Painkiller Review (PC)
The story of the game is simple, and is conveyed through pre-rendered cutscenes. What happens is that the main character, Daniel Garner, dies in a car accident. He lands up in purgatory, while his beautiful wife is in heaven. Heís told that if he fights against the forces of hell, namely Luciferís army, he will be allowed into heaven. Although simplistic, it does set a reasonable stage for the insane amount of killing youíll be doing.
One of the standout features of the game is its physics system. All the enemies and even some objects are governed by real-world physics. Itís very satisfying to shoot a rocket into a crowd of enemies, and see them flying in every direction as they react to the radius of the blast. Also, there is a stakegun in the game that will allow you to pin enemies to walls. They react to the stake very realistically as they flail backwards and their limbs shake from the impact of the wall. If you shoot an enemy up close with a shotgun, they will explode into a million blood drenched pieces. Little touches like this truly show the marvel of the graphics engine which runs smooth and looks great, especially at higher resolutions.
The gameplay is where the game really shines. Although the run-and-gun action in the game is simplistic, itís done better than ever before. The action just feels so satisfying, such as when you first use the stake gun and pin some poor sucker to a wall. There is only 5 weapons, but every one has an alternate fire mode. The most impressive of which is the rocket launcher/ chaingun combo; quite possibly the greatest gun, ever. Also, throughout the 24 levels that are in the campaign, youíll literally face a new enemy every level. The enemies arenít too bright, but else would you expect from all kinds of zombies and whatnot?
After each of the 5 chapters that break up the two dozen levels, youíll face a huge boss thatíll often require some thinking to defeat, because each boss has a weak point that you must exploit. For example, one ďswamp monsterĒ that you will face will be seemingly invulnerable to your weapons. However, you will notice that once in a while, bubbles will appear next to him as he attacks you. If you shoot the bubbles, they explode and make him vulnerable to your attacks. It is little touches like this that make the boss battles seem like mini-puzzles.
The multiplayer is, although simplistic, is fast-paced and exciting. Stake-gun shootouts are extremely fun, as now youíre pinning real people, not just monsters to walls. Itís most reminiscent of the Quake twitch-reliant matches, and thatís not a bad thing at all. Thereís a few spins on the deathmatch formula, such as the people can fly mode. This is the most intense shootout youíll been in, ever. Youíre in a small place with unlimited rocket launcher ammo; with up to 15 other players. Need I say more? Oh yes, you can only damage people that are in the air, so youíll be shooting at peopleís feet, in an attempt to get them in the air, and then finally shoot them in the air, while others are trying to do the same to you. Intense.
Overall, Painkiller is a high-paced game with great production values. However, the lack of complexity may turn off some people. The game itself is of decent length, and should take almost nine hours to finish, but all of it is run and gun action. If you donít like running around mindlessly blasting thousands of monsters, you wonít like this game. If you enjoy games like Doom and Quake, youíll absolutely love Painkiller.