The Slender-made formula of the White Noise series is at its best when it redesigns it predecessors. White Noise Online rejuvenated the horror and appeal of the original with a four-player co-op experience. White Noise 2, Milkstone Studios’s latest adventure in terror, aims to offer a fresh experience by adding a competitive spark to its multiplayer options. For the first time in the series, players can take on the role of the creature as they hunt down meddlesome investigators. This sequel’s success lies in its ability to provide new experiences for fans. Unfortunately, that novelty is not enough to make White Noise 2 a memorable part of the horror genre.
White Noise 2 pits a group of up to four investigators against one creature. The investigators must avoid being caught by the creature while searching for eight audio tapes. It’s a simple horror recipe that can create a lot of nail-biting moments. This game’s monster is vulnerable to light and can be teleported away from the group if exposed for long enough. Fortunate enough, these investigators carry light sticks and flashlights on their quest. Players who succumb to the creature’s attacks return as ghosts who can lead their teams to objectives.
The cooperative play of White Noise 2 is based on player customization and teamwork. After leveling up, players unlock new skins, flashlights, and characters. Each character has a list of stats that affect performance in traits like speed, stealth, and endurance. These stats are influenced by a player’s choice of flashlight, which also possess their own stats. At its simplest, customizing a character is a matter of style preference. When players consider more complex strategies, though, this becomes a tactical game of selecting characters and flashlights that work well together. Does your team want to run through the map as quickly as possible? Will you choose to face the creature head-on? Are you relying on flashlights with long battery lives? The choices players make in White Noise 2 can make dynamic scenarios and playstyles.
Ultimately, this item hunt turns into more of a chore than a mysterious journey. The suspense of running into the creature disappears after a few encounters. Once players become more familiar with their surroundings, fear for the unknown becomes a rare find as well. There isn’t much substance in White Noise 2‘s thin premise. The game lacks any form of proper narrative, making almost no attempt to explain its world. There truly is no reason to care about the game’s conflict or its characters. Why do the investigators need to gather tapes to banish the creature? How did these people end up together? How do they interact with each other? Characters don’t exchange meaningful banter or any banter for that matter. Collected tapes reveal no information. Though genuinely creepy, environments do nothing more than host the chase. There are too many opportunities for exposition that White Noise 2 misses.
A main appeal of White Noise 2 is the ability to become the enigmatic creature from past games. Playing as this monster makes for a dynamic change in tone. Instead of feeling the claustrophobic terror of being a target, this role creates a sense of power and mischief. The creature’s goal is to stalk each investigator in an attempt to devour them. However, creatures have to move stealthily, as exposure to light can expose and banish them. The creature can also sabotage investigators by using different abilities and traps to confuse them. Building different attack strategies becomes a tense adventure of its own.
But it won’t be long before each creature’s power becomes stale. Unlike the options available to investigators, customization choices are limited. The only true customization options for creatures are a short list of cosmetic skins. As of the publication of this article, there are only three creatures to pick from. Moreover, two of these choices (Olkoth and Subject 23) share a skill-set, playing like different skins for the same creature. Without any way to influence the creatures’ attributes or skills, playing this role soon becomes a cycle of tiring your opponents with repetitive harassment.
White Noise 2‘s atmospheric horror is consistent and diverse. Each map’s scenery is morbid and eerie enough to create panic. Apart from the clapping of thunder, the only sounds that fill these spaces are the actions of wandering investigators and nearby creatures. These environments are contrasted by cartoonish, and often comical, character models. Though this comparison between setting and characters is noticeable, the overall presentation is an attractive scene of horror. The majority of White Noise 2‘s three maps are large, open outdoor venues with plenty of walking room. These cemeteries and grasslands also contain a number of enclosed spaces to include a sense of entrapment. This blended map design plays well with the game’s tools for escaping and confusing other players. It’s only exclusively indoor map (St. John’s Hospital) balances a lack of space by creating a maze of confusing hallways and corridors.
Although White Noise 2 is successful at building an enjoyable multiplayer experience, the absence of a sensible plot leaves much to be desired for an early access game. With a low creature count and repetitive gameplay, White Noise 2 fails to make a significant impression when compared to other cooperative horror titles. Of course, this is a sequel that manages to still redefine its series with new features. Even if short-lasting, White Noise 2 is an entertaining bundle of shocks and suspense.