Few franchises have survived throughout the years quite like Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s. The survival horror series saw its first title release in 2014 and featured fairly rudimentary gameplay due to Cawthon working on it alone. Nevertheless, with some genuinely interesting lore, unsettling character designs and terrifying jump-scares, Five Nights at Freddy’s would become incredibly popular. That’s to say nothing of the sheer volume of Let’s Play videos, walkthroughs and lore videos dedicated to it. Numerous sequels, spin-offs, books and imitators have been released since then. There’s even a film that’s in the works.
Fast forward to the present and Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Core Collection is now available for Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. With Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach releasing early this year for PS4, PS5 and PC (other platforms get it three months later), is it worth jumping into this compilation? Let’s take a look at 5 things you should know beforehand.
Five Games in One
The Core Collection includes Five Nights at Freddy’s 1 to 4 along with Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location. The “core” part refers to this being the main storyline for the franchise – you’ll be introduced to the world of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza and experience the nightmarish going-on of its animatronics. Though how it ties into the previous games is still to be determined, Security Breach seems to be set in the present day so if you want to know how exactly the franchise got to this point, The Core Collection is a good place to start.
Gameplay in Five Nights at Freddy’s boils down like this – you’re trapped in Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza at night with killer animatronics walking around. Due to their programming, they’ll attempt to stuff any human – in this case, the player – into a costume, thus killing them. In Five Nights at Freddy’s 1 to 3, you play as a security guard who has the benefit of different cameras that can be used to surveil the animatronics. If they happen to get to you, one way or another, you die. The initial nights start off slow with usually one or two animatronics wandering around but later on, they’ll become more numerous and aggressive.
As the name implies, you need to survive for five nights in total. There’s often a sixth or Custom Night in each game which offers more challenges and additional story details (even being necessary for the true ending in some cases). From the second game onwards, various 8-bit mini-games will crop up to provide more background on what’s going on.
Even among the first three games, there are key differences in the gameplay. Five Nights at Freddy’s relies on power for its doors – once the power runs out, the doors will open and cameras will become unavailable (along with the lights going out, which is literally bad news bears). Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 offers unlimited power but does away with that whole locking doors nonsense. A Freddy Fazbear mask is instead provided to help “trick” certain animatronics to spare you. Naturally, it doesn’t work on everyone so you’ll need to rely on the flashlight as well (which has limited power, by the way).
Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 mixes things up slightly, introducing two different systems for managing cameras, one looking at the different rooms and corridors while the other examines the vents. Three operating systems – one for cameras, another for audio to lure an animatronic away and ventilation – must also be managed and rebooted at different times. Fail to reboot them and you risk passing out or hallucinating, becoming vulnerable to an attack. Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 does away with the security office entirely and is set in a bedroom. However, it still relies on keeping various nightmares away by locking the door or checking the closet and bed.
Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location is more of an exploration title. You’re no longer confined to a single office or location and must move between rooms to complete different objectives. And as usual, you must prevent the animatronics from finding and killing you. A variety of animatronics star in the series but the one constant is Freddy Fazbear, the mascot who serves as the face of Fazbear Entertainment. Don’t worry though – as time goes on, various other horrors from a marionette to smaller animatronics will torment you throughout.
In terms of gameplay depth and overall length, it’s fairly easy to breeze through all five games within several hours. The main appeal of the franchise is its story and lore. Without going too heavily into spoilers, the series is about a family restaurant chain called Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. The first game reveals a brutal incident called “The Bite of ’87” that took place in a restaurant during the day – this involved an animatronic clamping down on a patron’s head, crushing it and killing them. Another incident that occurred in the same location saw someone donning an animatronic’s costume and committing five murders – their bodies were subsequently stuffed into the other animatronics. The second and fourth games provide more insight into the events leading up to The Bite of ’87.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 takes 30 years after the first game in a horror attraction called Fazbear’s Fright cobbled together from the various restaurants. How the animatronics came to life and what’s ultimately driving them is revealed. Sister Location is implied to take place either parallel to the third game or slightly before it, focusing on a new location that has many of the old animatronics in play (along with several new ones).
All in all, The Core Collection offers a decently rounded view of the story though there are still numerous unanswered questions (especially with regards to the fourth game). There isn’t much gore but fairly disturbing incidents permeate the series so be warned.
Achievements and Trophies
When released in standalone format on consoles, each title had ten Achievements/Trophies to earn on Xbox One and PS4 respectively. These were fairly straightforward, from completing the different nights to dying. The Core Collection is billed as having a “new” Achievement and Trophy system though whether new ones were added or this works differently from the current batch is still unknown.
In Five Nights at Freddy’s 3, completing the sixth night aka Nightmare unlocks the ability to use cheats. These can increase the aggressiveness of animatronics, enable a radar or progress the nights faster. The Core Collection reportedly has cheats that provide “new reasons to revisit Fazbear Entertainment.” This implies that there are cheats for all five games, which is good news for those who want to tone the difficulty down just to experience the story. More details are needed though so don’t go in expecting each and every game to have comprehensive new options available.