Thursday, 9 October 2008

The Suffering: The Review (or: "How Danny got back in the saddle")

Developer: Surreal Software 
Publisher: Midway games
Platforms: PS2, XBOX, Pc
Release: July 30th 2004
Genre: Third person shooter with psychological horror themes.

So a few posts back i posted a link were midway had, very surprisingly, put this game up for a free download. Being a horror nut (go figure) and the fact ive yet to see an xbox copy in stores i spent a good 6 hours on my poor connection downloading this. So yesterday i finally sat down to play it.

I'll then stood up after that "brief session" to find several hours had passed and i had finished the entire game. 
So i guess i liked it, i think.

The game beings with the eyerollingly named protagonist "torque" (no, really) being admitted into carnate island penitentiary for the murder of his wife and children. Wouldn't you know it however that as soon as the locks bolt shut everything goes all "silent hill" on the islands population.
Now, do you remember the prison level from ghost hunter?, well this is it, albeit in a much more free roaming sense. from the off set your never given any clues theres maps and such but your not even told what button you use to see them. your just given a knife and told "heres the open cell door, escape!". Now this i really liked, i had no idea were i was, what i was looking for. i just fought my way through the demons filling up the prison and explored the blocks and tried to find a narrative in there. somewhere. 
To be honest i dont know if this was intentional or bad design but i couldnt help but think it would make a good level in left 4 dead with 4 players stranded around this island trying to find a way off.
The level design is nice, albiet bland in parts. and sometimes the textures are apt to dissapear for sod all reason. really on the whole it feels so much like an incomplete test level from another game i cant place my finger on. the island has a mental institution, a WWII amy barracks, a beached slave trade ship and a graveyard of witch trial victims to name a few. i know ive played something like this before. its neat to explore but i cant escape this nagging feeling ive played something just like this before.
please leave a comment if you can think of he game im thinking of as this is bugging the crap out of me.
-anyway. music wise it not very good, just cheap screeching noises with flashes of gore to make use of those tired "jump" scares.
Control wise its not bad, but i find myself closing the program instead of opening doors because of poor placement on the keyboard at default (im not a pc gamer), sometimes the character, after a checkpoint starts constantly running to the left or right even when the keyboard is removed from the computer. I could go on but to sum it up its fun , to a point, it has faults.

This isn't really a long or in depth review, i think thats quite an apt analogy of the game itself, This game is like buffy the vampire slayer, or ghosthunter. A third person horror game that never feels like your in a world, like fable or resident evil 2. You are always conscious that this is an enclosed little area, like setting out pieces on a pre set puzzle board. Thats not to say it isn't fun. i had a relatively good experience playing this, going crazy with a shotgun running towards 2 done screeching terrors from beyond.
Is it worth getting?, its free, so of course. would i pay full price on release when this came out?, no. its an interesting gameplay experience, but in no way is it memorable, there are few scares, the story is ranging from inconsistent to none existent and it just needed more rounding off before release. For example, you can have prisoners or guards team up with you, but they can suddenly stop following you for no reason, disappear, or just get locked behind a door thats pre set to forever close after you enter it.

Honestly i can go on but these little faults allow for no mental interaction. its more of a mindless shooter with horrific imagery over a true survival horror. not once did i believe torque, who could turn into a bloody giant monster with a sword for an arm for gods sake!, was not going to make it through this without a scratch. To be blunt you just dont give a crap about him.

I know this review is inconsistent. but thats the game in one, its hard to define. can i recommend you will enjoy it for a gameplay session o two?, yes, its a free game that i can recommend. but is it worth your time as much as ghost hunter or obscure, let alone resident evil or silent hill?, no, honestly its not.

SCORE [7/10]


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