Painkiller: Hell & Damnation PlayStation 3 Review
Peter Donnell+ / 12 months ago
Painkiller is one of the classic names when it comes to video game shooters and while it may not have the high-ranking notoriety of games like Quake, Doom, Serious Sam and countless others it still has a sizeable fan base. The series has gotten more and more attention in recent years than it ever did in its original years, yet this latest incarnation “Hell & Damnation” is looking to bring back the old school shooter on two fronts, by serving as both a remake and sequel to the original, think of this not as a HD remake, but more as a faithful tribute act, or the comeback tour.
I hate to throw around the term “old school” but for once this much is true, Painkiller is a proper old school shooter and if you’re a fan of any shooter from about ten years ago such as Serious Sam then you’re going to be more than familiar with what to expect here. You play a bad ass dude and there are countless foes that come at you like iron filings to a magnet, all of whom are hell-bent on absorbing bullets from your seemingly endless ammo supply. This stuff is old hat, but it’s a highlight of the fun years, before we landed in our cut-scene riddled, corridor shooter era that we have today.
You play as the attitude filled gritty hero of the day known as Daniel, whose wife was cruelly taken from him by no one less than the devil himself. Spurred on by this, Daniel is tricked into trying to recapture his wife, leaving him with a contract with Death, harvest 7000 souls and he can have his wife back.
While this all sounds terribly exciting, it’s really typical fare for and old school shooter and those who played FPS games back in the day already know what is coming, endless and repetitive trigger pulling that would make Borderlands 2 blush. You work your way through one area after another that will grind you down bit by bit, mowing down countless monsters of various shapes and sizes until they are no more. Kill them all and the door of your area opens, or a new marker appears, move through it or to it, rinse, repeat.
Every now and then you’ll find yourself faced with something crazy and much bigger, a super enemy or boss that will test your ability to fire while moving sideways until your ammo is spent, there is little in the way of tactics here, just aim, shoot, kill, dodge, kill, shoot… you get the idea.
I know it sounds like I’m panning the gameplay and I guess I am a fair bit, but not on purpose, the game is honestly very repetitive, but the game WAS repetitive and this is the tribute to the old school shooter, and a faithful tribute at that. If you’re a lover of the modern shooter such as Battlefield, you are likely not going to love this game at all, but if you miss the good old days of strafing and firing increasingly more ridiculous guns at increasingly more ridiculous enemies until your trigger finger goes numb, then that is exactly what Painkiller: Hell & Damnation will offer you.
There are a few perks that keep things entertaining for a while, such as collecting 66 souls, which allows you to turn into a demon and dispatch foes even faster with a single attack, or weapons that fire saw blades and some truly grim-looking foes, but again this all becomes very repetitive also. This is however all let down further by some truly headache inducing graphics, expect out of focus textures, rough edges, over used assets, poor lighting effects and a view bob that is so severe I was certain my player was in fact on a pogo stick, inducing more motion sickness on me than any game ever should.
Is this one of the worst shooters I’ve played in the last couple of years, oh god yes it’s absolutely nauseating in its repetitiveness and sloppy graphics presentation, but on the other hand this is a remarkably accurate and true to form tribute to the earlier days of FPS gaming, where madness prevailed and absurdity was king, ten years ago this game would have rocked. However, not all the advancements made in modern-day shooters should be ignored and I think there is a lot of room to tighten up the experience of Painkiller, but Hell & Damnation isn’t it.
- A true to form classic bullet fest
- Fans of the original will love it
- Feels more like a lazy port than anything else
- Tiresome by today’s standards