FNaF World - HighrezGaming

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Five Nights at Freddy’s World / 29th of January 2016

Scott Cawthon is a good game developer. While many others in the industry seem to view games as simply another product to make them money, Scott puts real love into his work, even if at times it may not feel like it. With the recent release (and subsequent removal) of FNaF World from Steam I thought it would be appropriate to review the game in its current state so that I may attempt to understand exactly why Scott felt that he had rushed the product, and felt that he wanted more time to improve upon it before returning to the market as a free game.

The story of FNaF World is itself actually quite bizarre, despite the change from the usual jump scares to a JRPG experience. On the surface it's a cutesy game that follows the idea that the 'Animatronica' world is being corrupted by some unknown entity, leaving the player to determine exactly where the source of these corruptions can be found and deal with them. As I said, on the surface it seems basic but strip away the layers of the game and you will reveal a story which consistently breaks the fourth wall, is incredibly self-aware as to what it is and even makes you question what you are as a fan of the series. It's by no means Undertale levels of revelation, but for a Five Nights at Freddy's game it is surprisingly deep, and I at times questioned my own actions while playing the game. There are so many endings to obtain and while none of them could be considered the ultimate final 'good' ending it's well worth finding them all just to experience the game to its fullest.

The presentation of the game itself is very distinctive in its style, while it is meant to represent a 90's kid friendly, PC adventure game (as most of Scott's games seem to look like), that distinctive appearance can't really be considered top notch. It's certainly unique, and you can tell simply by looking at the combat screens that it is a Five Nights at Freddy's game, but the bland character animations and cartoony style of the graphics really fail to impress on any level. What is perhaps more bizarre though is the shift in style from an 8-bit styled over world into a fully rendered 3D battle system. Whilst it certainly makes sense from a story and narrative perspective, however, the two appear so much at odds with one another that it feels rather odd when you have a battle transition and find yourself seemingly flung into a completely separate world from the one that you were previously in. All in all, while I would have preferred that the graphics stayed more consistent, and that more time be put into polishing the game’s iffy animations and character details, I generally find it to be fine for just playing.

The music, I must add, is wonderfully cheery throughout, and while it can get awfully repetitive at times, the compositions are all surprisingly catchy and invariably help in securing a very child friendly tone. Sure, the work here is never going to compete with the compositions of games industry legend, Nobuo Uematsu, whose Final Fantasy scores have really come to define the genre, but where they ever going to manage that? This brings me rather swiftly to what is perhaps the most important aspect of all, how it plays. Does FNaF World adhere to traditional JRPG traditions? Well, no, not really.

The gameplay here is a strange mix of Final Fantasy-style time based combat being mixed in with an outlandish assault of colour and sound against you. Battles occur randomly on the 8-bit over world and are thrust straight at you, without so much as a transition in sight. The battling itself consists of two teams of four characters from the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise each with three moves, and in standard RPG format you have to destroy every enemy that gets in your way or escape. The combat itself actually becomes surprisingly deep by the end of the game as you need to decide which character's abilities work best with your team, and some of the bosses in this game need incredible skill to defeat. I am disappointed, however, that while there is a levelling system for this game using the starter characters throughout the whole game is not recommended as the later rare characters that you unlock through random chance after a battle are considerably better naturally at their first level than the highest level standard characters. It pretty much forces you to abandon playing as the earlier characters unless you feel like giving yourself a challenge, making them feel fairly useless by the end of the game. The animations and effects on all the attacks are also fairly unclear and are an audiovisual assault with you not knowing half the time what your moves do or if you damaged an enemy successfully (though Scott did add in attack descriptions in a recent update). There are also critical RPG systems missing from this game that would be invaluable, including items that you use in the midst of combat and a stats menu, both of which seem like pretty incomprehensible omissions in my eyes. These things would, obviously, be incredibly useful to have should they be added, and would undoubtedly make the experience feel far more complete than what the current build of the game is capable of offering without them.

Overall then this game feels…interesting. I had a blast playing through the game, I spent a pretty decent amount of time with it, and even managed to unlock all of its numerous endings, but I can see the glaring issues that this game has. With Scott recently removing the game from sale and promising to release it down the line with more content for absolutely free I presume most of the issues I have discussed here will be fixed, and with it being free to play, what's not to love? So, as it is, you don't really need me to advise you to buy it or not as you either already have it, or can’t buy it even if you wanted to, but if this game gets some significant fixes down the line then this could be a great experience. Play it again when it is released for free, enjoy yourself for a little bit, you might even have some fun not being jump scared by Freddy and friends for once.
Jack McKay
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