Pain First Look

Later this year, the PlayStation Network will bring the pai...eh, you get the idea. Trust us, this is one maliciously unique downloadable game.

If you ever wondered what Burnout's crash mode would be like if you were launching people instead of cars into horribly dangerous situations, guess what: Sony and developer Idol Minds already thought of that, and they're already hard at work turning the idea into a downloadable PS3 game to be released later this year on the PlayStation Network. That's the easiest way we can think of to describe the aptly named Pain, which is all about causing pain to the poor, innocent subjects of your unfettered sadism. Combine Havok physics, a giant slingshot, and one large urban environment chock-full of hazards, and you'll get a decent idea of what Pain is all about.

In the game's free play mode, called Paindemonium, you simply get to load up that giant slingshot with your choice of character (we saw a spiky-haired guy, a chimpanzee, and a mime), pull it back with the right analog stick, point, and shoot. The slingshot overlooks a wide-open cityscape full of skyscrapers, construction sites, outdoor cafes, traffic-laden streets, and a multitude of other features with high potential to cause your poor projectile serious injury. You can even control the pose your subject assumes before it launches, so if you want that frat boy to go flying with his legs spread wide open, well, why not? After all, your score is determined solely by the amount of pain you cause to him.

There's more to the gameplay once your guy is in the air, though. You've got a subtle amount of air control, so you can guide him toward a particularly damaging feature like an explosive gas tank. You can make him grab on to most surfaces, which can be useful for abruptly stopping midflight and then dropping into a dangerous situation. You get only one grab per launch, though. Lastly, once you're on the ground you can "twitch" a little to move your subject a few feet in a particular direction (which can make the all-important difference between sitting on the sidewalk and lying in the middle of a busy intersection). The game keeps track of every object you collide with, and you can rack up damage multipliers for doing creative things like finding a way to hit the same object more than once.

Paindemonium is really just practice for Pain's challenge modes, which give a little purpose to all this destructive madness. In mime toss, the object is to fire your character at a mime who's dancing in the environment, grab that mime in midflight, and then hurl him into a predefined target before you hit the ground. The "spank the monkey" mode (yes, we know) peppers the city with chimps, and you'll have to find a way to chain-bop them from their usually precarious perches all in the same turn. Finally, we got hands-on with the horse mode, which works more or less like the same game in a basketball context. The participating players take turns competing for the highest score here, but the catch is that the first player in a round determines which object in the environment must be hit first. So whether it's an enormous billboard or a tiny target like a dinner plate at 100 yards, every other player must hit that same object first and top the starting player's score to keep from receiving a letter of the word "horse" and eventually losing the game.

Pain is an uproarious sort of fun, from the little we got to play of a three-player game of horse. As much as many publishers like to bandy the phrase "emergent gameplay" around, this is one of the purer examples we've seen of that concept recently--we saw one unexpected and often hilarious (or hilariously frustrating) situation unfold after another as we flung our characters to their doom. The whole city feels sort of like a giant Rube Goldberg machine, with cars and trains zooming around and lots of collapsible structures everywhere that can be coaxed into causing some excellent chain reactions. Sony and Idol Minds plan to support the game after release by encouraging players to submit ideas and testimonials from their time spent experimenting with all these physics-driven toys. Those ideas may then be turned into downloadable new game modes that will hit the PSN later on.

The developers already have some downloadable content in mind, though. The game will ship with only one city environment at launch, but at least one more will be made available as a microtransacted download sometime after release. Similarly, only four characters will be playable initially; you'll be able to get the other four in the same fashion later on. After our hands-on time with Pain, we don't feel like its basic concept (and the almost limitless and potentially comical outcomes that can result from it) will get old anytime soon, so those subsequent pieces of downloadable content may be quite worthwhile indeed. The game is due out later this year. Stay tuned for more.

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29 comments
eminem_trick_01
eminem_trick_01

it seems a normal game with 1 hour of entertain or less :( where's the fun when u shot someone (in the game) with the slingshot, but i rather play it first ,maybe this only the first preview. still to come..

coolcon2000
coolcon2000

This seems to be fun....Looking forward to it :P

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

If its under £8 I might get it. the game does not look like it will entertain anyone for more than 10 muinets but it looks cool.

theKSMM
theKSMM

I'm sure the protesters will be at Kinko's getting their picket signs ready for the day this one comes out. It sounds like a bit of sadistic fun. I'm glad that they decided to release it as a downloadable title rather than an in-store purchase. I can imagine that this would be fun for a few hours and quickly fade after that.

haesuse
haesuse

as long as its not over $5 on PSN i'll get it just like the rest of the fun little, cant play over 10 hours before they get boring, games that are available for dl so far!

anamnawshad
anamnawshad

Looks like a fun game for a while. I think Jack Thompson will be looking for this game....;)

WalterPaladines
WalterPaladines

OMG, amazing game!! I must get it the day it comes out.

cuneofamily
cuneofamily

Hopefully it will incorporate motion control (sixaxis).!.

BladeofImmortal
BladeofImmortal

I'm loving these original games on the PSN, more games should come out like that.

PseudoFinrod
PseudoFinrod

This game looks like fun! Hope it comes out well-if it does, it might well replace Flatout as the ragdoll-hurling game of choice.

Sony110
Sony110

Lol, game looks fun, but it looks even more CRAZY!!!

Erole
Erole

Better not cost a bomb. i'm poor enough as it is.

HXCDEW
HXCDEW

Oooh.. looks interesting. I want pain!

TOTAL_DEFENSE_0
TOTAL_DEFENSE_0

idk, this game seems kinda....odd, to say the least. lets hope that the whole game is not just that

dundee85
dundee85

This looks really cool wish i had ps3, got a 360 instead and have to put up with the same old boring xbox live generic shooters and not to mention constant system failures

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

What an odd idea for a game. It does sound like it could be fun for a few minutes but I could see it wearing thin really quick. As long as it is intended for a quick bit of fun (ala Warioware) then this should be pretty good.

Zero_Beat
Zero_Beat

I like the sound of Spank the Monkey. ;)

Djungelurban
Djungelurban

Sounds a bit like Porrasturvat, only in a much more extreme fashion. And know how addicting that game is... MOAHAHAHA!

bluegender
bluegender

Lol,this game looks crazy as hell.

Sanguis_Malus
Sanguis_Malus

Its good to See that the PS3 network is getting some unusual and quirky titles !

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

LOL, the trailer is too funny (there's a clearer one at gametrailers.com).

Ibacai
Ibacai

Wow, I can see this turning out to be loads of fun.

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

sounds like my type of game to play:P..the title says it all