Remember when P.T. came out on the PS4 and everyone went wild for it, because Guillermo del Toro and Hideo Kojima had made the scariest thing ever? And then Konami cancelled Silent Hills and removed P.T. from the PlayStation store? Well, if you’re hankering for a version of P.T. about an obsessive artist making a painting from bits of his dead wife, then boy, do I have a game for you! Yes, it’s Layers Of Fear, the definitive ‘how-to’ for creatives who want to murder their loved ones and then rattle around their mansion for years, constantly haunted by their own memories.
There are a load of ideas from P.T. that Layers Of Fear quite elegantly rips off, but it places them in a different enough context that it gets away with it (i.e. the tortured dad is a painter and the haunted family home is a big mansion rather than one repeating corridor). Plus, Layers Of Fear still exists and P.T. doesn’t, so it’s the winner by default. Take that, promising cancelled project!
It’s unfair to suggest that Layers Of Fear doesn’t have it’s own ideas, though. One of the things it does really well is change the world around you. Walk into a room, think it’s a dead-end, turn around and find the door you came through has disappeared too. Bloody hell, that’s weird! Pictures turn into other pictures. What happened to your dog? Don’t ask.
It also uses sound really well. The main character becomes obsessed with rats, so you hear scratching. Occasionally you hear the shuffling, heavy steps of a threatening man in the house, who might ultimately be a representation of yourself. Spooky! Plus it has loads of dolls in it. Dolls shit me right up.
Bloober Team have just announced Layers Of Fear 2, as well, which is set in Hollywood. So you’re probably a director doing a movie on film made of your sister’s flayed skin or something. Art is pain, right? Right?