The Suffering Ties That Bind
There Are Two things in this world that truly terrify me: the Judderman from that Metz advert a few years back and global warming. That said, I can sleep soundly knowing they're both fabrications of a despotic government, designed to keep the masses under control through fear and alcopops. So instead, I spend my time being frightened of Ties That Bind, sequel to that great game that you probably didn't buy - The Suffering. Ties That Bind picks up where the first left off, seeing you back behind bars and relatively happy considering you're no longer being hounded by fleshdevouring demons. Naturally, that doesn't last long and you're soon launched back into the perverse and blood-splattered gameplay that made the original so exhilarating. Not exhilarating like riding a rollercoaster, but exhilarating like watching Evil Dead or Event Horizon - the sort of paranoiainducing gore that makes you squeal and throw cushions at the television.
Same Old, Same Old
So, what's changed? Not a whole lot - everything that made the first game great is here. There are new malefactors such as the Triggerman (a half-man, half-spider, half-lots-of-guns thing) and the Arsonist (a weird thing on fire, a bit like the imps from Doom), as well as some old favourites such as Burrowers and Marksmen. Old problems with it, jumping and climbing have been ironed out but the first-person mode is still largely useless - not that it infringes much on the essential aspects of the game, the third-person fighting, the disturbing atmosphere and the over-the-top gore. Imagine the foreboding dream sequences of Max Payne, coupled with the hellish creatures of Doom and you'll get a fair idea of the pervading atmosphere.
Ultimately however, it falls into the same trap that snagged the original, becoming irritatingly repetitive at times. Excellently scripted set-pieces and dialogue perforate a seemingly endless store of enemies, the surroundings soon become all too familiar and the console-restricted engine disappoints graphically. Which is a shame, because with a bit more technological freedom, developer Surreal could really shine.