Feature: P.T.

P.T.

P.T. – please phone home…

Playable Teaser. An exciting new feature of gaming, P.T. is a hair-raising, interactive demo revealed this week to be the embryonic stages of a classic horror franchise. Turn up your headphones, and turn down the lights. This is Silent Hill(s).

Produced Together by Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro, the creators of Metal Gear and the dark fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth, this hellish nightmare is the spawn of a match made in heaven. And with The Walking Dead’s Norman ‘Daryl Dixon’ Reedus in tow as the supposed protagonist, it is a promising project indeed. Although the extent of Kojima’s direct involvement with Silent Hills is currently as foggy as the eponymous town, this short sampler uses ingredients worthy of his most signature dish. Particularly a fourth wall-shattering puzzle element which would not be amiss in the first Metal Gear Solid – a real codec moment of sorts.

Positively Traumatic, this teaser reasserts a notion thought by many: video games are the true medium of the horror genre. The game leaps seamlessly between subtle sounds and full-frontal terror; it is a wholly consuming force and the player is imprisoned in the driving seat. This is acute psychological warfare and a fine example of inescapable escapism, all contained within a simple ‘L’ shaped corridor. With a bathroom that is guaranteed to give you that sink-in feeling, to a ghostly wail which soon materialises, this certainly isn’t a case of ‘Who Ya Gonna Call?’.

Perpetually Terrifying: from a creepy inception to the heart-pounding denouement (or the lack of, for many people. Seriously, why won’t the damn phone ring?!), P.T. exerts a literal spectrum of lighting and noises which will rattle even the most stoic of gamers. Of course, when the constant perturbation becomes too much, it is incredibly satisfying to ‘nope’ your way back to that soothing Playstation 4 dashboard music at the push of a button. Ahh…

Potentially Terrific, what remains to be seen is to what extent this is a bona fide tech demo, or merely an ingenious marketing ploy. The sheer immersion created from a simple first-person perspective would be a welcome feature in the final product, and the success of cult favourites Outlast and Amnesia: The Dark Descent suggest this is the perfect perspective for survival horror. Of course, the third-person staple of the series will be beckoning, but Silent Hills is certainly a lovingly crafted love-child thus far, regardless. Opening doors has never been more alarming.

P.T is available on the Playstation Store now

Review: Metal Gear Rising – Revengeance

Fans of Metal Gear rejoice – this spin-off may be a change in direction for the acclaimed franchise, but this is a deliriously entertaining action game, forged with razor-sharp gameplay and adrenaline-fueled action sequences.

metal-gear-rising

As far as reincarnations go, however, this is not a total re-imagining. The story is every bit as convoluted as one would expect from Hideo Kojima, flaunting the customary gratuitous cutscenes and lengths of overwrought dialogue.

The once derided protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden, was considerably revamped for the aforementioned fourth instalment; his personal transformation offered redemption via some of the most unforgettable fight sequences in gaming history, prophesising the rise of this complex anti-hero.

Rising brandishes an addictive combat system. In particular, the free slicing ‘blade mode’, which offers 360-degree control of your weapon as you accurately mutilate waves of enemies in bullet-time – a violent but incredibly satisfying and inventive experience.

Most memorable, though, are the blistering boss fights which are, in the truest sense of the word, awesome. By integrating breathtaking set-pieces charged with an impressive heavy metal soundtrack, you can almost feel the electricity emanating from Raiden’s blade, rendering these battles nothing short of epic.

As the bridge to the next generation of consoles is rapidly being built, Rising also provides some of the more visually stunning graphics seen on the current platforms, as sparks fly and buildings fall. Despite certain environments appearing lacklustre and unvaried, most players won’t have the time to notice between mastering the intricate combat techniques and performing a cross-sectional analysis of every object possible.

Like Raiden, the game propels forward at the speed of light, occasionally to the detriment of the camera, offering a brief 4-6 hours of story, but this is an imperfect game for perfectionists – the combat ranks, collectibles and VR missions suggest plenty of replay value.

The popularity of this title will naturally be indebted to the Metal Gear name, which may bear a certain inevitability of disappointment for fans of the stealth-based series. However, this Metal Gear is wired with the familiar components of philosophy and in-jokes, and an edgy combat system, making this a cut above the usual hack and slash game.

7/10