Painkiller gold edition is a great mix of old-school shooting that fans of Serious sam will enjoy, plus it's only $20.
zwulith wrote this review on .
Painkiller is a first person shooter 150% of the way. It is nothing but shooting lots and lots of demons in about every type of environment you can think of. From gothic churches to industrial facilities, all of the places you fight in look great, but they look even better with the jaw dropping physics in full blast that makes every shot you take from that shotgun or chaingun about as satisfying as shooting gets.
Painkiller doesn't stray to far from the roots when all you needed to do was shoot stuff and move on, as a matter of fact that's pretty much all you do. There isn't to much that really breaks up the action except for maybe some walking/running from place to place, but even this is somewhat action packed because you have to jump over stuff and even shoot the occasional demon that gets in your way while your going to your next arena to fight. Once you get there, walls surround you, even behind you and the action starts. This is pretty much the name of the game and Painkiller does a fine thanks to the totally ridiculous psychics system that makes every other shooter obsolete when it comes to shotgun effects. When you shoot a blast from your shotgun, your enemies get blown back to the wall, I mean literally, blown back about a couple dozen feet minimum. Everything can be destroyed if it isn't your enemy and blood just oozes everywhere when you split your foes apart, no matter what weapon your using. Even if your using the chaingun, they still get knocked back a bit and blood flies everywhere. It's moments like these when Painkiller is at it's best. Simply put, the physics system is the core reason to play this game.
That's not to say that Painkiller doesn't have other neat things too. Actually, the graphics is one of the highest points, with beautiful and lush surroundings with textures that will wow you from start to finish. The graphics do take a toll at times with quite a bit of slowdown when lots of enemies are around you. Since this game takes a lot of hardware and lots of enemies are always surrounding you, be ready for the framerate to drop. Still though, the graphics are a killer and since everything explodes and breaks apart to an incredible degree, you can't help but appreciate and accept when the framerate drops from time to time.
Painkiller does have a story actually. This isn't just sensless action. The story to Painkiller is rather unique, especially since it stars a dead man. That's right, you play as Daniel Garner who dies in a car crash at the start of the game and then is forced to fight through wave upon wave of demons in order to be with his loving wife again, who also died in the car crash with him while they were going to dinner since it was her birthday. Painkiller's story is actually pretty well done, with quite a bit of surprises and this is odd since this is one of the last games I would have thought to have a good story. Painkiller has no cutscenes except at the beginning of each chapter you have a cutscene that fills you more in on the story. A big turning point happens towards the end of the game that you probably wouldn't have expected, so by all means the story is well done, it just isn't the reason your going to play this game.
The big problem with Painkiller is that it can get a bit repetitive after a while. Since all you do for about 10 or more hours is shoot stuff, it really gets repetitive and can make your body go numb after a while since all your doing is just shooting stuff. It is oddly satisfying though and believe me, it never gets old, but still all you do is shoot hundreds of foes each chapter.
The weapons in Painkiller is actually one of it's weakest points. Although they are all very impressive looking in design and are satisfying to shoot, you only have 5 of them. Actually 10 when you think about it, since each weapon has 2 different effects. Your weapon arsenal consists of these 5 weapons: shotgun, spear gun, chaingun, ninja star gun, and your painkiller. The shotguns second effect is the ice gun which freezes everything so that the shotgun can kill your foe in one shot. The spear gun throws grenades, the chaingun has a rocket launcher on it, which is probably the best gun ever made in a shooter. A chaingun/rocket launcher weapon is ingenious and is one of my favorite guns in any shooter. Lastly, your ninja star gun can also electrify your enemies. So each of these 2 effects on every one of your weapons works great, but it would have been nice to have had a wider weapon arsenal.
The enemies you face are downright impressive. No matter where your at, whether it's an icy bridge you have to cross or an old asylum, all of the enemies look spectacular. Take the machine gun bikeman in the docks level, they look so detailed and are so tough looking that you can easily get intimidated by these guys. All of your foes look great and pretty much every stage has a different type of enemies so your never facing the same type of foe.
The boss fights are some of the biggest, baddest looking guys to ever come along to a shooter or otherwise. Seriously, these guys reach a bulking 300 feet and are all very cool looking. They are very fun to fight and are impressive no matter what's going on. Did I mention there absolutely huge? To take them out, depending on the boss, you have to shoot them in a key place or just shoot them period, either way there about as impressive as it gets and really shows what Painkiller is capable of.
