By day a mild mannered homicidal maniac, by night a mild mannered homicidal maniac with a gun! And that little gun will become quite a comfort as your entire reality twists around you into your own personal hell. Doesn’t sound like fun?
Then perhaps you are not ready to take on The Suffering in all its disturbingly gorgeous glory. To open the gates of Hades itself and peer in, would be less interesting than a night with this gem, and far less grotesque!
Your choices of first or third person will be of little comfort as you make your way around Carnate Island; the location of imprisonment for our hero. Controls are very comfortable, and easy to master quickly; so you can focus on the phantasmagorical story line. After a quick background intro littered with profanity (this will give you a sense of how far this game is willing to take its mature rating), an earthquake rocks your prison cell and then shatters your world.
Pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and whatever arsenal you manage to find or make will find a happy resting spot in your hands, because damn near any nightmare you’ve ever had has just come to life; but don’t think The Sufferingis just a shoot ?em up romp through death central! You had better have your wits about you to puzzle your way deeper into the game, and even deeper into the robust world around you. A lot of detail and sharp writing went into creating The Suffering; so make sure to read every scrap of paper and any notes Torque takes down, as they can make the game tremendously more enjoyable.
There are multiple stories going on throughout Carnate Island; all appearing in the form of conversations, blood scrawlings on the walls, hallucinations, flashbacks, and encounters. Fortunately, none of them are too complex and are easy to follow while focusing on the main story line of Torque – which is determined by helping those around you or simply extinguishing the last glimmer of life in them.
The creatures in The Suffering are the most interesting smattering of insanely brilliant creativity and thoroughly developed graphics! I’ll tell you one thing boys and girls, these monsters are definitely going to either intrigue or disgust you; which will suit the team at Stan Winston Studios just fine. Every demon you come across will impress with its unreal movement and grotesque flair! My personal favorites are the Slayers – who could creep the goalie mask off of any serial killer with their imposing visage. To top it off, there are different versions of each creature with several death animations and a plethora of attacks to keep every situation as unusual as the last. After some battles you will think you’re standing in a massacre as you stare at the littered bodies and parts around the room while you drip with the blood of the dead.
Every graphical element in this title shows the exact same polish as the creatures; but the lighting is what will take this game to the next level for you. At times you will be stuck in near absolute darkness with only your trusty flashlight to find what just went bump in the night and send it back into the oblivion from whence it came. Metal shines and bullets flash in a beautiful amalgamation of shadows, picture perfect lighting, and smooth textures.
For the audio in The Suffering, I would like to personally thank the developers of this game for my dry cleaning bill because the screams of horrors that are around you have no problem making themselves heard with piercing clarity. The majority of the background sounds range from: clanks, scrapes, crashes, booms, and squeaks to voices, haunting echoes, footsteps, and God knows what else is lurking in the shadows. I can honestly say that the lack of music made this title better than I could have ever conceived!
Just imagine combining the sounds of a torture chamber, an insane asylum, and the atrocities of death row. Now you have your background music. Couple that with solid booming guns, rain you can feel, and thunder that will rattle your surround sound; and I challenge anyone to sit through this game without getting chills down to your controller if not throwing it at the ceiling once in a while.
Especially fun are the voices in your head encouraging you to savagely murder or help the NPCs you come across. It’s almost like you have an angel and devil sitting on your shoulders. Who you listen too will ultimately determine your fate. It’s a shame they weren’t there to tell me how to get out of the puzzles.
Now that I’ve beaten my head against the wall after figuring out the place I was stuck in; The Suffering immediately spent a couple more hours in my Xbox. The puzzles in the game, while not overly complex, will have you wondering what you did wrong in places. They are also built into the game well, so that the puzzle will seem as though it is a real problem you would encounter in the world rather than a side quest that needs to be completed. The Suffering will sit you down for at least an 8 hour ride provided you know where you’re going; personally I’ve spent the better part of 20 hours on the first time through (He got stuck a lot) as I am in no hurry to completely finish this brilliant title! Ed)
Three different endings will give you a great replay value; but, outside of that, I don’t see anyone picking it up for the bonus features. All in all, I was completely satisfied handing over my money for The Suffering and hope it will make it onto the shelves of fellow horror gamers because let’s face it, this one needs a sequel.