It would be pretty difficult for any gamer to be unaware of the premise behind the hugely popular Five Nights at Freddy’s series at this point. The early games largely involved sitting in place in your office while you check your cameras and try to keep out the roaming animatronics in a pizza restaurant reminiscent of the real-life Chuck E. Cheese. For years, I, and surely countless other fans, had fantasized over the possibility of a free-roaming FNAF game (an official one, anyway) that would take the franchise to a whole new level in terms of gameplay. And we finally have it, in the form of Security Breach, where you team up with the titular Freddy and try to survive the night in an 80’s style mall known as Freddy Fazbear’s Mega Pizzaplex.
Before I get into the review, I want to start by talking a little bit about the game’s release on December 16, 2021. The game was scheduled for release at midnight (Pacific Standard Time), but was delayed by about 18 hours. As I eagerly awaited the game to become available, I started seeing gameplay videos going up on Youtube. It’s not uncommon for the more popular Youtubers to get early copies of a game. What put me on edge was when I read that they were given copies of the game to test for bugs before the game’s final release. And they were finding bugs, lots of them, I had heard. And the game had fewer than 24 hours left before it would be available for purchase.
I was also confused when the 80 GB file size turned out to be 20 GB on my PS4. I was both relieved that I wouldn’t be spending multiple hours downloading the game and a tad concerned. What was missing from my version of the game that it was only a quarter of the size, hmm?
Um, I’ll talk more about the glitches later, but man, oh man, this game has problems. It was not ready to be released when it was. But let’s get on with the review first, okay? Because if you can overlook all the problems, which includes instances of pixelated graphics, textures not loading, and really bad lagging issues, there’s a pretty decent game in there. Underneath the mess.
You play as a kid named Gregory who manages to get himself locked inside the mall after closing. For whatever reason, Freddy is more than willing to help you escape, even while the other animatronics hunt you mercilessly. First off, I just want to say how much I love Freddy in this game. I never really cared for him before. I mean, he was always just that bear the game was named after. But they really did a great job with his personality, from his friendly demeanor and giving Gregory the nickname of “superstar” to his habit of overly apologizing for small matters. It’s okay, Freddy. I just got a dorky magnet. Considering I’m in a life or death situation, I’m not that concerned with how cheapo my free gift turned out to be.
Come on, though, who didn’t feel just a bit better about themselves whenever Freddy said, “Great job, superstar”?
Okay, moving on…this game went a long way in fleshing out the personalities of the animatronics. The voice acting, paired with the simple act of getting to see them physically moving around, really helped to bring them to life (ironic, considering they’re robots). The new animatronic, the one who can transform between a sun and moon, is a great addition, as well, even if I would have liked to see him just a bit more. (I mean, Moon does show up occasionally, but he’s so darn easy to avoid, and he never caught me a single time. Am I just exceedingly stealthy or was there an issue?)
The gameplay is exactly what you’d expect form a free-roaming Five Nights at Freddy’s, with the ability to hide and check nearby cameras with your watch (the creatively named Faz Watch…which later gives you access to your Faz Map). As the game progresses, you will be sneaking around more and more of this huge mall, which includes various themed attractions, locations normally only accessible to staff, and lots and lots of sweet neon! You are given various tasks to complete, which progress the time forward, though it can be easy to get confused about what you’re supposed to do next. Your next goal is typically given to you in the form of dialogue, which can be easy to miss if you don’t have subtitles enabled (I didn’t because I felt like they were too intrusive).
Funnily enough, this game ended up having an issue similar to the first one. In the very first FNAF, many of us quickly learned that the cameras were actually useless. Aside from keeping an eye on Foxy, there was no reason to check the cameras because it was far more efficient to just check the door lights and open and close them depending on if anyone was out there at that moment. And the same ended up being the case with Security Breach. At first, I thought, hey, this is pretty neat. The cameras feel like they have a much greater purpose in this game. But before long, I found that it was far quicker to move about with less stealth because, even if you are spotted, you can often just outrun your assailant anyway.
Speaking of running, why did we have to click the left analog stick all the time? I’m pretty sure a trigger button was free. I would have really preferred if that was the run button.
