Run and gun with Hell on your back.
Published by Nordic Games, Painkiller: Hell & Damnation is finally bringing some old school shooting action to the consoles with a release on both Xbox360 and PS3. Can it really appeal to the modern gamer of today?
Well, GGUK took a look at the PC version of this “remake” back in October last year and, while it provided a nice sense of nostalgia and the relaxing mindless violence of shooting without thinking, felt that it came in somewhat short and feeling very dated. Playing the game now on the PS3, it can be said that nothing has changed.
For those who want to know the tale of Daniel Garner, join the queue. The story is laughably absent in Hell & Damnation, explaining only that Daniel was not a nice guy and now has to harvest a bucket-load of souls in order to see his dead wife again. This gives all the reason a player should need to kill absolutely everything that moves, provided that player doesn’t actually need a story.
But Painkiller: Hell & Damnation comes from a time when it was all about the shooting. Stories just didn’t exist as players were expected just to kill everything whilst running around and trying not to be killed. There is no cover to hide behind, enemies will run straight for you (unless they get stuck behind a piece of the scenery) and the boss battles are both long and harsh.
Expect all of the above – Painkiller: Hell & Damnation makes no apologies for its old-school approach. The player will work through one suitably demonic looking area to the next, slaughtering everything that moves in an attempt to harvest the required souls and finish the game. Players will be given a wide range of strange weaponry with which to achieve their goal, including your standard shotgun, to the more exotic stake firing gun that pins enemies to the wall, and some kind of portable blender which… well, it blends the demons.
To add a bit of spice to the constant blood bath, players can collect Tarot cards which give them boosts, and every 66 souls that they collect will result in a demonic transformation to dish out even more death to the demonic host. You want more? Sorry, that’s about it…
Well, saying that, there is also the co-op option to play the entire game through (which I should point out can be finished in around five hours) with a buddy. There are also multiple difficulty levels to aspire to, and a multiplayer offering. The multiplayer allows for some Deathmatch or Capture the Flag action, but in this case just tends to be an excuse for inflicting mindless violence on your buddies. There are no tactics, just shoot and kill.
But this is all that you would expect from a game like Painkiller: Hell & Damnation. It is a retro shooter, designed to appeal to the most basic of instincts and fans of the Serious Sam games. In this respect, the console version of the game is exactly like the PC version.
But where the PS3 version has some issues is in the controls and the visuals. Playing a game like Painkiller, which is dependent on the shooting skills of the player and is aimed directly at the hardcore genre fans, with a controller can be frustrating. A game such as this performs far better with the classic keyboard and mouse combo, leaving the average console player wondering why they keep dying.
And the visuals in Painkiller: Hell & Damnation, although improved upon from when the original Painkiller game came out, just look really dated on the big screen. The PC version looked passable, but when played on a TV through a console things just don’t look good at all. A feast for the eyes, this is not.
So, where does this leave Painkiller: Hell & Damnation? The game is not completely without charm – it plays well at the most basic level and certainly requires much less thinking than most shooters. But console gamers have higher expectations than those who play on PC, and I think these console gamers would expect more than Painkiller: H&D can deliver. If you have played Serious Sam and enjoyed it, or are a big fan of retro shooters, then there is some fun to be had here.