The Suffering: Ties That Bind
Game Info
Platform(s)
Xbox, PS2
Publisher
Midway
Developer
Surreal Software
Genre
Survival Horror
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs
 
Grade
The Good

• Excellent looking enemies and locations
• Story is well done
• Music and voicework is well done
• Morality choices prove to be a nice touch

The Bad

• Same game as before
• Little too much blur effect
• Third person camera is too close in

 
Grade
B

With the first Suffering, Surreal Software tossed their hat into the survival horror ring, giving gamers a horror game that was soaked in gore and filled with gunplay. The story revolved around a man sent to prison for the crime of killing his family. It didn't take long for all hell to literally break lose. After breaking free of the prison island, Torque finds himself in the events of Ties That Bind, where he's brought into Baltimore. No sooner does he arrive when, once again, demonic forces flood the city, slaughtering everything in their path. Because this is Torque's hometown, we are given an open window into his life and his connection with Blackmore.

While the story and locations are soaked in gore and violent events, the core of the game is a shooter. I can't actually label the game as third or first person shooter as with the flick of the D-Pad, you can change views and both prove to be pretty effective. At his disposal are a grand number of weapons, both of the gun and melee variety. But, considering that Torque can only carry two sets of weapons at any time, you're going to have to make some decisions on what weapons to pick up and what to leave. Fortunately, there are lots of opportunities to pick up more weapons and ammo. Rare will be the occasion when you actually are hard up for ammo.

After a certain point in the game, you'll gain access to Torque's insanity mode. In this mode, Torque turns into a devastating beat capable of some brutal melee attacks, including a jumping attack and a charged up impale attack. While a temporary mode that drains on the meter when in action, it's necessary to break through certain walls to make progress through the game. So, when you find yourself being sieged by waves of enemies, look for a wall or barrier to break down.

While the gameplay revolves around killing your way through legions of monster and humans (be they people you need to help or those just trying to capture you), you will have to deal with finding switches to open doors and other solutions to continue on the path through the game. Sometimes this requires you to climb up or perform some minor jumps. These events don't last long and only serve to be a buffer from one gunplay segment to another.

As with the previous game, a lot is made of your decisions throughout the game. As you begin the game, if you have a save file from the previous game, you'll be able to start the game with the alignment of your choice (good, bad or neutral). If not, you start out neutral. During the game, you're giving multiple choices to help out others. You can choose to aid these people, leave them to their own demise, or just kill them outright. As you progress through the game, these choices will affect the way Torque looks and eventually give you a certain ending.

From a graphics standpoint, Ties That Bind is a noticeable improvement over the first game. This is not to say that the last game was an eyesore, but a lot of the rough edges evident in the first title have been polished. Levels are large and packed with a lot of details, making the whole game world feel well grounded. As you progress through the game, you'll be witness to a variety of locations, each with their own grim layer of devastation and the splatter of human destruction. Visual effects add a nice layer of depth to the game, not only in the way explosions are carried out, but the way the flashlight illuminates most dark areas. On top of this are some nice real-time segments that act as perverse "flashbacks", throwing a monkey-wreck into Torque's trip. Character models show improvement from added depth and detail. With all the visual improvements, there are some minor flaws, like repeated textures and clipping glitches. These tend to pale in comparison to the package as a whole.

Ties That Bind takes the musical themes from the first game and alters them just enough to keep them fresh. In the first title, the core of the music is built on "found noises" compiled into tribal-style beats that build up as the action raises. Sound effects are well done and have a nice range. Explosions and gun sounds land well in the action and make the player feel like the action is really happening. The monsters all have their own specific sounds, which make them feel all too real. The solid presentation of the sounds makes the action all the more tense. Voice work is a strong and helps carry the story along. While Michael Clark Duncan and Rachel Griffiths are being promoted as the big name talent, performances from John Armstrong (Dr. Killjoy) and Scott Bullock (The Creeper) really steal the show.

I have to really question why there is so much blur being used throughout the game. There are times where it's used sparingly to show Torque slipping into delusion, but when part of one whole chapter is view in a blurry dreamstate, it wears on the eyes, quickly. Also, I found the third person camera to be a little too claustrophobic. I actually preferred to play in first person so that I wouldn't have Torque in my way so often.

The Ties That Bind proves to be more of the same. While there are minor revisions to the game, the core of the game remains the same. Because of this, you really have to be into the game for the story or just be a fan of how the original game played. If so, you're sure to find a game worth your money. If you're look for something a little more, a rental should be enough to give you the progress that the story makes.

- - Kinderfeld

ILS is not affiliated with, endorsed by or related to any of the products, companies, artists or parties legally responsible for the items referred to on this website. No copyright infringement is intended.
Game Shots