Spyro Reignited Trilogy Review

Spyro: Reignited Trilogy which features the first 3 games of the Spyro franchise; Spyro the Dragon, Spyro: Ripto’s Revenge and Year of the Dragon are the latest games to receive the remaster treatment. The game lives up to the hype and definitively shows how remasters should be done as it delivers the perfect combination of enjoyment and nostalgia, indicating that developers Toys for Bob were the right choice for the job.

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©Toys For Bob ©Activision

The game delivers a perfect blend of challenging gameplay and nostalgic elements that are sure to appeal to any gamer, new or old. The vastly improved graphics and smooth movement manage to intertwine brilliantly with the puzzle solving elements within the vastly enjoyable worlds that made the games so popular during their original release. This accompanied by the remastered models of such well known characters the likes of; the fiendishly greedy Moneybags, the athletic yet simple Hunter and of course, the sarcastic and cheeky Spyro the Dragon himself are sure to get any player reminiscing fond memories of the originals along with bringing in a whole new generation of players.

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©Insomniac Games

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©Toys for Bob ©Activision

Spyro: Reignited Trilogy is a brilliant example of how a fresh updated perspective on nostalgic games can have amazing results for the older gaming community, such as myself, who played the original games. The gripping aspects of the Spyro franchise still holds strong with the aspects of the original games that made them so popular not being lost with the remaster. The game manages to encapsulate the mind of the player, young or old and no matter how old the player is, the remaster of this trilogy has indefinitely burnt the competition in the new ‘remastering’ field of game development.

AGamersOpinion:

8/10

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Red Dead Redemption 2 Review

Red Dead Redemption 2 was released a little over 2 weeks ago by Rockstar, it easily became the most anticipated game of the year. The hype, suspense and anticipation grew and grew with every announcement about the games release and it has not disappointed. The wild west RPG sequel finally delighted gamers with it release after 8 years and its clear that that time was spent wisely by making sure nothing has gone unaltered. The attention to detail within the game is second to none and the further through the game the player goes, the more you notice.

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©Rockstar
Overview:

The game is based around Arthur Morgan and his gang, led by Dutch, as they traverse the harsh terrain of wild west America, in an attempt to escape and flee the mysterious events of Blackwater. Upon settling in a well hidden and pint sized camp on the cliff, named Horseshoe Overlook, the gang set out to accomplish tasks, investigate the area and most importantly, survive under the radar whilst they construct a plan to escape the west for good.

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©Rockstar

The player is able to engage with all manner of derelicts, drunks and criminals as they explore and delve into the vast terrain that this game offers. Alongside the immersive story line, the game presents several side quests, bounty hunts and hunting quests for the player to fully engage with, earn cash and collect supplies for the camp. So whether your optimum goal is to collect debts for Herr Strauss, hunt a legendary beast or simply roam the vast environment, this game has something for everyone.
Detail and Realism:

Rockstar spared no expense in terms of attention to detail in Red Dead Redemption 2, from footprints in the snow, puddles forming in the rain, horses casually relieving themselves mid quest, to the smaller things such as facial hair regrowing, the need to eat and drink as well as the need to wear appropriate clothing depending on the weather, Red Dead leaves nothing left untouched.

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©Rockstar

Another factor that makes the game more enjoyable, is the run ins with the law, which players of previous Rockstar titles, such as Grand Theft Auto, will know, Rockstar have perfected. Every crime that the player commits, has consequences and eventually, unless you’re very smart, the law will catch you. You can outrun the law for a while, least til the bounty hunters get you. This gives the game another dynamic of realism as the player is forced to think carefully about decisions and actions in order to avoid constantly being shot, killed or imprisoned.

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©Rockstar

Customization:

Red Dead Redemption 2 offers a wide range of varying customization options. The player can choose to customize themselves, such as their beard, hair, outfit for hot and cold weathers as well as upgrade their load-outs, from shotguns to rifles to dual pistols. On top of this, the game also allows you to upgrade and customize the horses, campsites and how they are designed as well as what stall sells what within your campsite.

