The eighth main instalment of the Five Nights at Freddy’s saga beings with a glam-rock ‘80s version of Freddy Fazbear, noted child-murdering robot, suffering a malfunction on stage in front of his hordes of fans. When the animatronic awakens, he discovers he’s picked up an unwanted passenger somewhere along the way. That’s right, you’re inside him. It’s like a Five Nights fanfic up in here.
To clarify, you the player are in control of a young boy named Gregory, and Gregory is inside Freddy. Apparently, the lad was being pursued by Vanessa, a security guard at the massive Freddy Fazbear’s Mega Pizzaplex shopping mall, and took refuge inside Freddy’s spacious chest cavity. Upon discovering this, the disturbingly sentient Mr. Fazbear tears Gregory limb from limb, bathing in his vital fluids.
Or at least that’s what I expected the bear to do. Instead, he befriends young Gregory and vows to help him escape the shopping complex. That’s right, instead of the series staple of a mysterious person on the phone, Freddy himself is here to save the day in Security Breach. He gives Gregory a novelty Fazbear watch, which allows the pair to communicate with each other as Gregory crawls through security vents and navigates dark hallways, relentlessly pursued by the more evil and bloodthirsty members of Freddy’s band.
It’s a neat twist on the series formula, but I cannot help but fear the big metal bear. No matter how nice he seems or how dapper he looks in his tiny hat, he carries with him the sinister air of a bear that’s been scaring instead of caring since 2014. The game’s opening not only asks me to help Freddy escape from his dressing room where he’s been locked down pending repair, it also tries to convince me that climbing back inside his insides is a good idea. Just watch.
It’s actually a clever game mechanic, letting Gregory hide inside Freddy, where he’s safe from pursuit from security, maintenance bots, and murderous metal musicians who are actually made of metal. But Freddy’s malfunction means his ability to recharge is limited, forcing Gregory to go it alone while the bear guides him from inside a charging chamber. The whole affair is a little less scary knowing he’s on your side unless you stop to think about it. I wouldn’t if I were you.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach is developed by Steel Wool Studios instead of creator Scott Cawthon, who retired earlier this year amid controversy over his support of reactionary politicians. Despite some technical hitches like stuttering when changing areas, it’s the best-looking Five Nights game I’ve played. The free-roaming first-person exploration helps build tension, the characters are bright, shiny, and terrifying, and Freddy Fazbear’s Mega Pizzaplex is a colour-splashed nightmare of ‘80s-era consumerism, a proper playground for sentient murder machines.
Yes, Freddy, that means you. I’m watching you, Fazbear.