Silent Hills: Ghost of the past - Games Weekly

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Silent Hills: Ghost of the past

Silent Hills is a Schrödinger’s Cat of a game. What do we mean by that? Well, Silent Hills’ playable teaser, P.T., may very closely resemble the game that Silent Hills eventually becomes, or it may be nothing more than a self-contained concept that holds little in common with the final game.

Consequently, we may know a lot, or almost nothing about Silent Hills which state we are in won’t be determined until we, figuratively, open the box. It might seem odd to suggest that P.T.might not resemble the game that it’s teasing, but it’s worth bearing in mind that it was never described as a demo. Indeed, it could be telling that even Silent Hills’ latest trailer, shown off at the Tokyo Game Show, was framed as a concept movie.

Nevertheless, we've no choice but to operate on the not unreasonable assumption that we can at least glean something about the game from what’s been shown off so far. Firstly, it's not able that the game’s latest trailer takes place in a similar location to P.T. it’s set in the tight confines of a house, making use of long corridors, blind corners and doors left ajar to give us the willies. This could tell
us something about the types of locations in which Silent Hills will take place creepy houses in which traumatic events have taken place in the past. This doesn't necessarily preclude the possibility that we’ll also be exploring a town, as in past Silent Hill games, but that could be the case.
Speaking of the similarities between P.T. and the latest trailer, it’s significant that both take place in first person. The Silent Hill series has traditionally used a third person perspective, so it’ll be interesting to find out which we’ll end up with in the final game, or whether it might even employ a mix of the two. Given the level of terror that P.T. is able to create through its smart use of the first person perspective, we’d be surprised if the final game didn't leverage that in some fashion. We're even tempted to suggest that Silent Hills might end up as a Project Morpheus game, though the mere thought of a virtual reality version of P.T. is enough to loosen our bowels.

Despite the similarities between P.T. and the new Silent Hills trailer, there is a slight difference that's worth expanding on. In P.T., you couldn't ‘die’ as such. That's in contrast to previous games in the series, where there were enemies to be defeated using the combat system. In Silent Hills’ latest trailer there is a stronger suggestion of a threat to deal with than there was in P.T., as we see our protagonist
chased down by what we can only describe as a giant, disembodied, tentacle hand thing. This doesn't mean that there will be combat in the game  indeed,Silent Hills may do well to follow the likes of Amnesia and Slender: The Arrival, titles that have proven that combat is far from necessary in a horror game. However,the trailer does at least suggest that you will be directly threatened by hostile creatures in the series’ latest iteration.

Even if Silent Hills eventually jettisons everything we’ve seen up to this point in terms of setting and mechanics, one of the most important things about Silent Hill (and indeed, horror games is general) is its sense of haunted atmosphere. The twisted horrors that we associate with that series, the creeping terror, the constant sense of unease, have been in evidence in both P.T.and the game’s latest trailer.
That gives us confidence that, whatever direction the game goes in, it’s likely to do the thing that it’s most important that a Silent Hill game does: scare the bejesus out of us.

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