stub Hello Neighbor 2 Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5 & PC) — Is It Worth Playing?
Connect with us

Hello Neighbor 2 Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5 & PC)

Updated on

Hello Neighbor is a funny ol' thing at the best of times. Sure, it's mostly puzzle-based and a little too heavy on the sandbox elements, but it's also laden with a lot of hit-and-miss portions of horror and nail-biting ambience. And Hello Neighbor 2, as you'd expect from a bigger, better, and supposedly bolder sequel, does all in its power to amplify these ingredients to make an empire twice the size. Does it work, though? Well, let's go ahead and whittle it down into analytical chunks.

What's Happening, Raven Brooks?

Hello Neighbor casts you as an investigate journalist in an open world town that's evidently happy-go-lucky on the surface, but smothered in dark secrets beneath. As such, every room has an heirloom to sheath, and every townie has a tainted truth to keep stowed away from the public eye. It's your job, then, to go on a fishing expedition, notebook in one hand, heart in the other, and tail, on occasion, well and truly tucked away between your legs. The question you're ultimately trying to answer? What on earth is going on in Raven Brooks? Or better yet, can you ever dare to trust its citizens after discovering their ever-evolving carousels of twisted secrets?

What did I say — it's alluring, to the say the least. Plot-wise, it reels you in like a wad of bank notes strapped to the millennium falcon — and it sticks the landing, too. But that's before you're actually given the opportunity to reach out and open the doorway for yourself. And for me, in all honesty, opening that old chestnut and having a good old meander around was another story altogether. Raven Brooks was calling, sure — but did I want to spend the night willingly?

Welcome Home, Neighbor

Screenshot by

Hello Neighbor 2 opens up with our investigative journalist stumbling upon something he shouldn't: a kidnapping in broad daylight. After a near miss with the captor (that being the same grouchy golfer-type gent from the first game), the journo is immediately presented with a molehill to hack through. And that molehill, surprise surprise, comes in the form of a color-coded puzzle, complete with all the same levers, knobs, and gears that bulked out 90% of the other chapter. Déjà vu? Most definitely. A little too close to home? If only slightly.

After breaking free from the little shack in the opening sequence, what you're basically given is a relatively small open world to explore. With little guidance and no objective to motivate you though, this is more or less the same as being hurled into the deep end without a life jacket to keep you afloat. Again, it makes sense, what with our hero being an investigative journalist and all. But honestly, these opening twenty minutes in which I spent aimlessly wandering around while listening to uplifting pipe music, sadly, could've been a little more exciting.

It was only when I broke into an actual home that I found something worth holding out for. After sneaking my way through the rear entrance and avoiding contact with the questionably angry sheriff — the hunt was on. In mere moments, the subtle elements had subsided, the tension had spontaneously escalated into a groundbreaking crescendo, and the world as I suddenly saw it warped into a vibrant nightmare, complete with blood-soaked safes to crack, codes to decipher, and clues to unearth. It was at that point where I, long overdue sigh of relief in tow, finally found my foothold.

Hope You Like Puzzles

Screenshot by

It goes without saying that puzzles are the bread and butter of Hello Neighbor 2. In fact, they're so commonplace, that if you don't have to solve a riddle just to be able to tie your own shoelaces, then chances are you're playing the wrong game. And honestly, everything that takes place after you assume control of the hero revolves around a puzzle. It's laughable, even, but it definitely gives you plenty to scratch your head over. And what's more, it also adds a thin layer of replayability to it, which is a pretty strong flex in this day and age, to be honest.

As Hello Neighbor 2 features a non-linear format, almost nothing lends you a signal as to where to look next. It's your journey, and it's entirely on you to connect the dots and pluck out the clues from the network of kidnappings. How do you go about doing that? Well, by solving puzzles, of course. And a lot of them, too.

The problem I have here isn't so much with the puzzles themselves — but more the pieces that are supposed to snap directly into said puzzles. As it turns out, being caught by the neighbor (or anyone in Raven Brooks, for that matter) means losing all your equipment. As for where it goes, now that's another question, and one that I particularly didn't enjoy having to try and answer every few minutes. And if, say, I needed a crowbar to access a certain area, well, that wasn't going to happen unless I miraculously stumbled upon a spare. The point here is this: the puzzles, as much as Hello Neighbor wants you to enjoy them, really aren't all they're cracked up to be. If anything, they're actually quite obnoxious, poorly placed, and frustratingly unapproachable.

The AI Is Your Own Worst Enemy

Screenshot by

Granted, tinyBuild pulled out all the stops when it came to constructing a sturdy and somewhat reliable AI. The problem is, the AI is, I don't know, a little too clever, to the point of it being arrogantly accurate. The fact that it adapts to your errors means only one thing: make one mistake, and you'll have hell to pay for it. But make two or three mistakes, then you might as well scrap your progress and start over from scratch, because there ain't no way you're going to outsmart the AI on this one. That is, unless you don't mind playing hooky.

At one point, I found myself in an area of a house that just so happened to contain the clues I needed to progress. Unfortunately for me, I soon found myself captured and thrown back out to the curbside, which essentially led the neighbor to study my pattern. As a result, it stuck its ground and remained there, which meant I, funnily enough, couldn't make a dent in the next puzzle. This was an issue that I approached with a little more frustration than I would have liked, yet it felt fair all the same, given that I was still ironing out the kinks and getting the gist of the mechanics.

Other times, AI neighbors just wouldn't budge. Perhaps this was a technical thing, I'm not sure. Either way, a great deal of my progress came to a standstill purely down to the fact that some neighbors just wouldn't budge an inch. Was this poor design on tinyBuild's part? I don't know. The fact is, though, its mismatched AI was an absolute nightmare to tolerate from beginning to end, and it certainly left me worse for wear in the long run, that's for sure.


Don't get me wrong, Hello Neighbor 2 does have what it takes to become a great game should you remove a few of its mundane puzzles and hit-and-miss open world elements. Does this make it an solid idea that's worthy of a $50 sequel? On paper, yes. But as far as its actual execution goes, its confusing AI and frustrating puzzle placements definitely conjure up a mental roadblock — one that took me a double dose of painkillers to slug through and actually enjoy. And to be honest, all things considered, I was sort of glad that it was a day-one exclusive on Xbox Game Pass, otherwise I might've needed something stronger to alleviate the frustration.

Hello Neighbor 2 isn't exactly a horror game, nor is it exactly a nail-biting story-driven experience, either. If anything at all, it's a wannabe puzzler that's afraid to experiment with what could potentially be something grand—something exciting and fresh. The fact is, there's an opportunity that slipped beneath the radar here, and it's a darn shame tinyBuild couldn't summon the stones to take it.

Hello Neighbor 2 is also only around four or five hours long, which means, at full retail price, you'd at least expect to see some replay value here. And it does have it, if only in small sections. But then, until the AI can get a sturdy overhaul and the cogs can get a little extra elbow grease, it definitely isn't worth a second visit. Raven Brooks is tolerable in doses, but I for one wouldn't go back for a second helping after recovering from the last headache that it gave me.

Hello Neighbor 2 Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, PS5 & PC)

Goodbye Neighbor

Hello Neighbor 2 tries to recreate the same spark that made its original the stealthy gem that it was, but fails miserably due to its half-baked AI, hollow locales, and improper use of horror elements.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.