Opinion: Silent Hills P.T. Is A Different Breed Of Horror
I stood in the long, dimly lit hallway, frantically looking around with my heart beating on edge. I kept telling myself that I’ve done this before, and can do so again. Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple… Just recently I had come across horrible crying, a sound that had taken hold of my curiosity. As I approached the entrance to the pitch dark, and blood splattered toilet, the sound started getting louder and more painful. Then all of a sudden, there she was. Standing there, violently jerking, with her long dark hair flowing hauntingly. I mustered up my courage and tried to approach her, but before I could she rushed towards me and disappeared. My heart skipped a beat, but then calmly started relaxing as the crying faded away, signalling to my brain that I was safe for now, or I wish I was.
During that “supposed” moment of serenity, I decided that it would be best to continue with my quest to solve this chillingly frustrating puzzle. But, before I could focus on that, I started hearing heavy breathing. Then, whenever I walked I could hear another set of feet dragging alongside mine. I started panicking, looked behind hoping no one was behind me. I decided to walk back to the starting door which has a strong lamp nearby, casting shadows, to see if I could make it stop that way, but I couldn’t. When I was about to return though, something I saw sent a shiver down my spine. There, in front of me… illuminated by the hallway lamp behind me was a shadow. It was jerking, it wasn’t mine… I was possessed! Just moments before, the house had thrown what appeared to be a fridge hanging from a ceiling. It was dripping blood, and something inside was violently smashing around, causing it to spin around frantically. A blood curdling baby’s cry could be heard from it.
Coming back to me standing in the hallway, I knew that after showing me all these horrible things… the house wasn’t done with me, and it was best for me to be cautious.
Cleverly titled P.T. – It was recently revealed that it stood for Playable Teaser, one for Silent Hills (the S is plural) made by Kojima, Guillermo Del Toro and starring Norman Reedus aka Daryl from the TV series The Walking Dead. Now, Richard and Me have both been going batshit crazy over this and there are damn good reasons. First of all, we have Del Toro working on it and Del Toro is the master of freaking people out psychologically, which is what Silent Hill is all about. Not to mention his creature designs are scary awesome. You really feel Del Toro’s twisted version of horror in P.T., and I am more than sure that this will be brought forward to the final game as well.
Secondly, Kojima is a master at using gameplay mechanics to screw with you. He has a good understanding of what we are comfortable with when it comes to the standard game mechanics, and likes to twist them around, kicking us right in the stomach. Silent Hill needs more of that, some of Hideo’s mad genius.
Lastly, these guys? They were confident alright, and instead of going, hey guys we are making a new Silent Hill game and here is some info about it, they went, “Hm, let’s fuck with these guys, and show them just what we are bringing to the spotlight.” BY ACTUALLY LETTING YOU PLAY THE GAME! (More devs need to screw with us this way).
Coming back to the demo. The reason I said that it is a “different” breed of horror is because I have never played a game scary that has made me put down the controller and stop playing, and I’ve played some scary shit over the years. However everything about this demo, from pacing to the audio/visual builds up is so carefully constructed to nerve wreck you. In fact it reminds me of the movie, Room 1408, so much so that I think P.T. might be a bit inspired by it somewhat. That movie really got me tense, and if you guys haven’t watched it, you really should.
The pacing as I mentioned, is absolutely amazing in this. Even though each time you pass through the door, you are expecting crazy things to happen, and when nothing is happening, you still will get scared waiting for something to happen. And let me tell you that not everyone can manage to create horror like that, you need that special timid mind; One that Del Toro has, and I am sure that the pacing is entirely his doing. The game is also subtle with the jump scares, and instead loves to get you unsettled with graphic imagery and disturbing sound effects.
Another aspect that I loved in this demo is how beautiful the demo looks. It would be an understatement to call it stunning. What is more surprising is that Kojima has said that during a Q & A with fans after the Metal Gear Solid special event at Gamescom, that he purposefully had it downgraded the demo in order for it to feel like an indie effort. I am guessing that means not only in relation to the visuals, but also the mechanics. In the final game, there will possibly be more animations, such as you picking items in the final game with an interaction button, whenever it takes on the First Person form.
Furthermore, if the demo is any indication, the final game will have a very powerful story-telling technique, that makes proper use of the visual ability afforded by videogames/movies. In my opinion, both Del Toro and Kojima understand that showing is better than telling at times (hence the Playable Teaser). We don’t know much more about what the game’s story will entail, but it should be promising.
Finally, for the last puzzle, everyone has been scratching their heads trying to make sense of it. It isn’t that they haven’t completed it, but the way it is being done seems very random, and at times it doesn’t make sense why it works that way. For example I had to not only zoom in on a few things, but also had to talk into the microphone to trigger the infamous “you’ve been chosen” phone call. Kojima expected gamers to take at least a week to solve this, and was very surprised when this game was instead, solved in a mere couple of hours soon after release.
For the final version Kojima hopes to scare the shit out of players, and isn’t worried that we may turn off the game when we get too scared. I will be honest with you, the game is so scary that I turned it off a multiple number of times, especially when it came to the “I said, look behind you!” part. However, the game is made so interestingly good, that I just had to jump back in to finish it, even though I knew exactly what the ending would entail.
I truly can’t wait for the next Silent Hill to come out, and am very happy and excited that a lot more new people are jumping in, showing love for Silent Hill. This will give this series the coming back vigor we need and have longed for.
Stay tuned to Push-Start as me and Richard will be relentlessly covering the game till release, as we are crazy that way. Anyways, if you have a PS4, get some medical insurance and play the game. Oh and just in case, have the local emergency authority on speed dial. Good luck, because you’re gonna need it.