Painkiller: Hell & Damnation Review
You may or may not be aware of People Can Fly’s 2004 game Painkiller, a somewhat retro styled FPS where the protagonist murders endless hordes of monsters for reasons that you don’t particularly care about. It was a love-letter to the oldschool days of Doom and Quake and made huge use of the Havok 2.0 engine to maximise the glee at which you threw various nasties around. The gameplay was simple and tight, with just five guns that each had an alternate fire mode. No gun was wasted and the boss fights were usually than just “shoot until dead”. There was a fun tarot card mechanic which allowed you to earn cards for completing in-game challenges and to equip them for short boosts during gameplay. In short, it was a great game that didn’t particularly tax your brain with bothersome “story”.
Painkiller: Hell & Damnation was released last year and is the work of The Farm 51. In essence it is a modernisation of the earlier game in the same style as the “HD” versions of other games are appearing. Gameplay is much the same although there are a few new weapons added. The core is still about killing monsters, finding secrets and generally old school goodness. The updated graphics actually help underline just how bizzare and creepy the artwork of the gameworld is, with little details that were difficult to depict in 2004’s technological limits standing clear and obvious in this version. A few DLCs have been released so far and more are planned. Mostly they are some multiplayer maps with some added single player maps that are slight thematic twists on existing areas of the game but the tarot card system allows for each achievement to unlock more useful abilities in both single and multiplayer.
If you were a fan of the old game then this is literally more of the same. It might be a bit too similar for some, but I enjoyed it all over again. If you’ve never played it before then I highly recommend it as an example of the kind of gameplay over style FPS games that we don’t really see anymore. The base game is very reasonably priced on Steam and you get a lot of gameplay for your money. This is definitely a game that any FPS gamer should know.