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The Suffering: The Ties That Bind

There was something visceral and nasty that got its hooks into us when The Suffering (Issue 29, 8.0) was released last year. Whether it was the idea of hideously mutated prisoners going ballistic and nailing each other to walls, or the fact that the script read like it'd been edited by Bernard Manning, we kinda fell for its hellish charms.

It was always going to be a challenge bringing about a sequel though, as the first game allowed us to be either a good guy or bad guy. Beginning a second game as a defined character would annoy the thousands of gamers who had originally ended the original differently. However, Richard Rouse, the game's design director and writer, told us, "We've developed a system that allows players to continue their moral path from the first game. Any save from the first game can be used to determine the player's moral starting point in the second game."

Beginning as Torque again, the sequel kicks off exactly where the first finished, with just minutes between the two in fact. Back in Torque's home town of Baltimore, he's up to his ever-so-slightly possessed demon butt in trouble. He'll stumble across a mysterious woman named Jordan (no, not her), an agent of the Foundation - a paramilitary organisation investigating the bizarre creatures found throughout The Suffering. There will now be an additional dozen on top of the previous monster styles. He'll also once again have to choose which moral path to take. If you ended the original game guilty of your family's murders, it doesn't mean you are forced to play as a bad guy in the sequel. The player can behave in a 'good' way in the second game, even after starting with the 'evil' beginning. This actually means there are a lot of different ways for players to experience the game with the team promising us three different beginnings to The Suffering 2, plus three different endings as well. Do the sums and it works out at a fairly expansive experience headed our way.

On a technical note, the Suffering team is eager to improve upon the first game in every way. Everything from weapon models, grenade throwing, melee attacks and world navigation elements (like jumping and throwing) will be vastly improved. Torque's psychosis will also be explored in greater detail, with some nasty surprises thrown in for good measure. For those of us who want to make the most of Torque's Insanity mode, we're promised very big things - bigger than anything we witnessed the first time around. With ten to 14 hours of Story mode (and that's just along a single moral path), the opportunity to explode Insanity mode will really be played upon. With Torque's world becoming ever more twisted and surreal as he shifts between what's real and what's illusion, we may need all the insanity we can get.