I still remember how the whole release of P.T. went down. Sony announced the release of the 'game' during a press conference with little fanfare. Players dove into the game and found out that at the end it plays a teaser for Silent Hills. It was a crazy way to announce a game of that caliber, and it was one of the most Kojima ways to reveal a game I could think of. I didn't have a PS4 at the time, so it was a bummer that I wasn't able to be caught up in that moment in time. Thankfully I got a system before the game was taken off of the store and it's been living on my hard drive ever since.
But besides all the drama and mystique, how is the game? Honestly, it's one of the best horror games I've ever played. The entire game takes place in a looping hallway in a house, one that doesn't spatially. It seems fairly harmless at first, but as you progress the game adds layers of nightmare onto the setting. The decision to give you a space that you get familiar with and then slowly transform it into something that feels increasingly unsafe is so effective. It reminds me a bit of how they handled the Room segments of Silent Hill 4, which were the most interesting parts of that game. One loop through really changes things up, making the hallway fold back on itself and trap you in there while you move at an extra fast speed. While there are some jump scares, most of the horror is just from the powerful atmosphere created by these changes.
One thing that's really interesting about the game is that the gameplay is very simple. It's in first person, which is a departure for the Silent Hill series, and pretty much the only action you can do is zoom in slightly to examine things in the world. The 'puzzles' of the game involve finding things hidden around the hallway in order to progress. It's hard to describe, but the way you figure things out is immensely satisfying. I like to call it an 'OCD Simulator' because you really have to go over things with a fine-toothed comb because the game doesn't give you much in the way of obvious guidance. The final puzzle is way too obtuse (it took my wife and I an hour and a half to figure it out while looking at a walkthrough), but other than that the game moves at a decent pace without being easy.
Everything about this game has the makings of a great urban legend. From the stealth way it was released to its current scarcity, this will be a game that people will talk about for years in the horror community. It's easily one of the biggest cancelled games of all time, but at least we got P.T. out of it. Despite just being created as a 'Playable Teaser' for the main game, P.T. can stand alone as one of the best horror experiences of all time.