Hello Neighbor is one of the more interesting indie releases of the last several years, taking YouTube and Twitch by storm as content creators and players worked tirelessly to unravel all of the secrets and mystery of TinyBuild’s horror sandbox. Now, the universe is set to expand with the release of Hello Neighbor 2 later this year, which we got to take for a spin thanks to the first beta.
The Hello Neighbor 2 beta introduces us to the story in the latest chapter. Taking on the role of a journalist, players are investigating the town of Raven Brooks and its bizarre inhabitants. Posters of missing children are all over the place, and it feels like just about every character has something to hide. This cast of peculiar characters of course includes the titular neighbor, who is back and up to no good.
The major aspect of Hello Neighbor 2 that separates it from its predecessor is in its open-world approach. While the original game did allow you to freely move around the map. It was relatively small and the neighbor’s house was the sole point of interest. There are several unique areas around Raven Brooks that players can explore.
Each of these locations feel like they’re telling their own story within a much larger one. Whether it's the police officer investigating a house, or the weird owner of the pretzel shop, players now have multiple buildings/environments to explore.
A major aspect of the Hello Neighbor franchise, and one that’s evident in the beta for Hello Neighbor 2, is the marriage of stealth and horror. Just about every NPC in the game is hostile, chasing you out of their zone if they spot you. There’s a lot sneaking around as you carefully navigate an area to not make noise or enter a character’s line of sight. There’s also a good deal of patience required, as you’ll need to observe and memorize the behavioral patterns of Raven Brooks’ inhabitants in order to manipulate them and avoid capture.
Hello Neighbor 2 also brings back the standout feature from the first game - the evolving AI. As players continue to sneak around and inevitably get caught by other characters, those characters will begin to learn and recognize your behaviors in the same way you do theirs. You’ll notice them checking different locations, changing their route, or even blocking off certain entry points. It’s a major piece to the environmental puzzle that is Hello Neighbor.
Hello Neighbor 2 is clearly still in its earlier stages, but the vision to deliver something bigger and creepier than what came before is clear. We’ll have to see how it all pans out when Hello Neighbor 2 launches later this year.
This preview is based on a digital code provided by the publisher. Hello Neighbor 2 launches later this year for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.