This one feels like a personal attack against me. “Oh, not a fan of the jump-scares?” cackled Scott Cawthon. “Have one every ten seconds! Hope you didn’t like your eardrums!”
Which is a shame, because aside from that, this is my favorite Five Night’s at Freddy’s game.
You play as a security guard for the new horror attraction, Fazbear’s Fright, based on the infamous restaurant chains. After only one night on the job, you’re suddenly joined by a real Fazbear animatronic, a rotting bunny named Springtrap. Now, you must survive the next few nights while being assaulted by the murderous rabbit and nightmarish hallucinations.
It’s kind of fun to swap the role of the player. Sure, you’re still a security guard. But now you’re in a creepy-ass haunted house kind of place rather than a children’s restaurant. It’s an all-new kind of creepy, one more akin to a slasher film than a nightmare. Yet it’s still just as effective.
This is also the (first) ending of the series! Granted, if you haven’t kept up with all the deep lore or theories of the last two games, you won’t have any idea what it means. Hell, even if you do you’ll be confused. Not to mention how cryptic and specific the process of actually getting the good ending is. But it is an ending.
If only it were the only ending…
As I said earlier, the atmosphere of this game is very different. It’s more outright creepy than it is uncomfortable or chilling. You’re smack-dab in the middle of a haunted house, and your only company is a murderous rotting corpse stuffed inside a rotting robot and screaming hallucinations.
Speaking of which: I love Springtrap. He is easily the creepiest animatronic in the series. A rotting serial killer, stuffed into a machine, is a wonderfully unsettling concept. Again, it’s like a slasher movie, and it’s wonderfully done.
As for the hallucinations… not gonna lie, I hate these. Their designs are just too much; they’re not creepy or scary. Not to mention that they only service as jump scares. They’re not frightening, they’re annoying and frustrating.
With that, let’s talk about the gameplay. Five Night’s at Freddy’s 3 puts an interesting twist on the series gameplay. Once again, it’s a resource management game. Only this time, you don’t have limited power supply. Rather, you’ve got three systems that will occasionally go down that you need to maintain. At the same time, you’ve got to scour the cameras in search for Springtrap and lure him away from your office using a sound bite.
For the most part, I really like this. It actually makes the player scan each and every one of the cameras instead of just picking the one or two that actually matter. Seeing Springtrap slowly approach, either through the halls or the vents, is genuinely nerve-racking. It isn’t all that challenging; in fact, it’s the easiest game in the series. Still, I found it enjoyable.
Until the damn phantoms start striking.
When the phantoms step into play, the game becomes an endlessly repeating gallery of jump scare animations. You can avoid the phantoms for the most part, once you figure out their mechanics. Even still, they are remarkably frustrating to deal with. Their whole gameplay purpose is to distract you.
Overall, Five Night’s at Freddy’s 3 is one of the weaker games in the series. Still, I would prefer to play this one over 1 or 2, at least for the most part. It’s a little rough around the edges, and the phantoms get old really quickly, and it’s very easy. But it was a step in the right direction.
Then Scott Cawthon went in a completely different direction so quickly that it gave the whole internet whiplash.
Which he would start to do a lot.