Hello Neighbor 2 (2022) is a puzzle, stealth, horror game, and a direct sequel to the original game with players taking the role of Quentin; a private investigator attempting to uncover the truth behind Mr.Peterson’s serial kidnappings.
It’s a short experience that is best designed for those already in love with the Hello Neighbor franchise’s lore.
Visually, the art direction consists of a paradox between bright colors and clay like character designs with dark forests and murder. While the quality of the gameplay may be unclear, what you’re visually looking at is never a mystery.
Additionally, the audio design masterfully helps to create the ambience of breaking into people’s houses. The footsteps and creaks of objects help to sell this particular vibe. The musical backing of spooky ambient tracks also help set the tone of the game. None of them in particular are memorable, but they do the trick in the moment to create atmosphere.
The investigation starts within the open world of Raven Brook. The investigation leads Quentin to break into Mr.Perterson’s house while it is still an active crime scene. Inside, Quentin finds clues that eventually lead him to discover that Mr.peterson is still active and working out of the community’s local museum. The evidence while present within the museum grounds is locked behind doors that force Quentin to break into the houses of additional neighbors in search of keys.
Within each house, the gameplay loop requires the player to avoid being detected as they discover and solve multiple puzzles. While fairly difficult to find, the solutions are simple, involving either the movement of objects around the environment or by inputting a number sequence derived from the environment. Being detected causes the neighbor present on the lot to chase the player down; subsequent capture resulting in the player being thrown off the lot. This resets items collected on that run but doesn’t affect solved puzzles, making consequences for failure minimal.
The lack of meaningful consequences for failure is additionally contributed to by the failings of the game’s AI systems in respect to its high and low concept functions.
The game’s high concept included an AI system for the neighbors that would react to the actions of the player and eventually learning to put up defenses designed to halt the player. Additionally, the Neighbors are supposed to have their own routines and patterns to follow until they detect noise or spot the player; however, the neighbors are scripted to automatically start walking toward the upper floors of their buildings if the player is present there. Scripting such as this would normally be fine, but in my opinion it defeats the point of a game that’s supposed to feature a learning and perceptive AI.
The game’s low concept includes AI systems for the neighbor’s player detection and memory. It’s ridiculously terrible with memory times that make it feasible for the player to sprint in, get detected and then run around a corner into a different room and be forgotten about. This is in combination however with the previously stated supernatural floor sense that the neighbors all possess. Additionally, the neighbors can’t leave their predetermined zones, which opens up the possibility of cheesing them by utilizing the open world that surrounds their homes.
Hello Neighbor 2 is a game that has failed to deliver on the experience that it initially promised. Only buy this game if you’re already in love with the franchise’s lore, otherwise there’s definitely better alternatives to this style of horror title.
- Visual and Audio design is good
- The Artificial intelligence system that is the bedrock and original selling point of the franchise is missing.