Evil has returned. Demonic powers are manifesting themselves as a myriad of dark creatures, fighting over the fates of imprisoned souls caught in Purgatory. Once again, it is up to Daniel Garner, in the unenviable position of being the Curse of Darkness and the Toy of Light, to fight his way past hordes of demons and fiends”. Publisher Quote
The developers at Farm 51 have made a push to make sure we understand this game is an old school FPS. Its lightning quick gameplay is mixed with enemies who rush and if you are not alive to your surroundings you will get boxed in and death is just an axe swing away.
I have never played a Painkiller game before a so I cannot compare this title to its predecessors. This can be helpful with this type of title as I did not know the maps or mechanics so I have no nostalgia to sway my opinion either way.
The story of this game as you can see from the quote at the top of the article is quite generic and during the game it plays out during cut scenes only. The action is basic just kill everything and move onto the next area and start again. It’s a game with no pretence of story driven gameplay and that’s quite refreshing for me. Gameplay is king for me above story and graphics as long as a game is fun to play and the controls work well I can forgive lapses in other areas. I just want to load the game up and dismember as many dark creatures as I can.
The only trouble with the Gameplay comes with the enemy AI they rush you and that’s about the scope of their tactics. It feels like the AI was modelled on the tactics of the Russian Generals from World War 2, when they decided if we throw enough troops at the enemy eventually they will run out of bullets. This is true in the game as you do not have unlimited ammo, but in this console generation I was just hoping an evolution in the way AI acts.
Graphically the game is rich with a good mixture of character models. It’s not overly ambitious and it runs on full resolution with a fairly modest graphics card. This makes the game very accessible. However the drop off is noticeable when you play on low graphics. I found the lowest setting took away from the experience as the sprites were not nearly as interesting to look at as you blew them across the room. As I was playing this game on PC I originally played it with a mouse and it felt very responsive. I however I am a console player and found the controls worked just as well with a controller. These two factors fill me with hope for when the game is released on consoles early next year.
The music for the game is Heavy Metal created by Ojo Rojo and in complete keeping with the tone of the game. I relate the music use to Jaws (Won’t spoil why as it could ruin the experience for you). But if you hate the genre of music you can mute it but I feel that would diminish the overall experience of the game.
The Single player is based on completing 14 levels including four epic boss battles. The size and scope of the bosses is great and you have to use your variety of weapons in order to emerge alive. That being said there’s not much replay value in the single player. I hope in the multiplayer (review to come once the servers go live) they capture the fast paced gameplay and then this game will have some legs.
The gunplay in the game is great and for me this is the most important feature. Your weapons are a nice mixture of long and short range instruments of destruction. They all have a secondary fire and will run out if ammo pretty quickly if your too trigger happy. There are a few nice touches like after you collect 66 Souls (the dead drop them for you to collect) you turn into a demon and the screen goes black and white and you can go on a merry rampage to your heart’s desire. Also built into the HUD is a compass to help direct you to the next staging ground it’s a simple way to help navigate the rather open levels and find some more bodies to dismember.
Painkiller is an old school title and due to this I would not recommend it to everyone on its easy setting it’s a breeze but it’s annoyingly difficult on the higher difficulty. If this is the sort of thing that floats your boat then at a sensible price point (£17.99 in the UK on steam) this can be a good contender for your money. Those looking for AK47’s, Air strikes and Auto healing you had better look elsewhere because painkiller will chew you up and spit you out.
At the point of writing the Multiplayer and Co-operative sections of the game are unavailable so the review score takes this into account. The score may change once we have access to these sections of the game.
Buy It/Don’t Buy It = Buy if this type of gameplay floats your boat
Will you play it 12 months later? = Single Player no (multiplayer may sway this view)
Paul Fiander (wellbeingosteo)
Pictures from Nordic Games PR