The Suffering
The Ties That Bind

Format: PS2

5 037930 072314
Age Restrictions: 18+
28 October 2005

The city has its demons... and so do you. An inescapable enemy torments and persecutes Torque, even as he struggles to rid the streets of evil. The dark heart of the city can feel like prison. Can you free yourself...?

The Suffering: The Ties That Bind is the sequel to 2004's The Suffering. Like the previous instalment, The Ties That Bind attempts to be as slick as Resident Evil and as haunting as Silent Hill. Sadly it falls way short on both accounts.

You start the game in the midst of a prison riot and it's not long before you break out and are heading back to familiar surroundings - your old neighbourhood. Here you slowly unravel secrets buried in your past. Was it you that really killed your wife and children? Or have you spent that last few years in prison for a crime you didn't commit?

While the game benefits greatly from a different surrounding, Torque's old stomping ground, it's a shame that there wasn't any effort to make it appear as though you had free run of the city. If you go round trying doors more often than not you won't be able to open them, yet once a task has been completed (like a baddie killed) then your exit from that level is made clear (e.g. one of the previously locked doors is now open). This hand holding becomes infuriatingly obvious after a while and spoils any little surprises. If you can't find an exit then you prepare yourself for an invasion of monsters.

Another problem is the fact that (although this can be remedied in first person mode) should a monster appear behind you it is a bit of a pain attempting to turn around before being able to slap them about.

The ongoing storyline is interesting and it's great the game's developers actually go back to explore Torque's past. He doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would slaughter his family, but he appears to have memories that indicate he did...

It does have it's surreal moments, and plenty of jumpy situations (never as eerie as Silent Hill, nor as jumpy as Resident Evil) and, like the first instalment, try not to kill too many innocent humans. Stick to killing those who try and kill you and you should be okay.

Fans of the original The Suffering will be impressed with this game. At the end of the day it's more blood, guts, gore and freaky goings on.

Nick Smithson

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