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©Rockstar

This vast array of customization options enables the player to play and design the game, their way and is something that is expertly done and integrated within the game itself. This basically means that whatever the player wants something to look like, it can be done, so if its a classic beard and slick back hair or a horse with a platinum Mohawk, whatever the player requires, the player can do.

Overall Opinion:

Rockstar have truly knocked it out of the park with this anticipated sequel, the games focus on an immersive story line, gripping characters accompanied by incredible and beautifully rendered scenery makes Red Dead Redemption 2, a candidate for game of the year, maybe even more. Despite some arguing that the lack of fast travel and slightly bland start to the story ruins the games true essence, the constant travelling enables the player to fully immerse themselves within the environment and engage in all sorts of side quests, hunts and whatever you stumble upon.

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©Rockstar

The game generates an extraordinary ability to keep the player entertained and engaged, even when not on a standard story quest. The side missions and side tasks that randomly spawn throughout the terrain enable the player to remain immersed no matter what they fancy doing.

Just remember, everyone earns their keep, unless that someone is Dutch…
AGamersOpinion:

10/10

1. Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Overview

Amnesia: The Dark Descent was developed and published by Frictional Games in 2010 and 2016 respectfully. The game follows the protagonist Daniel, from a horror signature first person perspective, as he ventures through an intimidating and eerie castle he has unknowingly awoken in. The player must avoid monsters and traps as well as solve puzzles in order to gain clues on how to escape and defeat the castle itself. Along the way, the player has to avoid the monsters lurking to protect the secret of the castle itself, as the player is not given any weapons or any way of defending themselves, hiding is your only option for survival.

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©Frictional Games

Significant Characters

There are several characters within The Dark Descent that make the game more difficult, challenging and much more terrifying. The most basic of enemies is the Servant Grunt, the simple servants to the previous master of the castle, they are unsightly, strong, fast and extremely terrifying. The 3 clawed monsters can damage the player with a vicious swipe should they get within range, making them much more frightful, especially accompanied with their signature heart stopping music, the only option is to hide and remain out of sight.

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©Frictonal Games

Like every horror game, the basic enemies always have an upgraded version of themselves which are, usually, more terrifying, more aggressive and significantly more difficult to avoid. This is true for The Dark Descent as well, the Servant Brute is a basic servant on steroids, as he can wipe out the player with one malicious swipe. The Servant Brute is accompanied by a hamstring blade which has been fused into its arm, making this enemy a much fiercer fight.

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©Frictional Games

The best thing about the above enemies is that you can see them, meaning you can avoid them at all costs, however, one of the more horrifying enemies in this game is Kaernk. The invisible water beast that stalks the player during the water level early in the game is sure to terrify any player. The tension is incredible as the splashing is the only way to tell where the monster is lurking, should it catch you, the screen flashes red, the player struggles and slowly fades to black. The jump scare associated with this enemy is what truly makes it a heart stopping stealth attacker.

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©Frictional Games

Kaernk is not the only creature that is invisible, the protector of the house, the Shadow, also lurks in the….well clue is in the name. The Shadow appears when the player enters an area and seems to be in control of the house, with the red oozing flesh protruding from the walls it injures the player and makes the atmosphere much more intense. The truly horrifying aspect of the Shadow is the fact that this enemy, is inescapable, as much as you try, as much as you fight back against this unknown entity guarding the house, nothing can stop its force.

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©Frictional Games

Fear generator:

Amnesia: The Dark Descent does a lot to conjure up fear within the game, from the creepy atmosphere, dramatic contrast in lighting, falling and moving objects and horrifying monsters. The game inhabits several vicious and spine chilling monsters, that tend to appear out of the darkness to harass and hunt you down, yet what adds to their true terror is the players inability to fight them off, the only option is to hide and wallow in hiding over how utterly powerless you truly are.

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©Frictional Games

The game starts off seemingly quiet,with the player being alone for most of the first part of the game (or are you…) The player aimlessly wanders around trying to get any significant information that can explain why they are there, however some creepy goings-on begin to happen. From chairs falling over to the wind blowing doors open with an almighty bang, the player is led deep down a rabbit hole travelling hand in hand with a sense of insecurity and fear and that’s before any monsters even arrive on the scene.

