The Suffering Review

Developer: Surreal Software Publisher: Midway
Release Date: March 8, 2004 Also On: PC, PS2 and Xbox

The Suffering, the latest title from Midway and probably the best in recent memory, has arrived on the PS2 to horrific eagerness. The Suffering captures the disturbing and terrifying nature of a prison environment, while combining realistic lighting and blood affects, gruesome monsters, and a chilling story.

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The Suffering offers four difficulty settings: easy, medium, hard, and impossible. Aside from that, a brightness adjustment is present before the game begins, so those who feel safer in a bright environment can do so and those who prefer frightening darkness can have that also.

Your character, Torque, is moved with the left analog stick, while the camera is with the right analog stick. You can go in and out of 3rd person with the square button, though for me, 3rd person is the preferred viewpoint. Selecting items and picking them up, along with opening doors, is done with the X button. R1 fires weapons or slashes your knife and L2 reloads. R2 is used to jump and climb.

The Suffering takes place in a maximum security prison. You play as Torque, an inmate guilty of the murder of his family and currently on Maryland’s death row. Throughout the game, Torque will have flashbacks to past events; these depictions lead up to the crime you are imprisoned for. Multiple endings, each of which is unique from one another, are offered depending on how you react to your surroundings. Torque is also subject to blackouts, where he becomes an extremely violent monster.

Around 10 deadly weapons, including a long knife, revolver, dual revolver, Tommy gun, shot gun, and more, are all offered and are equally valuable. Some weapons are more useful in certain situations. For instance, the worm-like creatures that come out of the ground are killed in one shot by the shotgun. Mounted machine guns take out large masses of enemies.

Levels are littered with moveable objects, destructive canisters, and dark, blood-filled rooms. In total, The Suffering features 20 moderately long levels, plus extra bonus features. The levels range from the prison, a lighthouse, mansion-like abandoned asylum, woods/caves out of the prison, etc. Extra features, such as journals, pictures, and videos are also included. The 3 bonus videos are the making of The Suffering, “Inside a Haunted Prison�, and a Psi Ops trailer.

All of the monsters in The Suffering are in some way linked to Abbott, which is your prison. For example, on the island, after a mining accident, the guards were blamed for the inmates’ deaths. A few of the guards were hung and skinned; one of the monsters hangs from a rope, attached to the ceiling. Another example is when adolescent girls wrongfully accused various people on the island of being witches. The “witches� were burned to death and thus it is believed that the burning witches that you encounter later on are in fact the girls that accused them.

In all honesty, The Suffering was a joy. It was the best time that I’ve had with a game for quite a long time. Health, batteries, and ammo are over-abundant, but the adrenaline rush that you get from playing this is spectacular. The story is one of sadness, oppression, insanity, and the fight of good versus evil, though the good happens to be murderous sinners. Needless to say, this is the best horror game on the PS2.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 9.5
Gameplay: 10
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 9.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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