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on 12 January 2005
I bought The Suffering while waiting for something I really wanted to come out, but I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of effort and detail that has gone into this game. Be warned though, it's dark and horrific, and the game seems to really revel in showing all the gruesome ways people can be sliced up, mutilated and tortured. You play Torque, a man imprisoned in one of the harshest prsions ever built, and it's up to you to make sense of what is happening when staff and inmates alike start getting mowed down by bloodthirsty supernatural monsters which appear seemingly from nowhere. The story hits the ground running in the first few minutes of play, when your character suddenly finds his cell door open and the prison in total chaos. Once out of your cell, it's a matter of making your way through the prison, and outside, hoprfully to freedom.
The thing that struck me while playing was the attention to detail present in the locations. Many of the rooms have working telephones, light switches, taps, lockers etc, and even though interacting with them sometimes proves to have no effect (flushing the toilet for example!) it's a great and realistic addition to the game world. Of course many of these things are important to the action, such as unlocking doors or finding supplies, so it pays to explore just what you can do in every new location. A word of warning also, be alert or else some parts of the game will pass you by. Some pathways and rooms containing supplies and even weapons can be completely bypassed if you are not thorough in exploring, so it pays to be cautious. This, of course, is only possible once you have cleared any areas completely of marauding monsters, and it's here that the meat of the game lies.
The creatures invading the prison are pretty gruesome and relentless in their attempts to kill you. Some very Silent Hill-esque creatures inhabit this world, including agile metallic creatures with blades instead of arms and legs that just love to leap at you from the ceiling, and crawling mutants who like to pull loaded hypodermic syringes out of their skin and throw them at you like darts. Early on in the game you will be hard pushed to come through fights unscathed, so it's a blessing that healing supplies are scattered liberally throughout each stage. However, just when you find the best (in my opinion ) firearm - the shotgun - and start cackling with joy as one or two close-range blasts send the creatures flying in a hail of body parts, the game ups the challenge and starts sending wave after wave of critters at you, some of which respawn endlessly. It sounds unfair, but it's not really, as in these cases the game is either telling you to get the hell out of there, or find a way to plug up the seemingly endless stream from it's source.
In several ways, the game reminds me a lot of the similar PS2 adventure "Ghosthunter", in that you have to run around whilst manually aiming, and things seem to be far more capable of dashing around the screen than you are. But, in a great additional aspect, you can also switch to first person view at any time, and still run around, attack and jump, etc. So that's almost two games in one, if you prefer to play it that way. Plus the weapons are a lot of fun...when I found the fire axe it was definitely playtime, heh heh...
As for the plot, it's very minimal, with escaping alive being about the only important issue here. There is a sub-plot involving Torque's memory of his wife and children and what has happened to them and him leading up to to the current situation, but it's very much a peripheral issue to the main action of the game. I found Torque's constant flashbacks and visions to be rather pointless after a while, as the script doesn't give Torque any personality whatsoever (he never speaks or changes his expression during the entire game), so it's impossible to feel any sympathy or even tell what emotions he's supposed to be experiencing!
The gameplay improves further once Torque gets outside of the actual prison, as the repetition of cells and offices gives way to a variety of forests, roads, rivers and cliffs, and the freedom to explore is pretty impressive (or maybe I should say that the disguising of the restraints the game uses to stop you going where it doesn't want you to go is pretty impressive!). Towards the end of the game, you'll also make it to a delapidated asylum/residence, a shoreline complete with shipwreck, and a clifftop lighthouse, and the graphics of these locations is wonderful, well worth waiting for.
So I recommend this game. It's challenging, although some of the killing can be avoided if you just want to run past everything. Still want more? Well, actions such as your willingness to help other survivors (even when they might be actively hostile towards you) will change the ending you receive, or open up extra goodies if you keep certain NPC's alive long enough - pretty tough to do in some cases. And there are several situations featuring puzzles and traps to test your problem-solving skills. There's also an "insanity" meter which, when full, allows Torque to transform into a super-strong monster himself and dish out insane find out how and why, you'll have to play the game. It's definitely worth a look
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on 2 September 2005
Become Torque, the inmate, who may or may not have killed his family and enter the suffering.
A truly addictive game, with a variety of areas for you to battle your way through, inculding a prison, a quarry and even a lighthouse, the game allows to you to choose you charchters, actions and his final destiny with its morality scale.
You can help others
You can kill others
Or you can do nothing
Each of these actions will determin Torques outcome, and with the highly addictive gameplay, you will want to start once at the end just to see what the other endings are.
One of the few drawbacks with this game is that the controls can be slightly difficult to work at first, but once you have become used to them, they become second nature.
Complete with a host of enimies, both human and otherwise, the suffering is a game, that is definiatly worth a try
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on 6 February 2012
Right, first off... what might be thought of as bad points to some. The first cut scene when your character Torque arrives at the prison... there is a HUGE AMOUNT of seriously harsh language, only rivalled by some of the more grotesque and gory elements of this game. Also, if you like puzzles to be a big part... well to be blunt (as per other reviews), nothing you come across is going to really make you feel like you're trying to join MENSA.... So, with those minor issues out of the way... What's good?

