Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: The Suffering

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Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)

suffer.JPG (1784 bytes)           The games industry has seen some rapid growth over the past five or so years, and not least in the quantity of titles developed for the “mature” market. Sexually explicit material has yet to gain any real market presence, with the first mainstream entrance in the form of BMX XXX, but the violence and horror themed adult games have flooded the market, spurned on by consistent releases, and high sales, of new instalments in the Resident Evil franchise. So what makes The Suffering any different? Well, lots of things – I think I’ll start this one at the beginning.

            From the very opening scenes of the game comes an intricately detailed storyline. You play as a cold-hearted killer, on Death Row. As the FMV rolls on, all hell breaks lose and immediately you are plunged head-first into a world where only the cut-throat survive, and the weak-hearted don’t stand a chance.

            The game follows the usual third-person perspective (although there is an optional first-person view for easier targetting), exploration, item collection etc. rules or the usual survival horror titles, but add slight twists to the gameplay making the title truly unique. Firstly, the interactive characters in the game are designed amazingly. Some will wish to stick with you, exploring together – safety in numbers I suppose – others may use you as a decoy, giving them the opportunity to run while you’re being torn to shreds. If this wasn’t a clever enough little adaptation to a common feature, you’ve also got to think about the consequences of your actions. You find a prisoner strapped into an Electric Chair – do you free your fellow inmate and hope he doesn’t offer you as a sacrifice, or fry his ass… and take your chances. Many of the characters you may interact with along your path, however much you choose to do so, may seek their vengeance if they blame you in anyway for their untimely demise.

            The game’s maps are well detailed with each environment being distinguishable from the next. Working your back through the level is often possible without the use of a map, quite a feat given the usual drab textures most game designers plaster environments such as these in. The character models are also very well built, with tons of demons to fight and your character’s transformation animation is superb. Add to all this nice little touches such as dirt and blood build up on the characters – both main and NPC – and some impressive real-time lighting (although minimal) and the game begins to sparkle visually.

            There is a wide variety of weaponry, both combat and artillery, as well as the transformation technique mentioned above. Shortly after beginning the game, and unravelling a few aspects of your character’s persona, you are given the ability to transform into a raging beast yourself and inflict incredible damage at close-quarters. The transformation ability is limited however, firstly by a meter which recharges slowly and secondly by the harsh restriction of the ability affecting your health. If you choose to transform frequently or for extended periods of time, your health meter may slowly begin to drain.

            The storyline is far and above the main draw for the title, whilst the slight modifications on old techniques make it a must for fans of the genre. While the graphics, sound and interesting featured within the game are fantastic, the does have a rather linear approach to it, greatly limiting its replay value. For those of you looking for a taste of something new, you should probably stick to your Ninja Gaiden and Galleon, those just waiting for Resident Evil 4 should probably give it a look. But a warning to the faint-hearted – Resident Evil is for wuses.

 

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