Five Nights at Freddy’s Ruin Review: Redeeming a Ruined Game

Two years ago, on December 16th 2021, Steel Wool Studios released Five Nights at Freddy’s Security Breach; a broken mess of a game that could barely function and when it was actually functioning it was, at best, painful to play. The console versions of the game were unbeatable at launch and both PC and console players had to deal with constant crashes and game-breaking glitches. A rushed development and lack of rigorous playtesting caused this broken product to release on the market and become what I consider to be the worst major release of 2021. However, over the past two years the game received various patches to make it functional at the very least, with all of those patches eventually leading to the free DLC episode: “Five Night At Freddy’s Security Breach: Ruin” to be released on July 25th 2023.

Because the DLC was free and thus would only take a few hours of my time to play, I installed it on release date and began to play it for the sake of writing this review. I shall be examining this DLC as a game and a horror experience, I shall not say a word about the game’s plot, both to not spoil those interested and because I do not know how to even begin speaking about FNAF’s plot. Before we talk about Ruin’s atmosphere and game design, we must first talk about the problems that Security Breach had. In order to properly appreciate the changes Ruin made to the game we must reflect on how flawed it was without it.

One of Security Breach’s minor issues in the grand scheme of things was something that would be a major issue in any other horror game: its location. The Pizzaplex in Security Breach is constantly lit up with garish neon lights that glow across the game’s environments that are decorative with various bright shades of red, purple, and blue. Every area of the Pizzaplex is also wide open to the point where even if an enemy animatronic sees you, you can likely just run around it in the time it takes for them to sprint all the way across the room toward you.

Speaking of said enemies, they were also a major problem with Security Breach. Aside from them sharing the same problem as the Pizzaplex with their primary colors being bright green, purple, and pink, they were incapable of scaring a majority of player’s as the game devs decided they should all speak constantly throughout gameplay. Any time an animatronic saw the player in Security Breach they would call out in a voice that was either sickly sweet or sounded like a parody of an angry person. It didn’t help that the enemies in Security Breach were very poorly programmed, with nearly broken pathfinding that would cause them to lose track of the player after a few steps, run around in circles, and be incapable of seeing the player from any higher elevation.

Image from Security Breach

The only time Security Breach’s atmosphere resembles one of a horror game is in the final segment under the Pizzaplex, where you explore a destroyed pizzeria. This area is dark, damp, and has darker colors for its floors and walls. Combined with the enemies here not talking and merely being treated as deadly obstacles, it’s by far the best part of the game. Of course, being Security Breach, this section also had glaring flaws such as a brutal run-ending glitch where Roxy would chase the player constantly instead of running along her programmed path, making the fight unwinnable.

Though maybe another reason Security Breach’s final segment is the only well designed part is because it’s the only one that makes it clear where you need to go. Because one of the other major problems with Security Breach was how it forced players to wander aimlessly through its massive Pizzaplex with next to no indication of where to go. Every player has gotten lost, wandered for fifteen minutes, and needed to look up where to go online at least once in Security Breach. Needless to say, any horror the game could have provided was taken away by the need to pause it and make a Google search.

This more open design of Security Breach has been completely abandoned in Ruin. Ruin instead offers players a fairly linear path with collapsed walls and boxes blocking previously open paths as they progress through the Pizzaplex. Instead of forcing players to wander around an open location until all sense of horror vanishes, Ruin’s design is instead more comparable to a roller coaster. Giving player’s brief yet effective scares in between calmer sections where the game’s environments and puzzles take the forefront in setting the mood.

Image from Ruin

Said environments are worlds better than those in base Security Breach. With the Pizzaplex burned down and abandoned the garish lighting of the base game is gone, replaced with dark environments that are only lit up by almost unnatural feeling dark purple lights. Putting the game’s colorful objects and floors in an environment like this makes them feel out of place in an almost alien way that makes them feel much more effective as scenery in a horror game.

The enemies that inhabit said environments have also been vastly improved over those in the base game. No longer will you be hearing the animatronics say things like “Hey! Little guy!” in a goofy voice when they see you. Instead, these decrepit pieces of technology will simply advance toward you like a predator chasing their prey. The enemy designs here have been improved tenfold from the base game. The burned and melted designs of the Security Breach animatronics actually look like they belong in a horror game. Chica in particular has been changed in a way that is near unrecognizable and for the better.