Frankly - all of the game is a pretty comprehensive package;a well paced plot, full of scares, hardships and choices that will ultimately effect the outcome of the game.

The PLOT: The main character (Torque) is sent to the prison on Carnate Island to live out his numbered days (he has got a death sentence to look forward to). Whilst he settles in, all hell seems to break loose as does his cell door - when he first explores he finds lots of bodies (and parts of bodies) and it seems the whole place is going to hell (literally). So, with the immediate future looking darker than it was when he arrived (which considering is a pretty big step)... he decides to use the opportunity to escape and maybe find out more of the truth behind him being there.

The SCARES: of these... there are many, the overall atmosphere is excellent with a VERY well thought out sound scape that adds to the look of a prison that is going to hell (in the literal sense). The baddies are pretty well varied, each of them have an appearance that in some warped and gruesome way reflects what kind of death they refer to (designed by Stan Winston studios - responsible for such great movie monsters as the Predator and Avatar)... ranging from bondage styled mannequins that have blades instead of hands and feet to the aptly named 'festers' which are putrid reflections of the greed of slave ship owners doomed to wonder the island in a permanent state of torment. The way parts of Carnate island's history pop up as dream like flash backs is also a nice touch... as are the phones ringing (answering them usually means you end up talking to the dead). There are also places where the conversations of the dead fill your head, again adding to an already atmospheric environment.
Another positive mention has to be made of the voice acting of the cut scenes, which both explain and add more mystery to the pace as well as having a solid script well acted (even more 'minor' characters). Also, it is nice to see a survival horror game that has a good, well thought out fluid control system that helps rather than hinders you as you progress thought the game (and yes this is a dig at CAPCOM's Resident Evil). The only minor point is that sometimes the BG music can be a little repetitive.

The HARDSHIPS:, unless you do the game in easy mode... the struggle between doing what's right, moving through the story (the direction through which is pretty linear, but it does allow enough exploring to keep you happy) and keeping yourself alive by finding enough ammo, health and other things to improve your chances is a well balanced thing.

As mentioned previously (and other reviews), how you go about getting to the game's conclusion affects what kind of conclusion you're going to get. ***NOTE SPOILERS AHEAD***

For example, if you go round killing everyone and everything you meet... You find yourself becoming part of the islands (seemingly ever expanding) hellish population with no living soul to keep you company... Help people sometimes and you get a more positive outcome.. Save as many as possible of the lives you come across and you are left with a much more bitter sweet ending and more info about why you ended up there who is responsible and why your family had to die at their hands.***SPOILERS END***

When you complete the game - you also get access to more content... a few videos about the making of 'The Suffering' (which are worth watching) and a little bonus 'prequel' game. Also as you go through, you also get more files about the Island and it's more monstrous inhabitants...

REPLAY VALUE: Well, you will need to replay it at least 3 times all the way though in VERY different ways to get to see all the 3 possible endings. More so if you wish to search every inch of the island and fill every page of the notebooks regarding monsters and the island's colourful and sinister history. Despite my concerns about the lack of complexity to the puzzles, the one thing they did VERY well on this score is to not to signpost the solution to the problems you'll encounter (which I hate)... some attention to information from Non Player Characters as well as a bit of observation and occasional experimentation to your surroundings should see you right.... So yeah, the replay value is there, but not the puzzle solving kind.


GRAPHICS: 10 out of 10 (NOTE: age of game and system taken into account - the Suffering is about 8 years old at time of writing)

SOUND: 9 out of 10 good voice acting and a pretty good script... some of the BG music is a LITTLE BIT repetitive - but this is compensated for in game play/pace

GAME PLAY: 9 out of 10 good pace, nice control system - but let down a little by the basic aspect of the puzzles you encounter

VALUE FOR MONEY: 9 out of 10 with at least 3 replays needed to see all the possible outcomes of this dark tale and a fairly open environmental design, inviting exploration and extras to find - it should keep you busy for a good 30 hours overall at least.

