Horror titles are always a hit, especially in the run up to Halloween. No longer do we see the happy days of cutesy storylines, at least not during Halloween. Instead we see the bloody and horrific side of things, like for example our latest horror title, The Suffering: Ties That Bind from Midway. This is the sequel to last year’s The Suffering, which in my opinion was a surprisingly decent game. Well now the series is back and trying to take another slash at things. So is The Suffering: Ties That Bind a worthwhile purchase? Read our full review to find out!
Before I get to far into my review, I better put out a disclaimer. I feel obligated to inform you that this game is not for the faint hearted. There is a good reason why ESRB slapped a Mature rating for Ties That Bind – it is extremely violent and can be a little too gruesome at times. The Suffering and now Ties That Bind are both very bloody, very dark, and not very family-oriented games. Enough said, back to the review.
You start in Ties with Bind with a little back-story that covers what happened in the previous game, for those who did not have a chance to play it. If you did get a chance to play the previous game, your save file will be recognized and therefore you will skip the introductory scene and will be shifted into the core of the storyline. Basically this time around, the game takes place right after the original game, and never really makes a significant impact on the game. When I look at the storyline of this game I see sort of a missed opportunity as the game never really gets involved with the storyline and I just felt that in the long run the storyline was nowhere near as interesting as it was in original.
Although Ties that Binds is not all that much driven by story, the game still focuses heavily on the action, which is what it did in the previous game. The thing about last year’s game was that it was focused in the prison atmosphere, so you were pretty confined to that sort of feel. This time the game tries to be much more open in the things you can do, and therefore you will be traveling through Baltimore, which I may say is a rare choice in a video game, to kill off all of the bad guys. One thing also that has changed is that Torque (the character you play as) can only hold two weapons at any one time. While this may be not make the game more realistic, it also means that you need to use your mind to figure out what to do with your weapons and which ones to use. This is a key feature in the game as this makes the whole experience very different from last year and a bit more tactical.
And of course there is the feature in The Suffering that is back again, and that is the ability to turn Torque into a monster, literally. That can only be done with the insanity meter is full. Playing as the monster side of things is much more intuitive this time around, as the meter seems to fill up pretty quick and there are quite a few instances in which the game really forces you to use this feature much more then you had to in past. These portions of the game help with the variety and also help to keep things from getting stale.
Ties that Bind, when looked at from a distance or at face value, really just seemed like the same game back for another slash at it, with very little change in the gameplay department. I doubt many people will see a huge difference with only two weapons at your side or some of the other small changes. However with that being said this is still a capable action horror game that has some interesting ideas, a decent plot, and an overall enjoyable gameplay experience. I would have liked to have seen more innovation with this game but in the end it just seems like the same game different environment to play in.
Another area where there has been very little change, outside of the fact that the game is now based in several different environments rather then in just one, which I guess at its core does mean some presentational differences. With that we saw some interesting outside environments that were very nicely portrayed and gave a fair amount of detail, but nothing that is going to jump out at you.
Everything else in The Suffering: Ties that Bind has really gone unchanged from the previous game as the character models are still very bloody and have a fair amount of detail and the animation is definitely nice and gory. Overall the visuals are good nothing really out of the ordinary but instead just a pretty average action horror presentation.
What really bothers me about Ties that Bind is that it really does not do anything in terms of the gameplay that is really any different from the previous year. The small changes that were made to the overall formula were pretty minuscule, and although I did like that strategy was put into the game with only two weapons, that is not what I would call a major change. Also the storyline was actually less interesting this time around and that hurt the longevity of the game as well. The Suffering: Ties that Bind was still a somewhat fun game, but nowhere near as fun as it could have been.
When it all boils down to, The Suffering: Ties that Bind is literally the same game as last year with a new environment and a new story. All of the other changes are pretty trivial and don’t make a huge impact on the flow or the action of the game. If you enjoyed the previous game you will enjoy this game, but if not then nothing has changed here. I was disappointed in the fact that the game could have been much better, but you still get a good product if you do go out and purchase this game.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.