Painkiller recalls the days when FPS was much simpler. No airstrikes, no UAVs, barely any HUD to speak of… Call of Duty might receive the critical acclaim for revolutionising the genre but there are still options for those craving the old fashioned ways. Painkiller Hell and Damnation is for you.
A slight remake of the original PC game, Hell and Damnation follows a very basic story. You play as Daniel Garner who died in a car accident with his wife Catherine. While Catherine vanished, Daniel was left stranded in purgatory and seemingly acquired demon killing powers. Death appears to him and promises Daniel that he will find Catherine if Daniel defeats the four boss demons. This puts you into a series of levels that play almost like gauntlets with waves and waves of enemies to destroy.
The simplicity of the game shines here. The game is entirely about how fast you can mow down an oncoming horde. With little variety to the single shot weapons (the game actually promotes itself with this line: “No AK-47, No M16 or other weapons like that; just a healthy dose of .666 calibre weapons!”), your accuracy with a mouse is tested. It harks back to the days of arena styled FPS games such as Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena but neither of those games were ever this intense. Cranking up the difficulty is almost suicidal here with deaths guaranteed. Luckily, the game’s checkpoint system is fairly frequent and puts you back into the action with little time wasted. There’s also a neat mechanic where picking up souls off of dead enemies will grant you access to demon powers, allowing you to run around destroying enemies with an attack similar to Skyrim’s Dragon Shouts. The only downside to this is that this power activates automatically and will do so even if there’s no enemies around; wasting your chance to slay groups of enemies with ease.
The level design is fairly basic but is aesthetically pleasing. You will battle it out through graveyards, circuses and haunted houses.
version of the campaign is available too although getting some extra help will also increase the difficulty of the game, either through number of enemies or enemy health. There is also a horde style mode for up to 8 players using various sections of the game’s levels. PvP modes are also included such as Deathmatch and Capture the Flag although the servers do seem to be a little empty at the moment to fully enjoy these modes.
The main problem for Painkiller is that compared to other FPS games on the market, it falls short. But of course, it’s not intended to be a modern FPS game. If you want a completely different experience to the likes of CoD and Halo, this is the game for you. It’s a tad pricey at £18 (although still cheaper than the majority of retail releases of course) so you may want to wait for the inevitable Steam sales before picking this up. Whenever you buy the game though, you can expect to have some fun with a blast from the past.