Unfortunately, the jumpscare animations in Ruin are still as poor as they were in Security Breach. Nearly all of them simply have the animatronic stand still as the camera moves slightly. Several of the enemies such as the Endoskeletons lose much of their menace once the player becomes aware of how small the scare of actually getting caught is.

Now that I’ve talked about the game’s atmosphere at length, let’s actually talk about the gameplay, and to begin with let’s speak about the mechanic that used to be FNAF’s only mechanic: the security cameras.

The player can no longer view the cameras at any point in Ruin; instead, they must find monitors that show the camera feed scattered throughout the Pizzaplex. Unlike in the main game, where seeing a bird’s eye view of the game’s locations just isn’t very useful when the player can instead use their own eyes to see where the animatronics are, the cameras actually serve some purpose here. In various sections, the player must use the cameras to spot various anomalies throughout the area that display a button and press the corresponding buttons to advance. I will also compliment the cameras in Ruin for being visually superior to the main game’s as well. The black and white visuals suit the series much better than the full color camera of the base game.

To make up for the player no longer having a camera button on the control at any given time, Ruin instead introduces a new mechanic that is actually a major part of the gameplay and progression: The Mask. Not long after starting the game players will stumble upon this mask that when worn gives them an AR view of the Pizzaplex. When viewing the Pizzaplex through this mode, the player can see invisible objects needed for puzzles, find paths needed for progression, and become invincible from enemies like Endoskeletons temporarily. Unlike similar mechanics like Detective Mode in the Batman: Arkham series, the game does actively discourage overuse of this mask. Wearing it for prolonged periods of time will instantly kill the player. In addition, sometimes the ghost of Bonny will appear and when standing too close to him it is impossible to take the mask off.

Ruin as a whole feels like a lot more care was put into it than base Security Breach. There are a lot of mechanics you would actually expect in a 3D version of Five Nights at Freddy’s such as needing to turn off automated security systems to advance through the building and standing still to fix faulty wiring while animatronics are standing in the next room awaiting you. These tasks are accomplished via simple puzzles meant for the game’s target demographic of young tweens. This is honestly the kind of experience that the game should have been trying to create from the start.

Oddly enough, the game devs decided to correct the fact that the jump button had absolutely no purpose in the base game by adding a platforming section to Ruin. I have no genuine complaints about this section as it is one of the more tense moments of the game and I didn’t die, but platforming with this game’s clunky jump feels very strange.

I initially played through Security Breach at launch and because of that I had to experience near constant crashes and the infamous oversight where the Monty fight was just unplayable on Day 1. Thankfully, Ruin only crashed a single time in my few hours playing it as opposed to crashing every ten minutes. Just because Ruin is more stable than Security Breach doesn’t mean it isn’t still Security Breach though, and with that title it naturally has many glitches which may harm the player’s experience. While I haven’t encountered anything game breaking there are various glitches such as occasionally not being able to leave the Monty Golf cannons until I used all the ammo or just a random death for seemingly no reason, which lessened my enjoyment of the game.

Overall Five Night At Freddy’s Security Breach Ruin is a great DLC attached to an awful base game. Nearly every aspect of Security Breach is improved or fixed with this DLC and I wish this was the type of game Steel Wool Studios released two years ago instead. Unfortunately, recommending this game to anyone is very hard for me. Ruin may be a free DLC, but it requires you to own Security Breach which costs $40 and as I have stated many times, is not a game worth playing. Even if you were to skip playing Security Breach and instead play only Ruin, I don’t think I can justify spending $40 on a DLC that you can beat in a single afternoon.

My recommendation is that if you already own Security Breach or if you can get it for really cheap, then try installing and playing through Ruin. The base game may have been awful from start to finish, but this DLC is genuinely worth your time if you want a short horror experience and have some nostalgia toward FNAF.

1 thought on “Five Nights at Freddy’s Ruin Review: Redeeming a Ruined Game”

  1. Minor issue because that garish neon 80s colour scheme could be argued as kind of tying into the general angle (“What if Chuck E. Cheese at its peak went BAAAD?”) of FNAF?

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