Sequels can evoke some very powerful emotions. When its predecessor is phenomenal, you can’t wait to get stuck in. However, if the original was awful, chances are you’ll scowl at the thought of wasting your time. Sadly, for me, the latter option materialised when I was given Hello Neighbor 2 to play. Why? Well, I hated the first game with a passion. Its clunky controls, surreal plot, and stupidly tough puzzle mechanics enraged me. Consequently, I was apprehensive about investing my life into the sequel.
Developed by Eerie Guest Studios and published by tinyBuild, this is a horror adventure title. What’s more, it has an open world, plenty of stealth mechanics, and some ingenious, albeit hard puzzles to solve. On top of this, the graphics and audio are impressive. Yet, the controls weren’t perfect. There is not enough guidance, and the developers have perhaps bitten off more than they can chew. Subsequently, there is potential, but it is, unfortunately, poorly executed.
Hello Neighbor 2 makes you paranoid.
You are Quentin, an investigative journalist who is sent to discover the truth about Raven Brooks. Children are missing, and no one knows who is to blame. As such, you are hired to break into every house and leave no stone unturned. Unfortunately, Mr Peterson and his chilling cohorts are displeased at seeing you. Accordingly, you must use stealth, cunning, and luck to complete your task and find the culprits.
My disdain for the original isn’t a secret, but I did like its sinister edge. Thankfully, Hello Neighbor 2 retains this idea with its creepy protagonists and first-person perspective. Instead of one creepy individual to focus on, there is a village of eerie folk to investigate. As such, every building is searched, and each person is a suspect. Therefore, you move from house to house, completing an array of mind-bending puzzles while hiding in the shadows. If you can solve every problem, and tick each person off of your list, you may crack your case, and escape this strange, but ominous town.
Much of Hello Neighbor 2 is mechanically similar to its predecessor. Consequently, you must use obscure visual clues to discover each puzzle. Sadly, this can be frustrating even if the eureka moments are rewarding. Furthermore, the lack of hand-holding or guidance will just piss you off. This is especially true when you are being stalked by a kidnapping weirdo. When the pressure is on, and you are hiding in a cupboard, it is particularly annoying.
I hate to admit it, but the problems are so absurd that I turned to a guide to help me progress. I wasn’t proud of this approach, but aimlessly searching for clues was a real turnoff. Moreover, being stuck in the same house for hours on end tests your patience to the limits.
I admired the developers’ focus on evolution. The push from a singular area to an open-world setting must be applauded. However, the familiar quests and the one key puzzle per zone soon became tiresome. Subsequently, the game spreads itself too thin, and it is devoid of rich or deep elements. Instead, you are left with a rinse-and-repeat effort, albeit in some interesting new environments.
Hello Neighbor 2 looks exquisite.
The core elements didn’t strike the right note, but visually, Hello Neighbor 2 looks exquisite. The bold colours, clean lines, and oddly OTT imagery are a treat to the eyes. What’s more, the throwing and movement animation is great, and the first-person perspective enhances the horror elements. On top of this, there are some great surreal moments, and some exciting and unusual locations to explore.
The visuals are expertly supported by audacious audio. The strange music, environmental sounds, and loud sound effects combine perfectly. However, its lack of dialogue or narration undermines the story. Furthermore, the lack of guidance adds to unnecessary confusion.
Like its predecessor, Hello Neighbor 2 is painful to control. Consequently, selecting objects, throwing items, or climbing ladders is a pain in the balls. Furthermore, the layout is confusing and poorly explained. As such, the already sky-high levels of confusion turn into an unbearable tsunami of rage and hatred.
If, and that is a big if, you can ignore these shortcomings, there is plenty of longevity and replay value. With some nice Easter eggs and some deep-seated lore, it is fascinating. However, it’ll take a strong stomach and even stronger willpower to explore this game fully.
Hello Neighbor 2 is a marginally better sequel.
It was always going to be a tough task to get me onside, but sadly, the developers have failed. The same issues rear their ugly heads time and time again. Consequently, I was repeatedly frustrated and annoyed throughout. Yes, the graphics, audio, and setting were great, but that wasn’t enough. Even when Hello Neighbor 2 excelled, it wasn’t enough to paper over the cracks. Disappointingly, I cannot recommend that you buy it. However, more information can be found here! Crimes have been committed, and the village is a mess. Can you find the clues to unearth the culprits?