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The Suffering

The Suffering on PS2

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Reviewed By LessonNo5

It's like someone took Max Payne and ran it through a meat-grinder. This game looks like Payne, plays like Payne, and smells like Payne... But Max Payne this game is NOT. What can I say about this game that hasn't been said by a million other people? Nothing. This game is AWESOME.

You play as Torque, a convict on death-row whose been convicted of killing your wife and children. Your new home while awaiting death is a facility on Carnate Island. A name you won't soon be forgetting, as the storyline of this game just sucks you right in. It's got everything. The game begins immediately in an unforgettable fashion. I'll try not to spoil it too much, because you really need to play this game, and finding out what's going on is half the fun.

You begin the game in the death-row cellblock. At every turn you catch a glimpse of a monster, but never early enough to tell what it is. You soon find out something about yourself, something that threw me off at first when I picked up the box and read the back. It mentioned something about "transforming into a beast." That kind of put me off, but the way it's presented into the game, it's really cool. Like I said, you chase this monster... You soon find out from some of the Island's more celebrity ghosts that the monster is you. I'll leave the metaphysical significance of that aside and just say that when you transform is when your character "blacks out." You lose control. Does that mean Torque really killed his family? You have to figure that out for yourself. The game's got the main character, but you'll come across some downright disturbing members of the supporting class. There are three main characters... The good doctor of a previously inhabited mental asylum on the island, a former executioner that got WAY too into his work, and a murderer with a tragic and disturbing story. In addition, you have a slew of enemies, all of which are embodiments of different forms of execution.

What I like most about this game is how it completely takes you into the world of the game. It's just engrossing. I also enjoyed the ability to make choices. How you play determines the endings. Do you become the monster and kill for the Island's spirits, or do you choose to side with the spirit of your late-wife, or do you choose still another path? Most of the credit to the atmosphere that makes this game so great goes to the sound and music. It's perfect. It's glitchy at times, but the sound is perfect for the game. The music and sound are seamless, the music being more of an extension to the ambient noise in the game.

The entire game takes place on Carnate Island, but you soon find out you won't be spending all of your time in a labyrinth of hallways... In fact, you quickly find out that Carnate been home too many nefarious dealings dating back hundreds of years. You get to explore deep into all of the homes of these tortured spirits as you tour the island. There was never even a second of my time playing this when I was bored. Never even an instant when the thought crossed my mind to take a break.

A lot of the game is combat driven, but you get so many weapons to choose from, and none of them are really much better than the next one, so you have more of a toolbox of weapons than and eternal search for better firepower. This game also features a lot of unnerving "out of body" experiences. Your character hears voices, sees things, and general goes out of his mind. The influences of the Islands evil and his own tortured mind often come to the surface of consciousness and blur the line between fantasy and reality... Just then, you realize you're playing a game, and none of it's reality.

The makers of the game purposely made Torque as racial-neutral as possible. It's easy to identify to him that way. If they made him racial-neutral, they definitely didn't try to make him bad ass-neutral. Where Max Payne was a little unbelievable as a gun-fighting detective, Torque is 100% buyable as a gun-wielding savage. The fighting in this game is BRUTAL. The blood-splatter technique is the best I've ever seen it. It's just projected onto everything, including Torque.

I could go on about this game for pages. It simply wouldn't do it justice. You just need to play it to appreciate all of the subtle nuances in it. All I can say is, this game is WELL worth the $49.95 price tag, and given it's popularity I wouldn't hold out until it gets knocked down to $20. Chances are, with this game; you'll never get your chance.


(Out of 5)

This game has everything, so one could say that if you’re not scared at some point during this game, then you don’t have a soul. However, with all of the philosophical questions this game inadvertently raises, by the time you get done with the game you may have concluded that you don’t.
The goddamn Burrowers... Any enemy that only presents a target a millisecond before it attacks is bad news.

PS2 - 03/09/04
XBox - 03/09/04
PC - 06/08/04
Surreal Software

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Q1 2005 - PC/XB/PS2