The audio is no slouch either. The voice acting is top notch despite being a bit over dramatic at times, especially when Daniel can't face having to fight through hordes of hellish monsters, but hey who could!? The weapon sounds will make you jump every time you hear them and the heavy metal music that plays every time a new wave of enemies comes your way is a hit and miss. I don't mind the metal music since I can listen to all types of music equally, but some people will absolutely hate it, that's about the only thing that brings down the game's audio.
Painkiller has some real good replay value. From the online like Quake deathmatch, team deathmatch, and really cool deathmatch where your weapon you use changes every 30 seconds is a ton of fun, especially when you think you have the guy with a shotgun blast, but then it turns to a chaingun/rocket launcher gun and then you blast him with chaingun bullets which doesn't kill him instantly like the shotgun would have. The single player game also has lots of replay value with the bonuses in each mission. Every time you finish a mission you get a score and if you can get enough kills, finish it in the right amount of time, get enough gold, and what difficulty you have it on all ends up on the tarot cards you get, which gives you extra powers such as more damage and also opens up bonus levels. These bonus levels can't be opened up on the easiest difficulty, so in order to see the most of this game, you have to do it on harder difficulties. No matter what your skill, the game can cater to you, whether your good at Serious sam like shooters or not.
Painkiller is a throwback to the glory days of Doom and Serious sam and the results is a must play for shooter fans, but if the shooter genre isn't your thing, you might want to look eslewhere. Still, this is a solid 10-15 hour game that has satisfying results, even though it can make you go numb after a while.
PAINKILLER BATTLE OUT OF HELL REVIEW
When Painkiller was released last year, it was really an impressive ride. Not only did it have a physics engine that blew apart every monster you killed, but it also had great graphics and had some impressive level variety. It wasn't without it's problems though. One was little to no replay value, although the shooting was a ton of fun, it got a tad repetitive after a while. Painkiller battle out of Hell returns with all of these features and a few new ones. The biggest is the new levels while some new multiplayer modes have also been added.You also have two new weapons and some new enemies to fight against.
Painkiller definitely ended with an anti-climax and, thankfully Battle out of Hell takes off right after that "ending". The hero of Painkiller Daniel Garner, is back and is battling his way out of Hell. He eventually gets out of Hell and has to stop Alastor, the super villian from the first game. In order to stop him, from taking over the world he must go through ten different levels and shoot up hundreds upon hundreds of monsters and demons. The problem with the story, just like in the first game, is that it's pretty convoluted. It's really not that original of a story and doesn't make too much sense in the long run. Why only send one man to do all of this? How can he possibly take out all of these demons and bosses that are larger than life all by himself? A personal question I have about this game and even in the original is how can Daniel, who always has a shotgun with him in every cutscene, never have to reload it? He fires off dozens of shots in the beginning of the game and never once has to reload it. There are also not that many cutscenes in the game. Two to be exact. Painkiller battle out of hell is yet another excuse to create a Serious Sam type iteration, although the shooting mechanics work well.
As I said before, Painkiller battle out of Hell, just like it's predecessor is a first-person shooter with a heavy emphasis on shooting. There's rarely anything that breaks up the action, although this time around, there seems to be quite a bit more puzzles that are more frustrating then they should be. This isn't a game for puzzles and, unfortunately, this brings down the fun factor quite a bit. A good example of these puzzles is in the Colosseum level later on in the game. You have to jump through three different pits and the only way to do this is to do a running jump and time it just right. It's harder than it sounds because there isn't a whole lot of room to jump and there are small ledges that stick out that you have to use to jump across. There are also different puzzles, such as the boulders that you have to run past at the right time. This really breaks up the action in what is otherwise one fast-paced game that never stops.
The level design has taken a big turn too. Some of the levels have a gothic look that really fits this game well, but other levels are just way off. The best two levels are actually the first two. The orphanage and satanist park levels are great. These are the only two great levels, all of the others are pretty uninterestng. Two levels look the same and the others just blend together.
Painkiller battle out of hell is a bit harder than the original Painkiller. The jumping puzzles are only part of it.The other part is the monsters, which seem to take twice as much damage as before to take out. The shotgun, which was hands down, the most powerful weapon of the first game, is now pretty lackluster and doesn't do all that much. Luckily, there are two new weapons which make up for the shotgun's loss of power.
