Kojima’s ‘P.T.’ is More Advertising Gimmick Than Good Horror Game
This area goes beyond mystery into tedium. There’s a photo on the wall that’s torn, and slowly you can find the pieces that go with it. There are hidden messages. There are spoken numbers that suggest some other alternate reality game elements. There are a lot of obscure, deep details, and how they work together isn’t necessarily clear.
I watched our Mitchell Saltzman struggle to solve the game for hours on the GameFront Twitch Stream, to no avail. Just wandering around over and over again, looking at stuff. And in his spending so much time there (and when I did the same myself the night before), the smoke and mirrors of the teaser quickly became apparent. Every minute or two, the creepy breathing. Every so often, the ghost appears. The scares recycle. It stops being scary.
Trapping your players in your game for so long that it loses all effectiveness takes P.T. from being a clever way to announce a game to an annoying, badly designed experience. And the ostensible purpose for making it so hard to divine is to get people talking, streaming, sharing — advertising. It’s another free-attention gimmick orchestrated by Kojima, just like Joakim Mogren and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Any players who spend time in the indie horror scene will find P.T. to be a fairly weak imitator at best, especially in these waning moments of the teaser. It’s Slender-esque, and other games have done that better (to death). First-person horror games with jump scares are a dime a dozen, and it’s surprising to me so many people are finding it so scary. Go play Kraven Manor (here, a demo). Hell, go play Daylight — it has more jump scared in the exact same vein, and its dialogue and story are of about the same quality as P.T.
Having spoken with other people a few times on P.T., who are decidedly more positive on it, I’ve tried to draw back my cynical ire about the teaser. It is free, and it is clever (up to a point). And it seems to at least suggest a little bit of Silent Hills’ backstory, even if the teaser explicitly says it isn’t necessarily anything like what the actual game itself will be.
But I still feel like P.T. is an effort to manipulate an excited community into doing free advertising legwork. It’s not a particularly good horror game, nor is it, by its own admission, a useful look at Silent Hills.