Posts Tagged ‘PT

03
May
15

Going out on a high note

Silent Hills

Silent Hills is no more.  Or, depending on who you ask, it never was.  But we had P.T. (playable teaser) and it captured a great deal of attention and imagination in trying to solve the game’s puzzles.  Learning that was part of something bigger was exciting.  Who knows if it could have delivered on the promise of P.T. though.  I like to believe that the Kojima, del Toro, and Reedus team could have pulled off something great.  Though its difficult to imagine how even Kojima could have pulled Silent Hill back on its feet and revive the series.

Konami has now assured us that the project is off and the team has been cast adrift.  It’s the latest in a series of console gaming setbacks for the company.  They’ve promised more Silent Hill, but at this point I say it’s time to let the series go out on a high note.  Konami has been a rudderless vessel for the series which has experienced some prominent miss-steps in recent years.  Most of them during the “Month of Madness” in 2012.  One could only conclude that these were games that were being neglected and mishandled.  It’s truly baffling.

I can only speculate at how P.T. came together to produce such a confident experience and offer such a promising return for Silent Hill.  Kojima has expressed interest in working on Silent Hill in the past, and del Toro is well known to have an affinity for games, and desire to participate in their production.  But Kojima is on the way out the door from Konami in a situation where neither party has volunteered to explain what exactly is happening.  Regardless of this, P.T. succeeded in reminding folks what it meant to be sincerely made afraid by a video game.  It offered a glimpse of what a new generation of survival horror games might be, and showed us just how affective the gaming medium could be.

I hope P.T. can be the end for the Silent Hill series, rather than dragging it on for no benefit other than something for Konami to cash in on.  Leave that world in a moment pointing forward, instead of fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out where everything went wrong.

27
Dec
14

PT

pt

Happy holidays! Hopefully you’ve had a pleasant Christmas.  Seeing nice people, eating good food, and relaxing.  What have I been up to? Mainly, I’ve been playing an upsetting combination of Alien: Isolation, LISA, and PT.  It’s nice to have a current generation console again, but even just waiting a year after their release, I have a tidy backlog of games to play through.  PT almost fell off my radar entirely, being so limited in scope.  Since it’s release, it’s been revealed to be a teaser for a possible entry in the Silent Hill franchise, being headlined by Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro, and Norman Reedus.  It’s an exciting line-up of talent, but it’s still worth lingering on what PT accomplished as a self-contained piece of work.

I’ve yet to complete the game myself.  I’ve reached the final “puzzle,” which appears to be open to debate in how it is solved.  PT is not a game that can be completed on one’s own.  There are too many hidden details that the player would have to spend an inordinate amount of time to solve. It’s not impossible, but I have a hard time picturing the person who would solve on their own.  And while you will need to collaborate with other players, this only ends up reinforcing how alone you are when you play it yourself.  There are still problems that have not been entirely solved – you cannot rest easy knowing that you can just look up a guide when things get to be too intense.  It’s quite a wonderful accomplishment for a game of this scope and scale.

PT succeeds in creating tension between anticipation and confrontation.  Here, it is polished to a mirror sheen.  In much of survival horror, you have plenty of confrontation, which is amplified through use of spectacle (see Resident Evil 6.)  Anticipation is built in knowing something is coming, but not know what it is and when it will happen.  Your mind will be sent into overdrive in trying to prepare for the possibilities.  But when it’s left ambiguous enough, your mind will race ceaselessly, leaving you as a human pile of anxiety waiting to spill over into panic.  A game like Resident Evil 6 conditions you to always expect the confrontation, and leaves little room for your mind to race.  Instead, it tries to make the confrontations bigger, in the hopes that maybe doubling down on what might have once been a frightening idea will somehow make it more overwhelming.  But if you understand the trick that’s being used, then it doesn’t matter how big you make the confrontation.

PT offers you a drip feed of awful things to contemplate and leaves your origin and motivation entirely open-ended.  You will spin your mind trying to figure out exactly what it is and what you’re doing.  When PT does decide to pull the trigger on confrontation, it is incredibly effective.  And being such a small-scale game, it did not have to justify its existence with a great deal of marketing, signaling what you should expect so that you know what you’re buying (PT is free after all.)  It’s difficult to speculate as to whether or not PT translates to a full-fledged game – which will require a great deal of marketing and signaling.  But PT does tell us that those at the creative helm of the game have an aptitude for creating frightening experiences, and may have what it takes to put the Silent Hill series back on the same level as its earlier entries.




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