About Hello Neighbor 2
Hello Neighbor… Again?
Hello Neighbor 2 is a stealth horror sequel where you attempt to sneak into your neighbor’s house while avoiding a strange bird-like person. The bird-like person in question is an AI that learns from how you play and adapts accordingly.
It was developed by Dynamic Pixels using Unreal Engine 4 and was published by tinyBuild. It’s the sequel to Hello Neighbor, which was first released in alpha in 2016. The free-to-play 1.5 alpha version of Hello Neighbor 2 is available on Steam and the full version will release on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and Microsoft Windows on December 6, 2022.
Same Old Same Old
Not much has changed from Hello Neighbor. The main difference is that the neighbor from previous titles and spin-offs, Mr. Peterson, has gone missing, and his house has now been inhabited by a strange bird-like person. You play as a journalist and the only person gutsy enough to investigate the countless missing people in the area.
The goal of the game is much the same as in previous iterations. Sneak into the house without getting caught (or run away when you’re spotted), and discover the secrets hidden inside. Additionally, the game allows you to explore more of Raven Brooks, which consists of about a dozen buildings, all seemingly abandoned while still adorned with Halloween decorations.
It’s basically the first game. But, uh… at least it’s a little different?
Concept Rating: 2/5
At Least It Looks Better
The game’s graphics are a big step up. Hello Neighbor 2 has the wonky, dark whimsical feel of Tim Burton films, and better quality graphics thanks to Unity 4. It makes for great screenshots and a solid feeling for the world. What’s disappointing is that many of the items are not able to be picked up or interacted with in any way. Even more disappointing is the lack of wacky combinations or placement of items that the first game had in spades during alpha. The few compelling items Hello Neighbor 2 does have has been reused in unoriginal ways, losing their effect completely.
Hello Neighbor 2 keeps its soundscape simple, staying in line with what we’ve seen previously - audio cues to inform the player whether they’ve been spotted, are being actively chased, etc. In particular, the bird-like noises of the antagonist work well to characterize it, since much of its face is taken up by an oversized beak.
Graphics & Audio Rating: 3/5
No Thrill, No Chill
The sequel’s gameplay doesn’t vary from anything we’ve seen before. You can pick up and throw items, crouch, and run. The heart of Hello Neighbor 2 lies in the thrill of cat-and-mouse gameplay - sneaking, hiding, and running. Unfortunately, any sense of thrill is impossible with a broken AI. In its current state, the AI will see you, then not see you, back and forth - even if you’re crouched in plain sight. When you are caught, you get thrown to the other side of the street. That’s it. This allows the player to try again at their leisure, but this lacks a sense of anything being at stake.
Hello Neighbor 2 prides itself on being a game that can be approached from any angle, but this results in a lack of direction to get the player going. Even a single nudge in the right direction would help, but without it, the player is not given the drive that the game assumes the player is naturally instilled with: the burning desire to explore the house. There’s no first hook to grab the player, leaving this “sandbox experience” lacking any sense of purpose.
Gameplay rating: 1/5
Pointless Goose Chase
The Hello Neighbor games have been trying to recreate what they had at the launch of their first alpha release. This sequel does them no favors. The AI’s sure to be patched throughout Hello Neighbor 2’s lifetime, but it’ll only be a band-aid on a much larger problem. The graphics have improved, but the wacky, chilling tone of the game’s franchise has yet to return. Furthermore, without a functioning or compelling AI to play against, the replayability factor of this game’s alpha is next to nil.
Replayability Rating: 1/5
Hello Neighbor 2 is a poor attempt at everything the first game’s alpha was striving for, leaving players with a broken AI and no thrill.