The Suffering

Format: PS2

5 037930 070563
Age Restrictions: 18+
14 May 2004

Traverse the intense and shocking world of a maximum security penitentiary in the role of Torque, inmate accused of a brutal crime he may or may not have committed. Trapped in this ghastly environment and beset by horrific creatures. Torque is constantly challenged to stay alive and wield all manner of weapons in his fight to escape the nightmare that has been unleashed on Abbott Penitentiary...

Midway has a long and respected reputation for arcade-style games and sports titles so The Suffering is something of a grizzly departure. The game tells the story of Torque, a man condemned to death by lethal injection for the brutal killing of his wife and children. I told you this was something different...

The game opens with Torque arriving on death row but his incarceration is short lived as an earthquake soon leaves prisoners and guards loose in a violent and dangerous environment populated by unseen assailants who lurk in the shadows and who have a nasty habit of eviscerating passers by. There really is something nasty out there and it really is out to get you.

You can play the game in either first or third person views and is at heart a simple twist on the fast-paced survival game. However, the sheer tension and speed of the game play immediately marks it out as a step up from the usual fare. Also, the lack of pointless puzzle-solving means that the atmosphere isn't broken up by senseless switch-pulling and button-pressing problems. Top marks to Midway - other designers please take note.

As you'd expect, Torque gets to collect guns and ammo (of which there is plenty) but his best weapon is his 'black outs' during which he is transformed into a brutal monster - perhaps a clue as to what happened to his wife and children? But beware who you kill when in monster mode - too many people and the game ends badly - stick to the monsters and things turn out okay. Another nice touch.

The game looks good (although the graphics aren't quite as sharp as they might be) and sounds great and the dialogue is pleasingly brutal which makes for a refreshing change. This is a prison after all, not a holiday camp.

So if you like Resident Evil and Silent Hill then The Suffering isn't going to disappoint you as it takes the genre and gives it a good hard slap in the face.

Anthony Clark

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