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Painkiller: Hell & Damnation (PS3) Review

 
painkiller hell and damnation header
painkiller hell and damnation header
painkiller hell and damnation header

 
At A Glance...
 

Formats: PS3, PC
 
Genre:
 
Year: ,
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
4.0
4/ 10


User Rating
no ratings yet

 

We liked?


  • Has a healthy dollop of nostalgic shooting action

Not so much?


  • Average in almost every way possible
  • Becomes tedious the longer you play
  • Generic level design and empty feeling environments abound
  • Is stuck on a 2004 design doc that was based on 1990s video games


Final Fiendish Findings?

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation come from a long, long lone of budget minded PC titles. People Can Fly birthed the original Painkiller title back in 2004 on the PC in a homage to the golden-age of first person shooters. Drawing inspiration directly from Quake, Doom, Unreal Tournament and others classics of the time the game […]

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Posted August 25, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation come from a long, long lone of budget minded PC titles. People Can Fly birthed the original Painkiller title back in 2004 on the PC in a homage to the golden-age of first person shooters. Drawing inspiration directly from Quake, Doom, Unreal Tournament and others classics of the time the game added a grisly and macabre overtone to an already saturated market space.


Despite that the original Painkiller got People Can Fly noticed and they went on to make some expansions and a sequel before handing over the franchise and moving on to their work with Epic – Gears, Gears 2, Bulletstorm and Gears Judgement for example.

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation continues along the exact same path that the original title did over 9 years ago and it deviates very little from the path. Focusing on a game that feels like a multiplayer horde or arena title whether you are online or offline.

Graphically the series has seem the same sort of stagnation as it has in it’s gameplay department. It looks passable as a modern downloadable title but not much more than that. The engine looks strained under the mediocre load and it’s only the sheer amount of enemies that is throws at you that makes you feel like the game is even trying to do something to impress you.

painkiller hell and damnation 1

You make your way through the realms clearing wave after wave of undead nasties as you try your hardest to see through the hackneyed plot. You play many times maligned Daniel Gardner. He fought the entire forces of hell last time out for the chance to see his wife one more time. The game starts with you being offered the same deal again only this time it’s Death himself offering the deal and he promises (pinky-swears!) you’ll get her back this time.

You can play the single player campaign in co-op mode if you should desire and it’ll scale accordingly to that. The waves of levels and chapters will keep you amused for a few hours provided you can stomach such repetitive gameplay. The weapons do at least offer some light relief with the SoulSucker gun offering great amusement as you fire off saw blades at oncoming hordes. Production values are moderate to low at best and the voice work is unintentionally poor.

In a title such as Painkiller: Hell & Damnation you’d expect the main thrust of the game to at least hit the ground running. After all the whole point of the game and it’s tedious “slaughter me 7000 souls to get your missus back” plot is that it’ll be great fun carving your way through the endless crowds of the undead. Unfortunately this isn’t the case here. Weapons feel powerful but do little damage. Combat turns in to a lot of running backwards and scraping together enough ammo to kill things – you should NEVER need to scrape enough ammo together in a bullet-riddled shooter like this as wasting scores of bullets is half the fun!

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Levels seem like dingy graveyard after dingy graveyard. You can see the entrance points, choke points and where to move next from a mile off as it’s all so painfully obvious. Each level must be played from start to end to progress to the next. These can contain several chapters each of a sizeable duration. You’ll tire long before the end of each level though and just yearn for the chapter end screen to come around before you nod off from tedium.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been really hard on Painkiller: Hell & Damnation. It is after all more than functional and not actually broken in any way physically. It’s just stuck back in the design model from 2004 – which itself was borrowing from games released in the mid to late 1990′s!

I love a good shooter. Rage and Serious Sam 3 were good examples of a purer shooting experience incorporating the run and gun of the older titles with some of the refinements of the newer ones.

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation just boils down to pure mediocrity. IT does nothing new, it tries nothing new and it gets boring fast.


Zeth

 
Zeth is our EU ninja and Editor in Chief. He's been writing about video games since 2008 when he started on BrutalGamer. He's pretty old and has been a gamer since he played Space Invaders as a young boy in the 80's. His genre tastes lean towards platformers, point-and-click adventure, action-adventure and shooters but he'll turn his hand to anything.