In the last few days we have tried the beta of Hello Neighbor 2, out at the end of the year: so let’s see together all the aspects of this preview of the latest title from Dynamic Pixels, Eerie Guest Studios and TinyBuild, so as to have a more precise idea on what awaits us next December
It has been several years since our first horror exploration in the neighbor’s house. Originally released in 2017, Hello Neighbor it was a very particular title, capable of attracting a large number of fans around it. Although in fact it had not been rated very well by the critics, that unique blend of horror atmospheres and cartoon graphic styletogether with the plot narrated only through scattered clues, managed to convince a good part of the audience, so much so as to transform the title into a franchise cross-media real.
Today, after several spin-offs, 5 years after the first chapter, we were able to get our hands on the beta of Hello Neighbor 2due out in December 2022. This sequel seems to want to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, while creating a game world broader and more ambitious: as we will see, even the plot is closely linked with that of the first chapter. Without getting lost in further ado, let’s try to analyze the various aspects of this preview of Hello Neighbor 2, so as to have a more precise idea of what awaits us.
After a small introduction that serves as a basic tutorial to explain how the commands work, we will find ourselves attacked by a strange creature with a raven’s head, only to be transported to the heart of real events. We will take the shoes of one strange reporter direct to the city of Raven Brooks, seeking to shed light on a disturbing mystery: all the children of the town seem to have disappeared. In addition to the children, there are two other missing persons: Theodore Peterson e Nicky Rothrespectively the Neighbor and the protagonist of the first chapter.
We discover all these details at the beginning of the game, during the introduction cutscene but also through the clues that are provided to us right away. What can be problematic in this type of totally dialogue-free narrative based on providing the clues to the player is that you can easily get lost. At the beginning of this preview of Hello Neighbor 2 (maybe this will change in view of the official release), we are thrown into the town without a precise context and without even an initial goal: although the sandbox nature of the title suggests that we can approach as we see fit, in the initial stages it can happen to feel a bit lost.
During our (short) adventure in the small town of Raven Brooks, we were able to visit some places that will be part of the Hello Neighbor 2 adventure, such as the Peterson’s now empty house and bakery. In these hours of play, we can immediately see how one of the founding elements of the first chapter has been taken up to perfection, that is the contrast between the atmosphere and the graphic style.
From the initial cutscene we will be overwhelmed by an aura of mystery: the very cold and circumspect welcome from the inhabitants of Raven Brooks it makes us understand that we are not welcome there, and that there is probably something underneath. The atmosphere will also become even heavier when we sneak inside the property of others without having to be discovered, or even as we discover the secrets of the inhabitants, complete with jumpscare due to the sudden appearance of a character behind you (in this case it will not be the Neighbor as in the first chapter, but a mysterious figure with a raven’s head).
Together with all this, however, we find ourselves in a typically cartoonish situation. We start graphic style, full of very vivid colors and made of caricatured charactersto then also get to the way these characters communicate: as some of the greatest cartoons in history teach, when the characters speak we will hear no words, but generic sounds that will communicate their state of mind and the meaning of their speech, thanks also to the context that will help us understand what is happening. These two fundamental elements, crossed with each other, give life to the character of Hello Neighbor (which we fully find in this beta), or the meeting between an irreverent, serene and light-hearted atmosphere of a cartoon and the dark and mysterious tones of a any thriller or horror.
Another important aspect that there is to talk about regarding this preview of Hello Neighbor 2 is the technical one, unfortunately in need. The problem is not related to the attention to detail or to the graphic quality, sound or whatever, but to the high number of malfunctions and problems with collisions which make moving the protagonist character and objects somewhat complicated. When we find ourselves in tight spaces (therefore inside any building), the risk of getting stuck in some object of the surrounding environment is too high, and even in the more “platform” phases, so it will happen that you make a false step without having the guilt. In general, this is a problem that does not make the game totally unplayable, but only a little too difficult in places: if they manage to solve this aspect by the official launch, it will still be a very valid, but even more fluid experience.
From this preview of Hello Neighbor 2 we can already savor in enough detail what awaits us starting next December. Going beyond the Technical Problems which are inevitably found while playing (and which we hope will be solved for the release), in this new chapter we can find everything that had made us passionate when back in 2017 we entered the Neighbor’s house to poke our noses into its secrets. With new ambitious promises, we just have to wait and hope that this sequel manages to keep the expectations of the fans.
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