When Hello Neighbor launched on Xbox One last year, I was eager to get my hands on the game. I watched countless videos from Markiplier, Jacksepticeye, and MatPat regarding the horror title. When I finally got to play it for Xbox Enthusiast, my reaction was less than enthusiastic.
Hello Neighbor is a game that I was very excited to play after years of hearing about it. The game features horror and stealth, two of my favorite things in video games. Unfortunately, a fantastic concept doesn’t make for a good game. Not only is the overall experience disappointing, the countless bugs, trial and error gameplay, inconsistent AI, and confusing mission objectives make Hello Neighbor more of a chore than a fun game. The main character may want to know what’s in the basement, but do yourself a favor, and stay in your house. This infiltration mission just isn’t worth it.
I recently had an opportunity to play Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek. I wanted to try the game since it was a prequel, and while I wasn’t a fan of the original, the narrative intrigued me. Unfortunately, after a few minutes, I knew that the game wasn’t for me. First off, Hide & Seek continues the trend of games without tutorials. It expects you to have played the previous game prior to starting Hide & Seek. Honestly, if I hadn’t played Hello Neighbor and knew that a prequel existed, I would have started with the earlier game chronologically.
New game, same problems
The beginning of Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek starts off innocently. The neighbor’s children are playing the titular game around the house. After a few cinematic moments, your character goes through a closet door and enters an outdoor area. This section takes place outside but is full of household appliances. It’s essentially an alternate version of your house. I started exploring when given control of my character. After a few steps, the music ramped up, and the brother started chasing me in a tiger costume. I was captured and placed at the start of the area once again. Like clockwork, he showed up and started chasing my character around.
I eventually hid in a bush while waiting for him to walk away. I continuously attempted to figure out what to do. There was no sense of direction when it came to my objective. After a while, a hint marker appeared on screen. Hitting the button led to a cutscene showing where my objectives were. This led to even more questions than answers. What was I supposed to do? I went to the first arrow and was confused about where to go next. Did I need that couch to jump to a new area? Was there an item required to progress forward? I’m not sure because there is no objective to follow.
There were over three arrows on the map and no way to figure out how to navigate towards them. I spent a frustratingly long hour attempting to reach different platforms with no luck. Eventually, I gave up, stopped playing, and uninstalled the game. Before criticizing me for doing so, hear me out.
Gaming is Escapism
Just like with films, I play video games to escape the stresses of life. Outside of my day job, I write reviews and features for Xbox Enthusiast and Nintendo Enthusiast. When I’m tasked to review a game, I’ll play through it, and give my honest critique. Then there are other games that I play for fun. I spend hours a week playing Overwatch, and I’ve been dabbling in other games like Below, Ashen and Monster Boy. Each of those games are unique experiences that have been providing me with a lot of fun.
Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek is the antithesis of what video games are supposed to do. It’s frustrating, annoying, and not worth my time. After a full work day, I shift into Xbox Enthusiast mode. I spend plenty of time playing video games. so I know what I want to write about. I try to inform readers about what games to play, but if I’m not doing a review, there’s a chance I may not finish a game. I’ll give impressions and move on.
With the new Hello Neighbor, I realized that I need to manage my time properly. Despite being a writer on the side, I need to respect the free time I’m fortunate to have. Why should I leave one stressful situation and put myself in another? Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek proves that not every game is worth playing. There are probably a bunch of fans of the franchise out there, but it’s not for me. Streaming and Let’s Plays are better suited for games like this because influencers often make all types of games entertaining.
Conclusion: I’m getting older and more picky
I turned 29 this year. When I was in my teens, I took the chance to play every game I could. Whether it was good or bad, I wasted money and bought countless games. I purchased Iron Phoenix on the original Xbox because it had clan support. I bought plenty of tie-ins because I loved animated shows. Now that I’m almost 30, pay bills, and am trying to save up money, I can’t play every game that’s out. When I’m home from work, there are only 7 hours left in the day for myself. I can’t force myself to play things I don’t want to. Doing so takes away my enjoyment from the video game medium, and makes me want to do something else.
If Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek did anything right, it was that the game helped me make a realization about myself. I’m becoming a bitter guy that can’t be bothered with certain games. I knew going into the prequel that I hated the original. Now, I’m a little bit wiser, and won’t play other installments of games I didn’t like the first time around. I can live vicariously through other gamers, friends, and colleagues. It’s possible to enjoy games without putting myself through the stress of playing them myself. It’s a lesson that took me a while to learn, but one that’s I’m glad to have figured out. Thanks, Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek, you’ve helped me in becoming a better person.
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he’s usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89