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The Suffering: Ties That Bind - what went wrong

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Posted 09-07-2009 at 06:58 AM by December Man
Updated 09-07-2009 at 01:25 PM by December Man

Note: Wow, this blog shifted from "Gaming and Rants" to "Survival Horror - Read All About It!".

I have utmost respect towards the first Suffering game. Why, you might ask. Thanks to it, I became fascinated with all things horror. Yes, it was The Suffering that introduced me not only to horror video games, but also movies and books.

Even though it seems to be a pretty standard gory action horror, the story and setting is what make it a very intelligent game.

The most basic, and most important at the same time, aspect the game touches, is capital punishment. The monstrosities you encounter throughout the game each represent a different death penalty all through horrific imagery. The two boss characters, who haunt you through the game, each has been killed by the most commonly known way - an electric chair - Horace, and the gas chamber - Hermes (somehow lethal injection, even though it's the most used execution nowadays, hasn't left an imprint on the society such as the aforementioned ones). Both of them are astonishingly well fleshed out characters and the addition of the mad(or not?) dr Killjoy(probably one of the best video game villains of all time) is an icing on the cake.

The setting is unique, a prison on an island. The main character, a quiet tough guy, yet his story is compelling through flashbacks, hallucinations and NPCs. The gameplay is rather easy, especially if you're experienced with shooters, but they're still higher difficulty levels to compensate for that.

What went wrong with the sequel?

The aspects it touches are not as interesting, compelling or controversial as capital punishment. Yes, many people died building big cities... accidents do happen; gang violence and robberies are a sign of bestiality of humans. Yet death penalty is a fully conscious decision made by a man upon a man having full awareness about its cruelty and inhumanity and, to top it off, backing it up with law and supposed righteousness of the execution. What is more sick in its irony?

Some of the monster designs are rehashes of the older ones. I'd prefer totally new ones. As for the ghostly chorus, this time we have a slave hunter Copperfield and a murderer/rapist/Jack-the-Ripper-like-guy the Creeper. I have to admit, Copperfield is a very poorly fleshed out character, especially when compared to the likes of Hermes or Horace from the first game. Creeper is a lot better, but still inferior.

The setting, being a city in chaos, is not as original - it's been already done in Resident Evil 2 and 3 for instance. As for the gameplay, it's a lot harder, just for the sake of making it seem longer, while it's actually shorter than the first one. Sometimes it's a borderline frustrating experience.

There you have it. Now, I'm not saying Ties That Bind is a bad game. No, it's still a very good piece of horror worth playing, unfortunately it's just inferior to the first one. My advice is get both and enjoy them for what they are and they are excellent, and intelligent, piece of entertainment.
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  1. Old Comment
    Damien_Azreal's Avatar
    Yeah, the sequel was a letdown. I found it very underwhelming and had a hard time finishing it.
    Posted 09-07-2009 at 08:49 PM by Damien_Azreal Damien_Azreal is offline

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