Another element of fear is the use of lighting in the game, the darkness triggers the madness and insanity that will slowly engulf the player the longer they spend in the dark. The use of oil within a lantern also enables and controls the elements of insanity for the players mindset. The lantern is used to control the players vision and control how mad the player is becoming, therefore oil is in limited supplies and requires you to think carefully about the appropriate time to use it, or risk going insane.

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©Frictional Games

Uniqueness:

The Dark Descent is unique in many ways from its simple design of fear to its use of insanity to create a total atmosphere of unease for the players. The insanity factor focuses on the darkness levels and how it affects the mental capacity of the player to remain calm and sane within the increasingly intense environments. The longer the player spends in the dark and the shadows, as well as looking at the monsters, the more insane they become as cannot conceive the horrors they are witnessing.

Overall Opinion

Amnesia: The Dark Descent is truly a fantastic horror game in the sense of thrills, horror, terror and puzzles. The game intertwines all of these to a supreme degree and the incorporation of its insanity factor makes the player feel even more on edge, as if that were possible when playing this game. The puzzle side of this game gives it a lighter tone as you actually have to work in order to escape the horrors this castle holds, it requires the player to think rationally and strategically resulting in a wonderful companion to the moderation of your players insanity level. The game itself set a new standard for the genre and is a must for any fan of horror.

Horror rating

10/10

2. Slender: The Eight Pages

Overview

Slender: The Eight Pages was created and developed by Mark J. Hadley back in 2012, and still holds the title for one of the scariest games to date, despite its simple design. The game is based on a popular creepypasta that began circulating the web around the same time. The games brilliance is in its simplicity. Like the legend behind the inspiration the story involves the player being relentlessly stalked by a tall and mysterious figure with a frightening lack of facial features dressed in a black suit.

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©Mark J. Hadley

The game is set in a truly terrifying location in a wild creepy forest on a misty dark night. With a first person view the player is presented with a quest to find all 8 pages of a mysterious notebook. Armed with nothing but a flashlight the player must navigate the haunting forest and abandoned buildings to locate the lost pages which contain frightening and cryptic messages. If this alone isn’t enough to scare you then the introduction of the title character is sure to give you goosebumps. At all times of the game you, the player, must avoid the mysterious figure, known as the slender man. At random intervals throughout the game the sound and appearance of increasing levels of static will begin, announcing to the player the arrival of the horrifying figure. The only defense available to the player is to look away and run for your life. The game is simple and straight forward, find the 8 pages, avoid the monstrous Slenderman stalking you, and do not meet his gaze.

Significant Characters

The game itself has only one enemy. Slenderman. Slenderman has become a cult phenomenon since his creation and the fear surrounding him is very well justified due to his uncanny resemblance yet altogether non human aesthetic. The fear is amplified by the frightening way he stalks you. Despite a significant lack of visible movement this enemy has a habit of appearing when you least expect him triggering numerous jump scares.

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©Mark J. Hadley

The haunting figure of Slenderman creates a genuine sense of tension and suspense with its brilliant simplicity. As the player collects the pages, the frequency of static will increase exponentially resulting in an increasing frenzy in the player as you attempt to escape before it is too late. Despite your best efforts you will never truly escape the Slenderman.

Fear generator:

The main element of fear with Slender: The Eight Pages is created by the suspense and tension factor within the game itself. The stalking of the player by Slenderman accompanied with the dark and scary outdoor environment, with only a flashlight as a source of light truly captivates the haunting experience that this game presents.

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©Mark J. Hadley

If the eerily quiet atmosphere of the game was not enough, the seemingly silent way in which Slenderman follows you around and appears instantly behind or in front of you only adds to the fear, and it highlights the truly isolated and inescapable essence that Slender tries to portray. This along with the considerable defenselessness the player is presented with only increases the suspense as you just try to survive and evade the persistent stalking of Slenderman.

