The Suffering is a horror action adventure set in Abbott State Penitentiary, a maximum security prison overrun by demonic forces. The player becomes inmate Torque and must battle against gruesome foes and bosses in nine levels in hopes of escaping the island alive. Torque will encounter fellow criminals along the way and what he chooses to do with them might shape the truth behind his actions in one of three endings.
Torque will fight off demonic enemies (with creature designs from late Hollywood special effects creator Stan Winston) using 10 different weapons he find scattered throughout levels. Torque will eventually learn how to "transform" into a powerful creature himself once he builds enough "insanity" through combat. While powerful, this form will gradually damage Torque as well to the point of death.
Though compared to survival horror titles (a popular genre for gaming at time of release), The Suffering places great emphasis on action.