Big Sister is watching you.
As a denizen of the internet, you will have probably heard of a little franchise known as Five Nights at Freddy’s, otherwise known as FNAF. If you haven’t heard about it online, you have maybe seen the countless amounts of merchandise in stores or have maybe even caught a glimpse of the one novel based on it. Point is, if you haven’t heard of it by now, then you have probably been living under a rock for the last two years or so. The horror series created by one man named Scott Cawthon went to being an obscure title to becoming a sensation. Thanks to the various play throughs of the game by big name YouTube stars, the first title had a tremendous amount of exposure that gave it record sales. Following on from that, four more installments to the franchise were created, all by Cawthon himself. Despite still retaining quite the loyal fan base, however, the creator was hit by criticism that all he was doing was releasing the same game with very little change over and over again. The fourth game, which was titled The Final Chapter, seemed to be the last outing for the story, but this was not the case. A very obscure spin-off game and a novel later, we have come full circle with another addition to the core game series, though strangely enough it isn’t simply FNAF 5. Oh no, lock up your daughters as we are about to visit Sister Location.
Unlike his previous games, which were churned out pretty quickly after one another, Cawthon took a whole year to work on this game, and everything was pretty tight lipped about it. At first glance, the story of Sister Location doesn’t appear too different from the other FNAF titles – you are a nameless protagonist who has been hired as a night guard, yet you are also working as a maintenance technician. Instead of just a standard pizzeria establishment, you will find yourself in an underground facility. Your job in game is to provide check ups and maintenance on the animatronics that lurk underground for five nights straight. Of course, nothing is ever that simple in this series as there is something sinister lurking within these halls. Indeed, these robots are even more life-like than previous incarnations. For the first time, they actually talk. It is down to the player to survive all five nights of their new job while being faced with killer animatronics with questionable morals. This newest edition to the FNAF franchise is certainly more story focused as there is a huge voice cast to give each of the robots a unique personality. You have the friendly yet manic sounding Funtime Freddy, the mature and alluring Ballora and the equally as intriguing Baby. Instead of the usual ‘Phone Guy’ to tell you what to do each night, you are directed by an AI who calls himself the Handy Unit. The personality of each character shines through brilliantly, and it is a welcome change from the one monotonous voice of the Phone Guy each night. There still remains a sinister element to each voice, hinting that something is not quite right within these walls.
Game play wise, there are some hints to the previous games mechanics, but for the most part, you will be doing something different each night. Instead of the usual routine of keeping track of different robots on camera screens, you will be tasked with a new chore to do every time you return to your job. Going into too much detail on these tasks would be spoiling the story, however, but the one thing you will always do is check that the animatronics are on their stage from the safety of your control room. With robots roaming around in the dark, you will be kept busy trying to either keep them at bay or trying to sneak past them. Though despite this great revamp of the FNAF formula, it does have its drawbacks. You never really get the chance to use your new mechanics more than once as each night introduces something new. Just as you think you have mastered something, you are not required to do it again, sadly. You may end up stuck on certain nights and be forced to attempt the tricky challenge again and again, yet after that you will never be asked to try the same trick twice. While this does keep things fresh, it can be a little frustrating for those who liked to perfect the previous games.
Unlike the previous games, Sister Location doesn’t have a dreaded sixth night. What it does have, though, is a secret ending waiting to be discovered. We won’t spoil exactly how this ending is acquired or what you need to do to beat it, but be prepared to spend a lot of time attempting to defeat it as it is one of the harder challenges that the game has to offer.
Despite not having a sixth night, Cawthon has stated that free DLC for the game is in the works to add a Custom Night to the game as well. The Custom Night allows the player to set the difficulty level for their night of terror, down to customizing the intensity of each robot. Sister Location itself features at least eight different animatronics, so it may not be as hectic as FNAF 2, which had at least ten, but time will only tell what Cawthon has up his sleeve for this DLC. There is no word on whether he will also add a sixth night or a hardcore mode, but the Custom Night DLC is expected to release some time later this year. It is amazing to see the work that Cawthon can put in when he dedicates so much time to a game, and the result just shows that spending more time on this project worked brilliantly. There is a chilling atmosphere throughout, the voice acting and delivery is top notch, and the story is certainly engaging. The only gripe to be made is that there are some difficulty spikes on certain nights. And, of course, those who do not like jump scares will probably want to stay far away from this game. However, if you are not sick of the FNAF train yet, then Sister Location may be one of the best titles in the saga.