Uniqueness:

This game is definitely unique, and whilst a few adaptations have been made of the game over the years, nothing compares to the original. The simple, elegant design of the game in which you simple have to walk /run through a forest and collect papers (with a seemingly unknown meaning) gives this game not only an outstanding level of suspense and tension, but fear as well.

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©Mark J. Hadley

Overall Opinion

Anyone who has played Slender: The Eight Pages will know of the terror you experience, the increased heart rate and the fearful scream you let out when he catches you. The game follows a simple story line, barely any gimmicks, no meaningless puzzles, just a simple straightforward arch in which you have to avoid being caught by a monster who seemingly does not want you to collect all the pages. This terrifying gameplay accompanied with the ending of this game, (no spoilers,) creates an almost idealistic horror game filled with tension, fear and suspense. What more could you ask for?

Horror rating

9/10

3. Alien Isolation

Overview

Alien Isolation was developed by Creative Assembly and published by Sega in 2014. It follows Amanda Ripley as she investigates the disappearance of her mother, Ellen Ripley , in the previous Alien encounter. The game itself focuses primarily on the use of stealth and survival in order to create the ultimate amount of tension possible, instead of making it easy, the player also has to work for ammo and weaponry with the firearms being very scarce throughout the game.

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©Sega ©Creative Assembly

Additionally, the game is set 15 years after the events of the original Alien movie and the game carries that suspense, design and thrill into the gameplay.

Significant Characters

There is only one enemy that matters in this game, one truly horrifying monster with one goal in mind, hunt. The Xenomorph is one of the most frightful creatures within the gaming universe, and there just so happens to be one wandering around the ship that the player is stranded on, if that does not truly horrify you, then nothing will.

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©Sega ©Creative Assembly

The Xenomorph’s prime motive is to hunt and kill, quickly and quietly. This makes the player target number 1 and the most frightful thing about the Xenomorph is the way in which defense is futile. The use of weapons does very little except startle the Xenomorph into fleeing the scene for a short period of time in order to let the player escape and hide. This only builds the tension more as sooner or later, its going to find you, and you better be ready when it does.

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©Sega ©Creative Assembly

Along with the Xenomorph bulldozing through every living thing on the ship, its next target is the helpless player, this is what makes it so terrifying and tense for the player, becoming the pray, becoming the victim, having only your wits to survive. In this regard, I sincerely hope you can think quickly, run fast and adapt your strategy on the move, because you’re going to need it.

Fear generator:

Alien Isolation brought a new level of fear to the genre. It made the player the prey, the hunted, the victim. It did this in a way that no other game could, it places you against the Alien. The player is forced to use stealth to avoid the horrifyingly iconic monster, the use of weapons, or lack there, of makes this game significantly more scary as the game deliberately restricts the amount of ammo and weapons you find, making it essential to use stealth and simply hide away from the stalking Alien. The level of fear gets increased further as the entire experience is seen from the first person perspective, which only makes the ordeal that much more terrifying.

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©Creative Assembly ©SEGA

Uniqueness:

Alien: Isolation makes a very clear point of forcing the player to be stealthy, however what makes this game so unique is the way in which you become the hunted. Yes, other games do this to a certain extent however this entire games story is based around you being the prey, you cant kill the monster that is stalking you, despite your best efforts, and this is what makes this game different, that is what makes this game truly scary is the fact you are, as the title suggests, totally isolated.

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©Sega ©Creative Assembly

Overall Opinion

This game is a next level type of horror, the suspense, the tension and the fear all combine together to give you the true horror experience. The first person angles and incredible build up makes this game so much more than your average survival game. The game itself adapts and manipulates the genre into being something truly iconic with the focus being not survival, but how long can you outrun the determined beast that is stalking your every move. This game has incredible popularity and on top of being an incredible game of fear and tension, the link to the Alien franchise only further its ability to truly grasp a player…before scaring the life out of them.