OVERALL: 4 out of 5 stars
A good ADULT game, nicely paced with a well presented environment both in the visual and sound department. Enough content to avoid the (sadly too common in survival horror) flaw of it being a 'one play wonder'. The fact that puzzles are a little basic for my liking (Midway still avoided doing a point and click job so they got that right at the very least),just enough to spoil it a little for me means a loss of 1 star. So yeah - still pretty damned good (see what I did there?)
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on 29 May 2004
I have been playing this game for the last few days and think it's absolutely brilliant! the game is very scary, and its also a really good story. i think the controls are fine= yes it is like max payne controls but easy to use. the flashbacks that you have and the nightmares all give for it being a cool game. lots of great weapons too. i recently bought forbidden siren as well but this is far better. i say def worth your money.
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on 28 December 2013
Similar in genre to 'MANHUNT', prison escape theme.

Great variety of weapons, interaction with environment, and seriously scarey array of horrible creatures to slay very regularly !!

Blood, guts, gore, and all all-consuming sense of foreboding and dread !

I just started this game, but totally enjoying it, and recommend it if this kind of horror is for you !
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on 5 November 2013
In this game you are on an island that has been stained with blood over many centuries and the creatures that attack you are each related to the many dark horrors that happened on the island. As you collect sheets of paper from a prisoner's scrap book you find out the many dark pasts such as the creatures with rifles stuck in their back symbolise those who were killed at a firing range, little creatures with syringes in their back that try to stab you are a representation of the many who died from lethal injection. Some having been given the wrong dose died slowly and painfully and so on.

You play as Torque, a silent protagonist who supposedly killed his wife and kids and was now on death row, until the strange happenings on the island free you from your cell to figure out not only what's going on here, but what happened in your past. You collect many weapons and grenades in the game and if you find all the proper peices, you are able to construct a flame-thrower which does a lot of damage to the monsters and even clears smaller creatures from swarming you.

I recommend this game as it's a decent action game and the story holds well, especially as at times it can be quite creepy when it builds up the atmosphere.
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on 18 December 2004
I dont complete many games but this I did.
I only bought it recently (come on who'd buy a game without knowing much about it with that cover art. yuck)
The game is so gripping, the controls are so fluid, and the storyline is just brilliantly intense and interesting.
Although no games are scary this did leave me with a feeling of butterflies in my stomach while playing.
The game has three endings and the way you play indicates whether or not you were guilty (when you were placed on Death row for killing your family) For example there are times when you pass gas chambers or the electric chair with someone inside. You can decide to let the person live, or let the prison officer who made your life hell frazzle to the bone.
The psychology used in the game is rather good to. For example in one scene you look on a cctv screen to see the exact room your in, with you in the exact place you are in the room...but with a monster-thingy with blades for limbs lurching begin ready to attack. So you move from that view to turn round and kill it. But its not there. So you look in the cctv screen again. But where the monster was is a pile of blood stretched along the floor. In another theres an empty electric chair, but if you turn on the on switch for the electricity you see yourself being executed. Freaky
this game is just simply brilliant. Well designed . Excellent. Never has a game used lighting to its effect so good either.
Just buy it, you wont regret it.
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on 28 June 2004
I got this as a birthday present from my girlfriend so didnt know what to expect! i was pleasantly surprised! it great... graphics, sounds, monsters, guns! i would seriously recommend this game to any one who is a fan of survival horror. its up there with the best of them!
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on 2 December 2004
Well this has to be the most unsettling game I've played on the PS2 (and I've played a few). Stan winston studios have done an excellent job in creating some gruesome specimens to do combat with. The game itself plays like many of it's survival horror
counter parts though you move through the game at a quicker pace than say, the resident evil games (thanks to the main charcters agility). Combat also comes thick and fast with hundreds of nasties to be dealt with throughout your journey and the enemies are superb (fluid, threatening and well animated).The weaponary on offer is also good, varying form the usual pistols/shotguns through to homemade petrol bombs! The graphics and cut scenes are all good and the complex where the game is set is striaghtforward to navigate through. A nice added touch is the ability to either help (or elimate) other prisoners or wardens thata are stuck on the island. All in all this is a fantastic game if you are into survival horror, but be warned, it is not for the faint of heart! Glad to see that there is a follow up pencilled in for next year.
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on 20 February 2008
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