By Sam Desatoff and Matthew Criswell
During Gamescom in Germany this past August, Sony announced a new horror game called P.T. In a surprise move during the announcement, Sony also revealed that the game was free and available to play immediately on the PlayStation 4.
Developed by the mysterious 7780s Studio, P.T., it turns out, is actually a “playable teaser” for the next Silent Hill game. Titled “Silent Hills,” the game is being produced by Hideo Kojima of Metal Gear Solid fame and director Guillermo del Toro and will star Norman Reedus.
Although it was released in August, with Halloween just around the corner we decided to boot the game up, and it turns out that it’s absolutely terrifying.
The game begins when your character awakes in a filthy but plain room. Exiting through the only door takes you into the hallway of a home. The radio broadcasts a news story about a man that murdered his pregnant and their young daughter. Pictures depicting a happy family line the walls and jewelry and candy is loosely tossed on the foyer tables. Turning the only corner in the hall reveals an entryway and another door further down. All in all, the hallway is fairly nondescript. Everything seems normal until you enter into the door at the end of the hall…and wind up back the start.
The entire game takes place in this one hallway, but the amount of tension squeezed into it is very impressive. Each loop brings brings changes – some subtle, some not so subtle.
It turns out that ghost the murdered woman is haunting the home and is hell-bent on making your visit as nightmarish as possible. Through a series of increasingly unsettling haunts that we won’t spoil here, P.T. elicits genuine terror. Much of this terror comes from the single right turn in the hall. Early on, you are taught that anything could be hiding just around the corner. From then on each approach was met with hesitation.
The way the game plays on expectations is a great example of psychological horror as well. Horror works best when the audience has no idea what to expect, and the combination of jump scares and psychological horror work well together to strike a terrifying balance.
P.T. is the perfect way to spend a Halloween night with your friends. The vibe we got was akin to watching a good horror movie, and this game can be finished in less time than it takes to watch Alien. We found ourselves yelling at the screen and speculating what was next going to be around the corner. So this Halloween, we recommend that you gather everyone around the TV, dim the lights, give one brave soul the controller, and enjoy the ride.