Silent Hills Playable Teaser Review

This past week, Hideo Kojima, mastermind behind the Metal Gear franchise ,along with hollywood director Guillermo Del Toro, released a small indie game called PT. This later turned out to be a disguise for the new Silent Hill game, Silent Hills. Kojima hoped to both surprise and terrify players, giving them a glimpse of what is to come in 2015.  Being a big fan of the original Silent Hill, I was anxious to see how Kojima and Del Toro would put a spin on this classic  horror game.

Our story begins with our protagonist, later revealed to be Norman Reedus from the hit show Walking Dead and the movie Boondock Saints 1999, alone in a gray vacant room. Upon leaving the room the player finds themselves in an L-shaped corridor. The corridor contains numerous picture frames and objects the player can “interact with”. Going down the corridor the player is forced to make a right.   Immediately to the right there’s a creepy rustic bathroom and a foreboding basement straight ahead. Taking the basement will send the player through a loop, placing them back at the  beginning of the corridor.

The mission objective is to explore the numerous creepy objects laden throughout the  claustrophobic corridor. If done correctly the player is rewarded with a way out and a teaser for Silent Hills. Of course, as you do so, disturbing and  terrifying things happen. Without spoiling too much, some of these include: disembodied voices, baby laughter, sudden slams, ghostly apparitions, undead fetuses and more.

As you play the game, you can definitely tell Kojima took some lessons from popular indie horror hits such as Slender, Amesia: The Dark Decent, and Outlast. The player has no real means of defending himself should anything pop out. In fact the player has no real means of interaction aside from pressing the right stick down to zoom in and occasionally pressing X.  This proved frustrating when trying to figure out what I was supposed to do, and the random pop out scares did not help.

The game builds great atmosphere though. The cramped spaces and alternating mood lighting kept me on my toes. Not to mention the environment occasionally shifting and alternating, moving objects, and strange writing and pictures appearing, and the screen warping. This proved especially troubling as I played alone in the dark.  And when something did happen I felt unable to escape; Helpless prey to the supernatural evils surrounding me.

However I found that as my frustration grew with being unable to solve certain puzzles, the scares became less intense. You almost want the scares to happen just so you can shake the monotony of being hopelessly lost. The most notably annoying is the final puzzle, as you must look at several objects and pictures in a certain order to activate a phone call.  The final puzzle took the better part of two hours because every time one of the apparitions got me the puzzle would reset and change! By the end of the game I was just happy to be done with it rather than seeing the new trailer.

In the end, PT was a nice taste of the atmosphere Kojima and Del Toro hoped to build. I look forward to exploring more of this world, providing the puzzles and random encounters prove less frustrating, and interactions much easier. Given Kojima’s track record and Del Toro’s love of the horror genre I think we are in good hands. For more news and reviews on games, pop culture, movies stay tuned to Utlness.

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