Painkiller: Hell and Damnation – Review (PS3, 360)

written by Gary Weeks on 7.7.13 painkiller-hell-and-damnation

Read the title, doesn’t it give you just an inch of excitement? Hell and Damnation, two words that can only indicate that this game features evil in its purest form.

So what of Painkiller? Does this mean you’re the good guy sent to destroy this evil? The Farm 51 and Nordic Games transport us to the planes of hell in their combination of a remake and a sequel,Painkiller: Hell and Damnation, a first person shooter that pits the player against hordes of every kind of hellish demons you can think of.

The developers have up-ed the ante with regards to the original Painkillers graphics and added a lot more content as well as a new story featured in the campaign mode making Hell and Damnation a worthy sequel.

After ridding the world of evil in the last game, Daniel Garner finds himself back at the graveyard where his quest once began when he is deprived of seeing his wife just one last time. Out of nowhere, Death himself appears offering Daniel a chance to be reunited with his wife in exchange for 7000 souls, Daniel agrees and is given the Soulcatcher, a weapon that destroys foes but also sucks in their souls.

Death then transports Daniel to familiar places such as castles, monasteries, graveyards and more. The story of Painkiller: Hell and Damnation is a missed opportunity, by this I don’t mean the story is bad, just badly told with only an introduction sequence and an ending and nothing in between. We never explore Daniel as a person or his wife and the origins of how he ended up at the graveyard are never revealed. There are far too many gaps in the story to really relate to or care about Daniel and his quest to see his wife.

Playing Painkiller: Hell and Damnation instantly reminded me of Quake 3 Arena with an inbuilt Horde mode, each weapon has a primary and secondary firing ability to help decimate the waves and waves of enemies that just run towards you without even an ounce of care in the world.

Many enemies have ranged attacks so they will be reluctant to rush toward you but their attacks are very easy to avoid. Daniel does have a jumping ability but unless you’re vaulting over crates or barrels, you’ll never need it, again a missed opportunity.

The overall action gets old after a while with the gameplay being repetitive and you will soon find yourself button bashing as enemies queue up in front of you waiting to be killed, yawn! There is plenty to collect in levels in the form of coloured souls that are easy enough to see which are health pick-ups and souls that need to be collected to unlock Tarot cards, which act as perks for Daniel to give him the upper hand. Daniel also has a Demon mode which gives him a boost in damage dealing and makes him faster for a small amount of time.

The aim of each level is to kill everything that moves then step on the red pentagram to proceed to the next area, beat all the areas to unlock a portal to the next location.

Enemies come fast and hard and on the higher difficulties this can be overwhelming and insanely tough meaning only set it on hard if you’re a grand master of first person shooters.

The campaign can be played co-operatively with another player which increases the replayability however it comes at a hefty price; the enemies are a lot tougher and in more numbers.

Multiplayer PvP is present with standard deathmatch, team deathmatch, capture the flag and duel modes and also a survival mode which pits players against each other to see who can survive the longest.

Painkiller: Hell and Damnation biggest strength is its visuals which have been ramped up in comparison of the first Painkiller game.

The weird and wonderful arsenal at your disposal look highly detailed and feel powerful against the superbly nasty looking creatures that you will encounter which also come in extra-large. Problems come with size however to the players’ advantage as the larger enemies frequently got stuck allowing me to easily obliterate it with my overpoweringly devastating shotgun.

The levels felt like decorated mazes as each had many nooks and crannies but none felt refreshingly different to the other apart from how it looked which was a shame (what was I saying about missed opportunities?)

The ghastly horde from hell comes hard and fast in Painkiller: Hell and Damnation without any AI which some may enjoy but most will wish the Soulcatcher was real so they could shoot themselves as it gets old fast.

Multiplayer is a nice breather away from the half existing story however offering a nice variety of modes that will keep players busy until they feel the need to proceed with the single player campaign, nice visuals though.

3 stars
New Panasonic 3DTVs available

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