as well as the mechanics. Players will experience a wonderful amount of immersion as they explore the small titbits tattered to the wall.

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It’s a Small Window to a Huge Deal More

For this list, I was unsure whether I wanted to include Five Nights at Freddy’s or the direct sequel. While both are strong contenders, one of the reasons I opted for the original is because it restricts your options as far as what you can directly manipulate. Where this becomes fantastic is this small amount of buttons you can press have massive impacts indirectly.

Having a huge world, mechanically and artistically, lets players explore. Tenured players and those showing the game to their friends will enjoy seeing new things coming out of changed techniques. Unlike more linear horror titles, where strategies are fairly stagnant. Avoid one place, light up another, save some ammo for later. Changing tactics in Five Nights at Freddy’s lets players have a longer and deeper relationship with the game.

For instance, depending on how inactive players are, Foxy (the dark horse of the group) may attack as early as the first night. Then he responds to how often you check a certain camera. Freddy, the eponymous enemy, will react differently based on whether or not you see him on camera. These are just a few of the things players can manipulate without actually having a button or a lever to toggle.

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Few Barriers to Entry

Where horror games fall short as a genre to showcase is in the drawn out beginnings. For those of us who enjoy these games, this is no chore. It serves to better the atmosphere and add to the terror. For others, it bores them out of trying before they get anywhere.

Five Nights at Freddy’s, being a game people can simply pick up and play, works wonderfully as a showcase game without sacrificing the content. The only reason I can get away with putting a horror game on this list is because Five Nights at Freddy’s is so easy to get involved in.

Put a few minutes in and get hooked. It’s a dangerous recipe but definitely one for success. Even get the iOS version and spook some co-workers around the water cooler.

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