P.T. AKA Silent Hills demo/trailer/teaser impressions and rantings.
I had something else written, but its not every day you hear that the mad genius of gaming and that kooky but weird filmmaker are teaming up to scare the shit out of you. So, with the news and interest high, I decided to check out P.T. But first, a little bit of context.
At Gamescom this year, one of the more… questionable announcements was of a game only going by P.T, which was available now only on the PS4, by a unknown company known as 7780s studio. But it didn’t take long for gamers to unveil what the announcement was really about. It was not by some unkown company, but rather it was a teaser/ trailer for the next Silent Hill game, directed by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, using the shiny and new Fox engine and starring Norman Reedus aka. that cool guy with a crossbow from The walking dead. I say found because while Gamescom was happening, a streamer playing PT actually finished it, and when it was revealed that Hideo’s name was on it, he was asked about it at Gamescom. Apparently, he had expected gamers to collaborate and it would take upwards of a week to finish as he and his team made the final puzzle difficult. That was not the case. And of course, the internet exploded with interest at this topic, which made me think to try it out for myself.
I should explain that I wasn’t sure if I could write about this, and I still hesitate to do so. Because… you need to play this game/trailer to really understand it. It’s not something that can be easily grasped from reading about it. If you don’t own a PS4, a LP of the game is the way to go. But, I will talk about it, because I wish to rant about it for a bit.( That, and I think Mr. Kojima owes me a new pair of pants)
The premise is actually very simple. In a first person view, you find yourself trapped in forever looping hallway. There are doors, but only a few open, and the ones that do loop you right to where you started. You don’t know whats going on, who’s house your in, or what you did to deserve this creepy fate. And it is creepy, Low flickering lights, weird noises, static in the radio with talk of murders going on, yeah, its spooky. And as you poke around, you begin to realize your not alone. Not one bit. And naturally, when you find yourself in a spooky place, you want to get out as fast as possible, so you begin to poke around and try to get out. But, seeing as you know this is related to Silent Hill, if you know anything about the franchise, you know that Silent Hill is never easy to escape from.(The house may also be unsanitary. It’s tough to tell)
Now, the first thing I want to point out is that I know what your thinking, and I can safely say no, this games modus operandi when it comes to scares is not to jump out at you… most of the time. It does use them unfortunately, but, they did make me jump. But the games mood really sells it, and makes it far creepier than just some standard jump scare. The game is paced just right so that it feels a little creepy at first, and slowly lowers you into this bucket of tension and worry. It wants to you feel confused and scared, and it does that very well. I would rather do without the jump scares, but it doesn’t rely on them solely to make you scared, which is more than I can say for many horror films, so it has a leg up. The further you go in while trying to find your escape, the more tense it becomes, and the more nightmarish it feels. It’s paced perfectly, and the mood alone makes it worth your time. It’s a perfect fit for a silent hill title, and while its only a trailer/ teaser, it doesn’t feel at odds with the franchise it’s based on. It makes you uncomfortable in just the way you want to be, and could be a good indicator of what we will see in the future.
There is however a caveat to that statement, and one that I feel needs addressing. I mentioned earlier that Hideo expected it to take some time to uncover the mystery, but was let down by the fact it was discovered within a day. Here’s why I bring that up. I should mention that I have been trying to beat this trailer/ teaser for about 4 days now, with no luck. The people that have beaten it are not entirely sure how they beat it, as not every guide seems to work for every person. We know what we need to do, but internet is collectively stumped as to how we are to do it. It’s infuriating. I understand that many people will look at it and say, well its on the internet, so go watch it. But, as a gamer, I have trouble admitting that anything beats me. I’m stubborn like that. Silent Hill games in the early days were known to have fiendish puzzles, but at least once you beat it, you had on idea of how you did it, and how the clues applied. P.T doesn’t want to do that.
The clues in the teaser are deliberately misleading, as is Hideo, who is telling players things that don’t necessarily mean anything to beat it. Hideo is well known as a troll , doing loads of things in his games that don’t mean anything, but P.T is loaded with crap like that, and its hard to tell if anything actually means anything at all, because even if you somehow beat it, its not clear how you did it. Now you would think that being a PS4 exclusive, it might have something to do with the trackpad that controller comes with. As of this writing, you would be wrong, and it doesn’t seem to mean anything. The most common theory (That didn’t work for me, but has worked for others) is you need to use the a microphone and talk to the ghost. But, as noted, that hasn’t worked for many people, and seeing a the Xbone comes with Kinect (or used to) you would think the microphone requirement would be a given for both sides. So what is the secret? Again, I have no idea, and I don’t think actually finishing it would give me any sort of clue. I truly think the game is something of an insanity test, where sometimes things work, and other times they don’t, and your expected to try them all anyway hoping that something different happens, and if you get the ending or not is randomized. I cannot decide if that’s ingenious on the part of Kojima/ del Toro, or if that’s just a horrible way to market your product. It seems fitting to me, as Silent Hill in the context of the games tends to be a grand form of punishment of some kind, a kind of purgatory that traps you in with your sins, toying with you mostly because it can. It gives a great setup in context, and diehards will flock to it regardless, but the frustration from not finishing the teaser may put off a more casual fan base. To be honest, if I didn’t know already who was behind this game, it would have put me off too. It drives you mad trying to figure out why this is happening, what your doing wrong, why can’t you get past this, much in the way the madness would afflict the person in the game. It truly puts you in the role. Why this is not on the Rift is beyond me.(I’ve run out of clever things to say. So here’s a bag. It talks)
I am curious as to what Kojima and del Toro can do with the franchise, as Kojima has mentioned for years now he would like to work on a Silent Hill game, and that he was done with MGS. I think in the goods hands its in, we got a chance at having a wicked game and a great return to form for the franchise, which has been on the decline since the switchover to American developers who have missed the point of Silent Hill. But personally, I find the teaser to be maddening to try and figure out, and for the sake of my sanity, I had to stop. I can’t tell what is foreshadowing for the future in it, if Hideo is just messing with me, or just my own over analysis spilling out. I give the teaser points, its scary, and a little worrisome when even the mighty internet can’t help you figure it out. Hopefully, they can transfer that into Silent HIlls. As I mentioned, you need to check this out however you can. Just… you may want to keep the lights on.