Horror rating

9/10

4. Oulast

Overview:

Outlast is easily one of the most tense and terrifying games on this list. Outlast was developed and published by Red Barrels in 2014 and has since become a horror classic. The game follows investigatory journalist Miles Upshur as he seeks to find out information on the insane asylum known as Mount Massive Asylum. The player is immediately put on edge as they must use stealth, speed and thoughtful maneuvering in order to avoid being caught by the hospitals crazy and frightful inhabitants. The game is played in first person and the combination of being up close with the crazy characters along with some very dark and uneasy scenery causes this game to generate a significant amount of suspense from its introduction.

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©Red Barrels

Significant Characters

You will encounter many different enemies within the asylum, each more horrifying then the last. The ways in which each character engages with you differs depending on who they are. The ‘Variants’ are the most common antagonists throughout the game and play the role of the former prisoners and patients who are now free to roam the run down asylum. They relentlessly chase the player through various rooms, including well lit areas and areas engulfed by the intense darkness. They are relentless in their end goal and will stop at nothing until they get what they want…you.

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©Red Barrels

The Variants are troublesome and are the source of many jump scares. My first true taste of the fear this game could generate came with the encounter of the Variant, Chris Walker. This character represents a much stronger, faster and more intimidating threat to the player than any other Variant you will encounter. His relentless persistence to catch the player borders on the…well psychotic and you will never truly relax and feel safe from Walker and his ruthless and menacing persona. His unsightly appearance and freakish strength are both products of his background and his history within the asylum. Walker has a habit of popping up at the most horrific of times in order to insight maximum goosebumps and panic for the player. My only advice would be to watch your back, as you’ll never know when Walker is going to leap from the shadows and hunt you down.

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©Red Barrels

Another Variant that separates themselves from the pack is Richard Trager, AKA, the crazy scientist. Trager is a variant who has an unhealthy obsession with science, mainly biology and as such, experiments on other inmates in order to expand his knowledge of the subject. The players first encounter with the mad scientist is an unfortunate one, stumbling upon Trager after escaping via a dumbwaiter, Trager initially acts like an ally to the protagonist, yet this false sense of security is shattered when he beats you mercilessly until you cannot walk. Shortly after this you are strapped in to a wheelchair and the fear hits you that you are likely to be next on his list of experiments. Unike most enemies within the asylum that pursue you to purely cause damage, in Trager’s case, his twisted mind has much darker intentions making his pursuit of you after your escape far more menacing. The player must use wit, stealth and cunning to avoid being seen by the doctor.

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©Red Barrels

The final boss and main antagonist is known as The Walrider, or the Swarm. It appears to be a cluster of black fog that is infesting the asylum, attacking anyone and anything within reach of its tendrils of darkness. The Walriders remorseless stalking and hunting of the main protagonist, results in several highly frightful chases and attacks that are bound to leave the players with an increased heart rate.

Alongside dealing with the strange vicious boss, the player is constantly provoked and stopped by Father Martin who seemingly acts as a follower of the Swarm. Father Martin pursues the twisted intention of helping this vicious killer to escape the asylum into the world. The only way to escape the Walrider is to run and hide, and pray he doesn’t find you.

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©Red Barrels

Fear generator:

Outlast has a very significant way in which it creates fear, suspense and heart stopping jump scares. The use of lighting, creepy imagery and menacing enemies are just the tip of this horror iceberg. The first person view forces the player to feel immersed into the story making you feel almost present at the asylum and gives an element of tension that can snowball into something much more claustrophobic and unsettling. On top of this, the player occasionally has to use their video camera to see in the dark, causing the enemies, should there be any, to become a ghostly white colour, simply adding to the realism of trying to avoid the horrors and allowing the player to appreciate the sheer horror of how the enemies look up close whilst maintaining the sense of tension.

The main element of fear comes from the setting. Everyone hates abandoned creepy insane asylums…well most do and the creation of this location, filled with its mad inhabitants, all relentlessly hunting the player down , creates an uneasy sense of fear for any gamer. For any player who doesn’t believe the outer appearance of the asylum is scary enough, the monstrous inhabitants on the inside certainly will certainly make you want to reconsider your in game career!

