PS2 REVIEW: THE SUFFERING: THE TIES THAT BIND

In the sequel to The Suffering, the violent, creepy monsters that were confined to the island are now walking the streets of Baltimore - the hardest thing is telling them apart from the local human population.

Okay people of Baltimore, don't write any angry letters or send any nasty emails. That was just a joke - and besides - you're not very good spellers and your syntax stinks. Just what the hell did you learn in school anyway? Certainly there can't be that many jobs for welders in your city?

In The Suffering: The Ties That Bind, our hero Torque manages to escape from his hellhole prison and winds up in Baltimore, along with a number of special guests. These "guests" are a collection of grotesque, undead monsters - a result of human experiments gone awry - not to be mistaken for city council members. The scientists responsible for this gruesome research belong to a giant corporation that wants to keep the data secret. Torque will do battle with both the undead and the corporation's army to uncover who killed his family and what has happened to him.

Why Baltimore? I'm sure I'm not the only one to ask that question. Well, it appears that Torque has had some past dealings with the city that are revealed through flashbacks. The story is a little more involved than the original as it attempts to explain just how Torque wound up imprisoned in the first place. There are various diary pages and letters to be found that will advance the storyline. Hope you know how to read. Otherwise this review might just look like this to you ghkasdfkibafbj afj afbouafgaalbln *&#^3% a^%@^#((%#*((#)#?@)*%&39823479872oih soh wo !!!!

But don't let all of the reading spoil your fun bookworm, this is an action-packed game loaded with violence, blood and horrors of horrors. The monsters in this game are preserved at the moment of their death and their strange powers mirror their style of death. You will also deal with the inner-city machinations and those humans that have succumbed to the street's dark lifestyle of guns, drugs, violence and poverty. Torque will also battle his inner demons while his inner demon literally battles with the rest of the world. Killing enemies boosts Torque's rage meter which will release a fearsome creature that has a pendulous blade for an arm and grappling chains that spring from his back. This monster character is an excellent weapon. There are times when you will be outnumbered where releasing the rage meter is the only thing that will help you.

Speaking of weapons, you can still expect dual pistols, hand cannons, semi-automatic rifles, assault rifles, submachine guns and a host of grenades. What you might not want to hear is that you can only have two weapons at a time, although you can have all three grenades at once. There isn't a lot of extra ammo lying around so you have to be very frugal. The gameplay follows a cycle of easy difficulty that unexpectedly increases to insane levels where you're literally overwhelmed by enemies. Areas are very linear and scripted so you'll have to replay some of them many times, paying attention to safe havens, ammo, weapons and the location of key enemies that you should concentrate on taking out first.

Warehouses, dark alleys, slums and compounds comprise most of the urban environments. The immovable obstacles force you down the path. Ambient-wise it's not very scary when the monsters enter the realm of the living. It was a lot scarier in their environment where anything could happen given the mysterious and unexplained circumstances.

As with most sequels, this is just a continuation of the original. Neither the graphics nor the gameplay has been altered which is still a good thing since the original was a very solid game to begin with. The control system is responsive and accurate. The graphics still illustrate some spine chilling scenes and disturbing animation of the undead characters. This game is almost guaranteed to give you nightmares. Even the sound is scary, and I defy anyone to listen to it, even without playing the game, in their house when it's dark and empty. The voiceacting is supplied by professionals but it can still get a little cheesy at times.

The Ties That Bind may not be the best game to start with. If you haven't played the original, that's where you should begin. If you don't like it, you won't like this one but fans of the first one will revel in another visit to that old familiar hell.

Preview by Vaughn

Midway Games Inc., a leading interactive entertainment industry publisher and developer, today announced The Suffering: Ties That Bind, sequel to the genre-defining and award winning action/horror game, The Suffering. Developed by Midway's internal studio, Surreal Software, The Suffering: Ties That Bind is scheduled to ship for the PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox videogame system from Microsoft and PC in Fall 2005.

"The Suffering: Ties That Bind is a sequel that will surpass the original in every way, with more action, a darker storyline and plenty of disturbing and twisted creatures," said Alan Patmore, president, Surreal Software. "The terror expands outside of the prison walls as players' actions and moral choices are now tied to the new multi-leveled insanity mode, directly affecting the game's plot with each path providing an entirely different experience."

The Suffering: Ties That Bind is a revolutionary action-horror game that emphasizes the disturbing terror of its predecessor, with new twisted creatures and a few familiar faces. Set in the unforgiving streets and prisons of Baltimore, the player once again controls Torque as he seeks revenge against the mysterious grand manipulator Blackmore, a man somehow tied to the death of Torque's family. Players will explore the tough inner-city, with poverty and urban injustices trapping people just as effectively as a physical prison. The unique morality system returns, as players delve into the perverse world of Torque's sanity to discover his past and struggle to control his future.

Features:

  • JOURNEY INTO MADNESS: Delve deep into Torque’s past with flashbacks and define his future path while battling inner demons, rage, and a tenuous grip on sanity.
  • DISTURBING CHARACTERS AND CREATURES: A plethora of brand new ferocious fiends in addition to several returning favorites designed to depict tough societal problems like street crimes, gun violence and riots that prosper in poverty stricken slums.
  • CHOOSE YOUR PATH – CHOOSE YOUR PLOT: Define the true story behind the nature of Torque’s crimes and his journey into madness with game-defining moral choices that affect the game’s outcome - each path providing a completely different gaming experience.
  • MASTER THE RAGE: New multi-leveled insanity mode is tied directly to players’ actions, creating the most deadly weapon in the game - Torque’s inner demon. This giant, horrific creature goes from normal to brutal and bloodthirsty depending on the moral path that players choose to follow.
  • A SEEDY, URBAN WORLD: Explore the gritty slums, streets, and prisons of Baltimore, battling urban injustices and demons spawned from historical events of urban squalor.
  • REFINED AND ENHANCED GAMEPLAY: Featuring a redesigned and streamlined inventory, expanded player movement mechanics, refined controls, more varied and advanced enemy AI and a large arsenal of weapons Ties that Bind melds big action sequences with visceral horror elements.
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System: PS2, X
Dev: Surreal
Pub: Midway
Released: Sept 2005
Players: 1
Review by Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.0
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
4.0
VALUE
3.5