Developer: Kojima Productions
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Release date: 12/08/2014
It’s approximately 11:30 pm, your family have all retired to bed, safe under their duvets, content and at peace. You turn the lights off, put on your headphones and snuggle down into the welcoming arms of your favourite chair. It’s just a game, you hear yourself saying as you boot P.T. for the very first time, how scary can it be ?
Waking in a dark uninhabited room, you stand on the cold and unwelcoming concrete floor, there is a light in the distance. You hear the feint buzzing of the florescent light as it flickers above a dark wooden door, there is nowhere else to go. To escape this lonely place the only way is forward. Blinded by the light, you begin to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. You’re in a hallway of someone’s home, is this your home? There is no way to be sure. A radio crackles in the distance. From it, a news report murmurs about a man driven insane who slaughters his entire family. Is this his home? Am I that man?
Moving down the corridor you notice the first signs of life. There is a sideboard, garnished with family photographs, you peer through the adjacent window, looking for any indication of where you might be, but nothing, it’s as though the darkness has swallowed the world. As the hallway turns to the right, you press on. Rubbish has been left to accumulate, wine bottles, half eaten food, medication have all been left behind. What happened here? There is a door to your right, the handle rattles as you try to open it, it won’t budge. Carrying on further down the hallway there’s an open door which leads to a dimly lit staircase. There is nowhere else to go but down. With a sharp intake of breath, you grasp the handle, eyes closed, you slowly push the door open. Time stands still as you ponder… what is waiting for you on the other side?
You’re back in what seems the beginning of the passageway, an overwhelming sense of unease grips you, you turn and try to escape. The door won’t open. You must venture forward. Carrying on nothing seems to have changed, everything is as it was, you turn right once again, this time the door to the stairwell is closed, you try the handle, nothing. Suddenly there is a loud noise behind you, you turn quickly. One of doors begins to rattle and shake, the handle twists uncontrollably, something is trying to get out. The door to the stairwell is now open, rushing down the stairs you burst through the door, desperately trying to escape from whatever is trying to break free. You’re back in the hallway, will you dare to carry on ?
P.T. or Playable Teaser, was released earlier this week by 7780s Studio and is free to play from the PSN store. Heralded as an interactive tech demo, fans of the horror genre were encouraged to give it a try. What we now know is that 7708s Studio is fake and that P.T. is a preview of a new entry in the Silent Hill franchise. Hideo Kojima, of Metal Gear Solid fame, has teamed up with movie director Guillermo del Toro, who brought Hellboy and Pans Labyrinth to the big screen, to bring us ‘Silent Hills’. Which will star actor Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl Dixon in ‘The Walking Dead’ TV series, as the main protagonist. After spending a couple of hours with P.T., Silent Hills could be something rather special. It may finally be the horror game console gamers have been craving.
Viewed entirely from a first person perspective, P.T. manages to create an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia, the slow pace with which your character walks only increases the tension. Interactivity is kept to a minimum, many times you will be mashing the controller, desperately trying to progress and nothing will happen. Clicking the right stick will focus your attention and the screen will zoom into the area you are facing, as if you’re squinting, trying frantically to spot the next clue. Whilst this may sound frustrating, it is handled in such a creative way that it only increases the feeling of dread and isolation.
By all accounts, the graphics for this tech demo were scaled down and limited to 30 fps to ensure it was given an ‘independent feel’. If this is true, we can look forward to Silent Hills looking quite spectacular. The world of P.T. looks astonishing, at times almost photo realistic. The atmosphere is genuinely unnerving and it truly is one of the most terrifying games I have ever experienced. If you are a fan of the horror genre, this comes highly recommended, but be warned this is not for those of a nervous disposition. I look forward, somewhat hesitantly, to the release of Silent Hills.
Writer – MrBadDog