The two new weapons are a machine gun/flamethrower and stake gun- sniper rifle/grenade launcher. These weapons are just upgrades to the original stake gun and the chain gun/rocket launcher. The new machine gun/flamethrower weapon is by far the better of the two mainly because the firing speed, while in short bursts, is much more powerful than the chaingun's firing speed. The flamethrower portion is pretty much an update to the rocket launcher part of the chaingun as it fires off a satisfying array of fire that is perfect for crowd control. The lesser of the two weapons is the stake gun/grenade launcher which actually fires off five stakes at once. The problem is that these stakes are pretty inaccurate and thanks to the quickness of your enemies and the speed of the game, makes for a lackluster weapon. The second weapon, which fires off 10 grenades at once, is also pretty lackluster. It isn't your best choice because the grenades don't explode, on impact, so even if you have a bunch of foes in front of you and the grenades hit them, they still won't explode. If there's a wall, it ends up backfiring and hitting you instead.You also don't get a lot of ammo for this weapon. Still, the machine gun/flamethrower really makes up for it.
The graphics in Painkiller were fantastic. This time around the graphics have been upgraded tremendously. The reflections in the water are brilliant. The character models and textures and environments are also much cleaner this time around. The physics system really kicks in when foes explode. I really loved how the first-person framerate rarely dropped when you have lots of enemies around you, but no game is perfect and Painkiller battle out of Hell's cutscenes look pretty ugly. There rather grainy-looking cutscenes that are not impressive at all. Still, the graphics are tough to beat with their clean textures and breathtaking scenery.
All of the monsters in the game are very well-designed and have lots of distinctive features. The zombie children in the orphanage level, have old rags for clothes and limp around in a slow creepy way and then burst into fire at random moments. Each of the levels has their own type of monsters and demons and it really fits the level well. The Colosseum level has lots of different types of gladiators and the Satanist Amusment Park has clowns with dynamite. It's nice touches like these that give Painkiller battle out of Hell lots of flavor.
On the downside though, the game is extremely short and can be finished in about four hours. Ten levels does not last long at all and a short game like this does not imply much replay value. The good news is that the game is only retailing for $20, so it's not all bad. Painkiller battle out of hell's multiplayer has also been tweaked with new maps and new modes such as capture the flag. While Painkiller battle out of Hell's capture the flag isn't totally remarkable compared to games such as Battlefield 2 or Unreal Tournament 2004, it's still nice to see Painkiller branching it's Quake kind of multiplayer a bit.
The game's audio hasn't been messed with much, either. The musical score still has wailing guitars, but the noise of these guitars is much quiter. If acid rock or heavy metal is your kind of thing, then this might be a bad change. The weapons themselves sound pretty impressive, especially the new machine gun which has almost a bigger blast then the shotgun! The voiceovers of the enemies are pretty good and some of them have these snarling barks, combined with the brilliant textures and lighting, that really sends a chill up your spine.
Painkiller battle out of Hell has lots of different difficulties. If your new to FPS gaming, then you will love the easy difficulty that recharges your health to 100 every time you come across a new checkpoint. Beating the game at Nightmare difficulty will unlock the hardest difficulty, which doesn't recharge your health at the checkpoints like the easiest difficulty does, or collecting souls. There's also some extras to the game, such as if you do certain things like collect enough gold, not take any damage, or find all the secrets in that level, you will be rewarded with tarot cards, which will unlock cheats and even a bonus level. This bonus level actually isn't to impressive and is actually more like a wimpy boss fight more than anything. The boss fights are still pretty impressive, but you only have 1 real one at the end of the game, although there is quite a few mini-boss fights throughout the game.
The mini boss fights you have might not be the biggest highlight of the game, but some of them can be entertaining. One of them has you going up against a giant spider in a zombie infested town, while another has you going up against a general in the zombie Stalingrad city. They aren't terribly difficult and is actually a nice change of pace.
If you collect enough souls from the monsters and demons you kill, you can then morph into a demon for about 30 seconds. This will make you invincible and turn all enemies into red while your surroundings will turn white. A few simple clicks will make every enemy die instantly. As you get close to morphing, your screen will flash telling you your about to morph. You can't take any damage and it's really satisfying to click your mouse in the direction of enemies and see them explode, no matter how far away they are. It's a nice turn of events.
Painkiller battle out of hell is the same with pretty much every expansion around. It isn't the best shooter around thanks to the replay value and short campaign, but the different difficulty settings and fun multiplayer makes this a game that fans of the original or Serious Sam games will enjoy. It adds a lot more of what the original game had. So if you loved the first one, then this one will blow you away. However if the originial didn't work for you, then this one won't change your mind.
Painkiller and Painkiller battle out of hell proves that the old school Serious sam genre isn't dead. It's not perfect by any means, but both these games look bueatiful and have these Gothic like environments with some pure viscral physics that makes each kill explode to a satisfying degree. Painkiller gold edition isn't for everyone, but I can definitely see shooter fans digging both these games, especially in a bundle like this.