We’ve all watched those “Neighbours from Hell” programmes featuring boundary disputes, loud music and rubbish everywhere, hoping that we never end up living next to such people. However, the picturesque town of Raven Brooks is home to something a little more sinister than jungle music blaring through the walls at 3am.
Hello Neighbor 2 once again puts you in the shoes of a super sleuth, who is hot on the heels of the extremely dodgy Mr. Peterson. It becomes pretty clear early doors that he’s up to no good, and it just so happens that Quentin the reporter is determined to get to the bottom of the strange goings on.
This stealthy, family-friendly horror game creates a tense, claustrophobic atmosphere as Quentin infiltrates a series of buildings within Raven Brooks as part of his investigation. However, it won’t just be Mr. Peterson trying to put a stop to your snooping, plenty of other residents will be less than impressed with your trespassing and kick you back out onto the street.
You’ll need to explore each location from a first person perspective, hunting for key items whilst making sure not to get spotted. Quentin carries a little satchel that can hold up to six things, but you’ll also need to hold onto tools such as a crowbar and screwdriver which are crucial for progression. You can chuck items to make space for others, however I found a minor issue with this.
To begin with you’ll need to remember where you placed them. But the issue is that if you stand on the discarded item (like I did) it has the potential to ping off in a random direction and disappear completely (as happened to me). I had to restart the game because I needed the magically disappearing scissors to cut away thick spider webbing.
Anyhow, if you are spotted, yellow triangles will appear over your crosshair and chase music will kick in. In this situation, the best thing to do is leg it. Once you have broken the line of sight from your pursuer you’ll be able to hide, most likely in a cupboard for example. If you’re seen jumping in though, you will be dragged straight back out.
Hello Neighbor 2’s AI has been billed as advanced, sophisticated and one that learns how you play, adapting accordingly. In reality, I certainly found elements of this but also it just felt as if the AI got lucky a lot of the time, or would even miraculously snuff you out having a seemingly unfair advantage.
Still, getting discovered isn’t the end of you but recently collected items will be lost and their location reset. Instead, you’ll need to find your way back into the building, retracing your steps whilst remembering where everything is.
The puzzles in Hello Neighbor 2 are clever and well designed, but it’s easy to miss something important and get stumped. The way forward isn’t always obvious either, so figuring out what to do is a bit of a leap of faith, rather than a logical next step. Still, when it clicks you’ll feel silly for not solving it earlier.
As a setting, Raven Brooks is rather empty. The game trundles along from start to finish pretty seamlessly, with segments of play split only by cutscenes as you complete each “level”. But as you are wandering around town, there is pretty much nothing else to interact with. There is definitely space here to develop things, and I say this constructively as it’s clear there is a desire from tinyBuild to make a third game.
Hello Neighbor 2 runs with a choppy framerate at times and at one point slowed down so dramatically I had to reboot the game. Otherwise, its characters are full of personality and each level has its own distinctive theme. It looks great for the most part, and has a solid soundtrack.
The game will take you around eight hours to complete if you aren’t a wannabe Poirot, otherwise it will be considerably shorter. Regardless of this, Hello Neighbor 2 is a brief adventure, especially for the price. To own it, you’ll need to fork out £33.49 and the price will jump to just under £50 if you would like the DLC as well. This extra content comes with the deluxe edition, and takes you beyond the neighbourhood to explore new locations, and get pursued by other cheesed off residents.
Hello Neighbor 2 has a great idea at its core, and it works well overall. Its potential, however, seems limited and has possibly already been reached. Still, I’m always happy to be proved wrong.
Hello Neighbor 2 is on the Xbox Store