Five Nights At Freddy's: Help Wanted 2 Review: Great, But A Few Fazcoins Short

Five Nights At Freddy’s Help Wanted 2 is a solid minigame collection full of fun and frights, even if it doesn’t flawlessly stick the landing. Find out if you’re ready to brave Fazbear’s frights in our full review below:

Five Nights At Freddy’s is in a very odd place. It’s never been more popular, yet at the same time, each new entry further divides the fanbase in this brave new era of Steel Wool Studios’ tenure. The first Help Wanted was an interesting but diverged substantially from the original formula. After that, Security Breach was an absolute mess of compromises, unfinished concepts, and an even more radical departure from the core experience.

The Facts
What is it?: A room-scale horror VR minigame collection that’s themed around and partially recreates scenes from Five Nights At Freddy’s Sister Location and the Security Breach games.
Platforms: Quest, PSVR 2, Steam (reviewed on Quest 3)
Release Date: Out now
Developer: Steel Wool Studios
Price: $39.99

For a minute, some genuinely feared that it was curtains for the games. I mean, when even a middling Blumhouse production performs better, there’s reason for concern. While Security Breach’s DLC, Ruin, has helped improve its tarnished reputation, the question remains: is the third time the charm for Steel Wool?

On one hand, Help Wanted 2 is definitely trying to evoke the spirit of the old games. I had to dig for secrets, challenges were more unpredictable, and the general atmosphere is much, much darker than last time. There are no giant, encouraging robot bear guardians to shelter the player.

That said, the darkness is also quite literal, but thankfully not to the point of detriment. This isn’t an Asgard’s Wrath 2 situation where you’re begging for a brightness slider; one is included in Help Wanted 2 if you need it. The sound design is as solid as ever, with fantastically ominous directional hints when something’s stalking about to eat your face.

What’s far less overt, though, is the story. While it will eventually make some sense, it’s a lot less exciting than the first Help Wanted narrative. It hinges heavily on how much the player cares about a new character introduced in Security Breach: Ruin. Alternatively, there’s a harder to get ending that resolves some of the main Security Breach story, but in a way that honestly raises more questions than answers.

Though the minigames revisit moments from Sister Location and Security Breach, the story doesn’t really connect to the two entries in as clear a way. Fittingly, the two persistent antagonists, Circus Baby and Moon, are from each respective game. Of the two, Circus Baby is oddly limited to her plush form most of the time. However, a few of the other Sister Location animatronics get a wonderful reprisal in one or two of the minigames. Even if the greater narrative takes a backseat, there’s a wealth of smaller tales to be enjoyed across the various minigames.

While you can re-experience several nights from Sister Location, the Security Breach-inspired sections offer a chance to see the Fazplex from multiple new perspectives. I composed some hot beats with a demonic spider robot DJ, fended off Chica while serving fast food, performed amateur surgery on Helpy the Bear, and tested out a variety of arcade games that definitely weren’t haunted in the slightest. A pirate boat ride shooting gallery in particular had some of the best implementation of 3D sound since Until Dawn: Rush of Blood!

Seriously, I realize it’s not the usual thing you praise a game for, but the execution of the spacial audio is, by far, the most impressive aspect of the presentation. I’m a guy who plays Dead Space to kick back and relax, and yet, Help Wanted 2 got under my skin a few times, in just the right way.

Every minigame only lasts a few minutes at most, so no matter what you’re doing, it’s bite-sized fun. This both fits the vibe of the original games and ensures nothing outstays its welcome. I could work up a sweat, take a breather, get some water, and dive back in. The trickier part is unlocking all of it, as certain stages are barred before figuring out a puzzle tied to the meta-narrative. This isn’t a new concept to the Help Wanted games, but may take new players by surprise.

Let me save you a little trouble – after you’ve made it inside? Grab the handle. Then reach for your your face. You’ll thank me later!

Comfort

Help Wanted 2 is quite comfortable to play, with minimal sections requiring turning or actions that would induce sea-sickness. Hub area movement is entirely teleportation based, though there are some hidden collectibles more easily gathered by moving about in your real-life room. While most crucial gameplay elements are within arms’ reach, certain minigames, such as Ballora Gallery, require fairly repetitive motions like crawling or throwing balls.

You can use either hand for any action, multiple buttons serve the same grab and interact functions for optimal comfort, and the game naturally adjusts to your height for every activity. There’s a variety of accessibility settings for turning and style of teleportation. The only real concern to bear in mind is that if you take your headset off and place it somewhere different than your play area, it can cause you to be misplaced in the game world. A quick restart mid-minigame or re-teleporting in the main hub will properly orient everything immediately.

There is also one secret actually tied partially to this glitch, but I won’t spoil how!

There’s also an impressive amount of physics simulation going on. I really had to thrust, smack, and throw to engage with the environment. While there were some surprisingly effective scares scattered throughout, my heart was pumping more from the sheer workout. Ballora Gallery, in particular, is a great way to give your arms a workout.

That said, the physics proved to be a double-edged sword, as whenever I needed to toss or roll a ball, things went from challenging to infuriating faster than jumpscare. There is no auto-aim assist to speak of, which for a game aimed at such a young audience, feels like a major oversight. I understand that getting the highest score isn’t critical to winning but that doesn’t mean these stages couldn’t have been better executed.

There was also some frustration with the one food prep minigame, as a key “pizzarito” machine really lacks responsive scripting. I basically had to repeatedly slap the pizza against it until it would trigger, costing me precious time while every other minigame element functioned fine. A few times the “complete” button would also be triggered accidentally by my hand trying to grab something else, resulting in an unwarranted game over because I hadn’t actually finished the order.

Still, these blemishes never kept me from proceeding, and if only a handful out of the dozens of stages disappoint, that’s a pretty good batting average! I’m including the Hard Mode stages in that headcount, which live up to that description but in fun ways. Instead, the weakest stages are the Fazer Blasts, which get far too complex for their own good while lacking the precision necessary to feel fair.

When not fighting with Fazer Blast, many of the Hard Mode minigames place new constraints that add much more flavor to the proceedings. Instead of racing a timer, I’d have to ward off a threat with a recharging flashlight, or I might need to harness one animatronic’s impatience to bar others from getting close. Steel Wool has fully embraced the possibilities of room-scale VR to wonderful effect.

I understand there’s a larger audience for flat Five Nights games, but VR truly makes the series shine. Getting up close with these hulking monstrosities revives the unnerving nature they’d long since lost in flat experiences. While the Quest 3 can’t compete with the PSVR 2 version’s graphical fidelity, I’m impressed by the performance. No frame dips, minimal evidence of lowered detail, and some outstanding dynamic lighting.

Granted, I’m also glad I just invested in a head strap with extra battery for longer play sessions – Help Wanted 2 will burn through your charge fast, and I’m using a relatively brand-new headset battery. It’s being used to great effect, but it’s worth considering.

Five Nights At Freddy’s: Help Wanted 2 Review – The Final Verdict

Altogether, Five Nights At Freddy’s: Help Wanted 2 is a great all-ages horror game that makes excellent use of VR. It won’t redefine horror gaming or minigame collections, but it’s a well-executed return to form for the franchise. While its story may leave new players scratching their heads, the variety of solid, replayable stages more than makes up for it. Whether you’ve been facing down Freddy and co. since 2014 or are just looking for something spooky to play on your headset, this one is definitely worth grabbing!

UploadVR uses a 5-Star rating system for our game reviews – you can read a breakdown of each star rating in our review guidelines.

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