Review: The Freddy Files

Five Nights at Freddy's: The Freddy Files: The Official Guidebook to the Bestselling Video Game SeriesFive Nights at Freddy's: The Freddy Files
by Scott Cawthon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Freddy Files (Five Nights at Freddy's) / B06X9C7K2L

I am the biggest FNAF fan. I'm not good enough at the game to play past the first couple of nights, but I've seen a million youtube videos and am a particular fan of Markiplier's vids. I've surfed the FNAF wiki for countless hours of my life and read all the fan theories and lurked on forums while they were argued and hashed out. I own both the novels, and I think they're incredible and recommend them whenever I get the chance. I'm that level of invested, so of course I was going to buy this guidebook.

I'm glad I did! The guidebook is *beautiful* with glossy pictures on my screen (I bought the kindle version) and high quality images. A lot of work went into making this book both accessible for newbies who would have no idea what is going on but still interesting to fans who know all the basics. There's additionally a lot of interesting material regarding the actual gameplay: the sections for each game include maps of the facilities, little dotted-line tracks that show the paths of the animatronics, and player hints and tips. Even for a non-player like me, the tips were interesting to read, which is a hard balance to maintain! That was well done and I'm impressed.

So where's the downside? Well, this book is short. 160 pages and you can tear through it in about an hour. Not all the secret screens are shown, which doesn't make a lot of sense to me because (a) the writers clearly had access to the screens and (b) that's kinda what a lot of us are here for. References are made to "opening up the game files" for ourselves to look, but that's what I bought a book for! Don't get me wrong, there are some secret pictures here--good ones!--but there are quite a few missing. Similarly, if you couldn't get into the novels don't expect a plot summary here; the material covering the novels is more like spoiler-free "teaser" material to pique your interest. On the one hand, I'm okay with this because I *like* the novels, but on the opposing hand I'm not sure why you would include them in a guidebook if there's no actual guiding through the material.

The other thing that I'm not sure how I feel about is the "fan theories" in the guide. The guide has done a great job assembling and summarizing quite a few of the major fan theories and that's awesome! But Scott Cawthon--the game designer and writer!--is listed as an author to this guide as a selling point, i.e., this is the "Official" guide and not yet another fan creation. In which case, I was coming into this hoping for... something more than I could find on the FNAF fan wiki? some official "Word of God" material from the actual creator? I didn't expect Scott to answer all the questions surrounding the series, but a few new tidbits of information would have been nice.

[side note] This book covers material from FNAF 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Sister Location), and the two novels (Silver Eyes and Twisted Ones). There is no mention of the RPG spin-off (FNAF World), which is something of a shame because while I'm dimly aware that it was a disastrous train-wreck of a game, I would have enjoyed seeing its inclusion in this guide, its secrets (if it had any!), and some discussion of what went wrong. I understand not wanting to include one's failures in a guidebook that is trying to be accessible to bring in new fans, but I would have liked to see it here regardless. [end side note]

As it is, I don't think there's anything here in this guidebook that you can't get for free online. And that's okay! I think it's useful to have the "bare essentials" of the story and fan theories all bound up in a single beautiful edition. Collectors should buy the book and fans will love the stroll down memory lane. It's a good book and I have no regrets, and I'll almost certainly refer to it in the future if another game in the series comes out. But I'm a teeny tiny bit disappointed by the absence of any new material--in a perfect world, I would've liked some teasers released in this, or at least an announcement of a new installment in the series!

~ Ana Mardoll


Post a Comment