Beware: Spooky spoilers for P.T. follow. If you have not played P.T. and plan to, do not read this until you’ve played it.
I’m not a huge fan of horror games. I don’t get spooked easily by movies and most games that claim to be scary fail to make me jump. I decided to give P.T. a try and see if a game could finally scare me. It scared the hell out of me.
P.T. places you in a hallway with little context and no instructions on what to do. The doors rattle, the ceiling light creaks as it sways, and lightening flashes outside the rain soaked windows. The sound design sent chills down my spine.
The best part of P.T. is the way it uses repetition to terrify. The hallway is mainly the same each time you walk through to the door at the bottom of the stairs. The slight differences in lighting and sound are disturbing. The change is truly terrifying when it is in small increments. My brain was screaming “This isn’t right!” when I noticed letters disappeared and reappeared on the wall.
The bathroom jump scare got me. The most terrifying moment was when I randomly turned around and the ghoul was in my face. The reason this game scared me more than any movie has, is that I had control over my actions. I had to make the decision to turn around. I found myself debating whether I actually wanted to continue down the hall or quit. I’m glad I decided to continue on, but I did end up quitting before finishing the demo.
The game reaches a point where it creates artificial screen tearing and gives one of several crash messages, making it seem like the game is broken. The game then restarts with the player getting up from the floor. I did not notice that the cockroaches were gone. I thought the game was actually broken and I quit playing.
P.T. is actually a Playable Teaser for the next Silent Hill game. This is only revealed if you mange to jump through hoops that are invisible without the help of a wiki guide. The game ends with a short trailer for Silent Hills. In order to get there, you must find all of the little pieces of a ripped photo. Then you must follow specific actions to end the game and start the trailer.
This frustrated me. I just kept running in circles hoping something would happen after I found all the pieces of the photo. I also ended up getting stuck in the red endless hallway since I did not notice the small hole in the wall to look into the bathroom. I spent 10-20 minutes running in circles before calling it quits.
The first 10 minutes of the game were terrifying, but then it just became frustrating. I spent too much time fighting to find what to do next that the creepy soundtrack and lighting lost its impact on me.
If Silent Hills manages to stick with the intuitive gameplay shown in the first 15 minutes of the demo, it will be a truly terrifying experience.