Story-wise, the FNAF games have always been pretty simple on the surface, with far more complex lore hidden much deeper. The same seems to be the case for Security Breach, though it might have been nice to have a bit more story in a game like this. We never quite learn why Gregory got stuck here after closing hours in the first place or how he knows that Vanessa the security guard is sketchy. And while the first portion of the game has Gregory looking for an exit, the rest of the game felt like random busywork until 6 AM. I mean, one moment he’s trying to escape, which is the logical response to this situation, and the next moment, he’s actively seeking out ways of destroying the animatronics hunting him. It would have been far safer to just find a nice hiding place and hunker down for the night than to pick a fight with a bunch of murderous robots.
And by the end, it appears Gregory wants to investigate these disappearances that had apparently taken place here, but that didn’t really seem like his goal at first.
Also, Vanny was supposed to be the main antagonist, right? Well, we barely even see her in the game.
Anyway, this is a horror game, so maybe we should discuss how scary it really was. In general, no, I didn’t find the game to be very scary, and many people think this game is more family-friendly than past FNAF games. While I’m okay with the latter (some aspects of FNAF lore gets really dark, so the fewer gruesome details related to…child murder, the better), it would have been nice if the game was scarier. Maybe I’m just used to jumpscares at this point because those don’t startle me at all anymore. (Jumpscares aren’t really the pinnacle of good horror anyway.) Even so, there were a few highlights in terms of the horror factor that were really great. You’ll know them when you see them. I just would have appreciated more of that.
Perhaps it’s about time we shifted our focus to the biggest issue, shall we? Because this is by far the buggiest game I’ve ever played in my life. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that this game might have more glitches than all my other games combined. The previous dishonor went to Subnautica, which was still a largely more functional game than this one. Though, in the defense of Security Breach, at least I was able to finish it, which was not something I could say about Subnautica.
But you might be asking, just what kinds of glitches are we talking about, Duck? Well, glad you asked. Let’s see…I got stuck in a wall, and I fell through stairs, not to mention a catwalk, that failed to load in time. I ran into invisible objects. My flashlight would often teleport about the screen. I would catch the wrong room loading for a second. I got trapped in a hiding spot, unable to escape, because I made the grievous error of hiding at the exact moment a security bot caught me. The wrong cameras would be available or no cameras at all, making planning my next move impossible. The screen went black, and I couldn’t see what I was doing. At one point, I could no longer summon Freddy and had to reload an earlier save file. Plus, some areas lag so badly, and on the PS4, you can’t see any of the screens because they’re way too blurry, black spots appear on certain characters’ faces, and Freddy’s makeup was pixelated. On the PS4, the game also seems way darker than what I observed in other people’s gameplay videos. Perhaps they did this to hide the lower quality graphics?
Some Tips for Tackling Those Pesky Glitches
- Reloading your save file or letting yourself get killed will fix most glitches.
- You should always have multiple save files, however, because some glitches can’t be fixed with the above tip, and you may need to load an earlier save file.
- There’s a certain part of the game where it’s common for the screen to go black. Reloading my file didn’t work, but letting myself get jumpscared did.
- If, upon exiting Freddy’s chest, you don’t have a flashlight anymore, there’s a button that will bring it back. On the PS4, I believe it was up on the control pad. Or recharge its battery at one of those stations. I thought it was a glitch, but I guess it wasn’t.
- There’s a trick for saving after 6 AM (unless they release a patch that fixes this). The link to the video showing you how to do this is here.
In the end, Security Breach was a memorable experience, for both good and bad reasons. There were a lot of good moments, and I loved finally getting to see the animatronics in action. This is something I had really only seen in fan games before, and it was cool to see them actually walking around, and talking, in an official FNAF game. But I’m not sure I can recommend this game to any PS4 user because it works so very poorly.
I had read various arguments defending this game online. People said we can’t expect a PS4 game to look good. Or an indie game, for that matter. They said we shouldn’t expect a game to work perfectly on release day. To which I respond: I have played indie games (made by companies with a similar number of employees)…on the PS4, mind you…that work and look better than this game. Also…really, games shouldn’t work when they’re released, huh? Okay…well, I’m grateful that 99% of the games I’ve played ignore that rule and are actually functional on the release date.
I’m really not trying to down Steel Wool Studios. I guess it’s impressive that they managed to make a game that I would still consider to be quite successful, even with the massive amount of issues. I really liked Security Breach. It’s not perfect, but they did a great job, all things considered. It just needs some serious updates to address the many, many problems.
My final verdict: Security Breach did a great job in elevating the simple gameplay of FNAF to a full, free-roaming experience. But the glitches are really prevalent, and if you didn’t already buy this game, you should probably wait a while. Maybe get the physical release in March. Surely we’ll have a more stable version of the game by then. I hope.