P.T.: A HALLOWEEN (P)REVIEW.
When the interactive teaser for horror game P.T. was announced for immediate download at Sony’s E3 press conference (the Electronic Entertainment Expo for those not in the know), few paid attention. Its announcement was somewhat lost amidst the showing of high-budget triple-As (looking at you, Far Cry 4 and Bloodborne), unique indie titles (No Man’s Sky was a particular standout), and familiar fan favourites (Uncharted 4 and Little Big Planet 3).
I must be forgiven then for never having paid much attention to the demo myself, especially as I’m not much a horror fan. However I have realised what many gamers before me soon understood: I was entirely wrong to dismiss this seemingly passing announcement.
I admit; I am belated in my experience of P.T., having only just completed its 30-minute interactive experience in the past week. Yet, this short lived game demo (which ultimately became a feature-length fright fest due to my inability to carry on) is truly terrifying.
Tasking you with following an endless loop of the same repeated corridor, the game itself wouldn’t appear to be the stuff of nightmares on the surface. Account in some fantastically creepy exposition concerning a father brutally murdering his family, some truly novel atmospheric effects, fantastic sound design, and you have one of the most oppressive gaming environments of recent years. The combination of the overwhelmingly simple (some might say mundane) gameplay, with these aforementioned elements becomes a master class in physiological horror gaming.
That’s not forgetting your constant companion, Lisa:
It’s a testament to this game that even my three housemates—one of whom is a self-confessed horror fan— who simply watched the events unfold, were equally as tense and terrified as I ashamedly was. The game’s infuriating puzzles too, which stumped us all, pushed each of us further into our own psychological mess. Why am I whispering the letter J to advance? What’s up with that cockroach?!—all questions we posed ourselves, between squealing with terror at a foetus’s sinister giggles.
After such a harrowing experience, the biggest shock of all: this is a Silent Hill game. Not only this, but a Silent Hill game headed by the video game auteur Hideo Kojima (of the acclaimed Metal Gear series) and admired director Guillermo del Toro. Perhaps the class of even this slight presentation of the game is understandable then. What remains to be seen is how well the final product of Silent Hill will be, but if this short slice is anything to go by, and with the star-power of The Walking Dead favourite Norman Reedus on acting duties, this could be the definitive horror experience.