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©Red Barrels

Uniqueness

The Outlast trilogy redefined the first person survival horror genre, building up the tension in a way that many games failed. The scary atmosphere, unique characters and stimulating story line all added to what made this game so unique and made it stand out in the field of horror. Outlast is definitively a unique game in a variety of aspects. If crazy characters  and disturbing scenery is the kind of game to scare you, look no further.

Overall Opinion

Outlast simply and elegantly created a horror game like no other. Its combination of jump scares, intense chases and beautifully crafted characters, leads the player into a sense of terror, unease and fear like this games story truly deserves.

Horror rating

9/10

5. Five Nights At Freddy’s Franchise

Five Nights at Freddy’s

Overview:

The Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise was created and developed by Scott Cawthorn, they take place in a fictional restaurant chain known as Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. The game is based around new security guard, Mike Schmidt as he starts his new job at the restaurant.

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©Scott Cawthorn

The player sees all this in a first person view and has to use a series of cameras, music boxes, doorway switches and a Freddy mask in later games, to protect himself from the animatronics at night. The overall goal of this unique game is to survive five nights…at Freddy’s.

Significant Characters:

The Five nights at Freddy’s franchise has a variety of terrifying characters, especially considering the extent in which the franchise has developed beyond simple games, with books also coming out.

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©Scott Cawthorn

However the original games featured; Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie the Bunny, Chica the Chicken and Foxy the Pirate Fox, all equally horrifying characters, significantly more so when they are seen/caught sprinting towards you when you least expect it. The later games/novels such as five nights at Freddy’s 2, sister location and the Twisted ones all introduced a wider and in most cases more terrifying array of characters.

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©Scott Cawthorn

These included: Balloon Boy, The Puppet, as well as toy versions of the main cast, accompanied with a special Golden Freddy. Furthering on from this, the novels introduced Twisted versions of the characters which represented a much more mangled, vicious version of the characters.

Fear Generator:

The main fear generator of the five nights at Freddy’s franchise is the suspense, jump scares and the unpredictability of the game itself, however some would argue the creepy background stories and theories of some of the characters is equally to blame. The player is immediately greeted with a warning from the employer via an answerphone about the strange happenings at the restaurant. Following this, the player is essentially cornered in the security office as they watch the animatronics come to life and stalk the player. The true fear arises when you check all the cameras and see all the characters have moved from their original position.

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©Scott Cawthorn

The gamer ramps up the fear throughout the nights, meaning the longer you are there, the more aggressive and agitated the animatronics seem to become.  This means the animatronics are more likely to print towards your office on night 4 than on night 1. The player is then entrusted with cameras, a music box and a series of locked doors to prevent the inevitable attack happening.  This however isn’t as simple as it sounds as the doors require power, which , in true horror game fashion, is in a limited supply so the player has to use them wisely as to avoid the unexpected and terrifying jump scare, accompanied with a haunting scream, from the character and the player.

Uniqueness:

The Five nights at Freddy’s franchise is unique in a variety of ways, not only how it creates fear and horror but the chilling back stories that accompany the characters. The way in which the player is forced to react quickly and thoughtfully along with the inability t defend themselves is absolutely a key component what makes these games significantly terrifying. The unique setting also contributes to the way in which the game generates an unparalleled fear with the player being essentially locked into an office with only two doorways out, crafts a sense of unease and panic at almost all situations in time, something that very few, if any, games have been able to replicate.

Overall Opinion:

The Five nights at Freddy’s games are easily some of the most unique and scariest games. The inability to defend yourself accompanied with the frightful looking children’s characters that want to seemingly attack you for no good reason, and the uneasy atmosphere is something that isn’t easily created. Despite the early games running entirely on the jump scare mechanic, the way in which it draws in the players into a sense of safety with the lockable doors and camera views is an equally responsible for making thew game as scary as it is due to the fact it feels like you’re experiencing it first hand as it has a first person view throughout the game. The only thing which is certain about this game is that you’re never truly safe, no matter how hard you try.

Horror Rating:

8/10