P.T. is the Scariest Thing That's Ever Happened
Full disclosure for this article, there will be spoilers. I will do my best to avoid the major ones such as puzzle piece locations, so if you don't want the demo spoiled stop reading this now, go download it and come back when you're done playing.
I fired up P.T. fully aware that it was a viral marketing campaign for the new Silent Hill game. I was also aware that Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro were the creators of said new game, thus going in I was expecting P.T. to be creepy as all hell. It did not disappoint.
P.T. is played in the first person perspective, no idea if they're going to be using this perspective for the full retail release of Silent Hill, but I hope they do. Leaving behind Silent Hill's traditional third person camera in favor for the first person view adds to the feeling of danger since you can't cheat and use the camera to check behind you and around corners.
The entire game is played out in a continuously looping, "L" shaped hallway. When you reach the end of the hallway and open the door, you will simply be brought back to the beginning of the hall. The game's small space could get boring fast, but ingenious puzzles, a haunting sound design and the ever-present danger of being locked in a tiny room with a ghost work together to keep things fresh.
During the course of P.T. you're tasked with finding hidden objects to solve puzzles and move on with the story. Once you've solved one puzzle you start over at the beginning of the hallway, but this time something in the environment has changed.
Sometimes it's a small difference like the lighting being red instead of its normal color, but other times the changes are more dramatic and can include anything from an aborted fetus being in a bathroom sink, to a bloody refrigerator hanging from the ceiling.
The most memorable puzzle involved finding an incomplete sentence written on the wall and then having to walk back down towards the phone to see the word, "Hello" written on the wall next to it. After looking at "Hello" you head back down to the incomplete sentence and notice that the letter "H" has appeared at the end. The more you go back and forth between the two, the more the incomplete sentence gets filled out.
This is all well and fine, except there's a terrifying ghost at the end of the hall over by the word, "Hello", making its way towards you. This put me in the difficult position of having to make the decision on whether or not it was worth my life to solve the puzzle. After a few failed attempts to build up my courage I eventually clenched my controller tight and forced myself down the hallway towards the ghost that was drawing ever closer.
This and a few other truly horrible moments had me literally jumping with fright while I was playing.
P.T. is masterfully crafted to force the player against their natural instinct and make them get close to the thing they should be running from in order to progress. I was playing in well-lit room filled with four of my friends and I still couldn't help but run in the opposite direction of where I knew I was supposed to go out of fear.
P.T. uses its claustrophobic quarters to add to the horror as well. After a while the feeling of being trapped in that "L" shaped hallway begins to wear on your psyche. Every strange noise becomes a threat hiding in the shadows, waiting to jump out at you.
My time with P.T. left me feeling thoroughly impressed. The game featured a stunning graphical fidelity complimented by a deeply disturbing environment with some of the most mind bending puzzles I've encountered. If P.T. is any sign of where Silent Hill is headed, then this franchise will have a very bright future.
Kojima and del Torro are diabolical masters of horror, you owe it to yourself to play P.T. I don't think I've ever been more impressed or scared by a survival horror game and this was just a demo.