Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted — FNAF Meets Playroom VR
That Five Nights At Freddy's movie may be in development limbo with the dreaded "to be announced" release schedule, but there's still a new way to experience the thrill of getting stuffed inside an animatronic suit because you didn't hit the door button fast enough!
How this wasn't a PSVR launch title is sort of baffling considering the high tide the series was riding just a few years back, but better late than never, I suppose.
To make a long story short, you probably already know whether you want to play this game simply based on how you feel about the main series, although there are a few additions and changes here that might draw you in if you didn't jump on the craze during its heyday.
DualShock Players Need Not Apply
The schtick this time around is that the pizza chain is real, and aware of all the games purporting to reveal real events of murder and mayhem to night watchmen, but no one would possibly believe that nonsense.
That's where you come in — hired to help out, after signing a waiver that specifically tells you to close your eyes and stop reading it so you won't get concerned. In other words, the same mix of creepiness and deadpan humor is on display.
Here's the thing, though, Freddy Fazbear's Pizza may need help fast, but they don't need the poor peasants without extra peripherals to take any of those empty positions.
I need to make this as clear as I possibly can — do not, under any circumstances, play this game with the DualShock controller. You are flat out better off not playing Help Wanted instead of pointlessly trying to play it without the Move controllers.
This won't be an issue on the PC edition, but for the PSVR, the single-camera setup makes the DualShock version nearly impossible to play. The problem is that the DualShock mode revolves around the camera being able to see the light on the front of the controller.
That simply doesn't work in a game where you need to turn to your side to move objects, press buttons, pick up parts, and so on. The second you turn sideways (which you need to do while playing the mini-games), the light is obscured and the controller stops functioning.
That means you have to (very awkwardly) try to hold the controller in a forward facing position even while manipulating objects off to your far left or right. Trying to play this way results in you battling the controls rather than battling the game mechanics, and it's simply not fun.
This is one of those frequent issues showcasing how much we need the PSVR 2 to include either a multi-camera setup or eye tracking (or both!) when it launches after the PS5.
Let me reiterate so there's no uncertainty — if you haven't dropped the extra $100 on the Move controllers, DO NOT BUY THIS GAME. Got your Move controllers handy? Cool, then this is actually a pretty fun little outing if you like FNAF already.
Benefits Of Employment At Freddy Fazbears
So what exactly do you get with Help Wanted?
The big draw here is that it includes the first full three games in VR mode. That's worth the price of admission if you're a fan of the series and want to experience it from a closer perspective.
If you've already played those three games into the ground, then the only bonus is the virtual component, as the content and gameplay is the same (with minor additions like being able to pick up some objects in the control room), you just reach out with the Move controllers to press the buttons rather than clicking with the mouse.
Aside from those three games, you also get a series of extra mini-games that essentially turn FNAF into a horror version of The Playroom VR. In a clear echo of that VR tech demo, you even get to head to the ticket counter prize room and view all the goodies earned by beating levels.
Unlike with The Playroom, you don't need couch players to shout out locations or provide hints, but Help Wanted is still better as a shared experience with other people involved to scream and shout warnings about where to point your camera.
Here's what you can do in the mini-games when you get sick of the three main titles:
- Carefully repair the animatronic characters from a seated position so they are ready for the next night of terror (don't worry, unless you are pointlessly using the DualShock, this isn't anywhere close as frustrating as that obnoxious spring lock puzzle from Sister Location)
- Fix problems in the pizza parlor's vents — while very Alien-esque FNAF characters crawl towards you from different angles
- Play flashlight walk-a-mole while listening to audio cues to time turning on your light for stopping characters as they crawl along the floors and walls towards your stationary position
- Exploring a (very) limited teleportation based movement game around your house to close doors and check closets
They aren't revolutionary by any means, or even particularly in-depth, but the mini-games do add some fun to the virtual experience for a PSVR title based on such a simplistic series.
The Bottom Line — Is This Game Worth Your Money?
- Getting to play the first three games in VR will be a dream come true for FNAF uber-fans.
- Mini-games add some extra content for watching your friends try (and fail) to repair the characters or quickly fix vents without getting murdered
- All the same limitations and frustrations are present as the standard games, just in VR mode
- You absolutely must have the Move controllers if you want to actually enjoy the game on PS4
Adding a VR component does make the jump scares more visceral in Help Wanted, and I'll admit I got a rush of adrenaline and involuntarily shot into the air the first time.
The problem is that, like with the normal version of the game, that jump scare becomes predictable and stops being scary after the umpteenth time, and that doesn't change even in virtual reality.
Help Wanted has all the same strengths and weaknesses of the first three main games — which, let's be honest, are more Let's Play oddities and less high art or even serious games worth investing dozens of hours into.
That being said, the exclusive mini-games are a fun new addition, but once you've figured them out there's not really much replay there other than in watching your friends give it a try and laughing as they jump in terror when they mess up a sequence.
That tiny number of people who have never played (or more likely watched) a FNAF game before and the diehard fan base who agonize over lore details and salivate over the prospect of anything new will definitely get more out of Help Wanted than any other type of player.
For anybody else, this is a fun diversion if you've already got all the other party style games for PSVR, but it can definitely wait for a PS Store sale.
[Note: A copy of Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help Wanted was provided by Lionsgate for the purpose of this review.]