Painkiller: Resurrection Hands-On Impressions

We take a run through this budget-priced expansion pack at E3 2009.


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Originally released in 2004, Painkiller was a stubbornly old-school shooter that eschewed modern narrative conventions in favor of outlandish weaponry, demonic enemies, and a zippy pace that rarely let up on the action. Five years later, we’ve yet to see a full-fledged sequel to this cult hit, but we have seen a variety of expansions. The latest of these is Painkiller: Resurrection, due out this September. We very recently took a spin through Resurrection here at E3 2009.

Who's Making This Game: The developer of Painkiller: Resurrection is Homegrown Games, an indie studio out of Austria made up of a number of people responsible for some of the more popular Painkiller mods out there.

What The Game Looks Like: Vintage, with a few modern trappings. It’s still the same engine from 2004, though it has been updated in a variety of areas, like HDR lighting and high-resolution water reflections. It’s not stuff that will immediately catch your eye if you’re used to modern shooters, but those who have been following the progress of the Painkiller franchise through every expansion will certainly notice the little touches that have been added to the visuals.

In terms of art style, the game takes you on a journey through various gothic cathedrals and establishments, into ruined dungeons, and through twisting caverns. The enemies look like creatures ripped directly from the covers of all your dad’s favorite 1980s heavy metal albums, with all sorts of demons, monsters, and ghostly spirits attacking you. It’s also a very violent game, with lots of blood and scattered body parts following in your trail.

What There Is To Do: At its core, Painkiller: Resurrection is all about killing beasts with a variety of ridiculous weapons. Each has its own primary and secondary fire, with several even offering a tertiary one. Everything from a gun that spins razor blades like a blender and shoots grenades to a severed demon head that fires lasers from its eyes and lets out a thunderous scream is available in your arsenal.

How The Game Is Played: The campaign can be played in single-player or cooperatively. The co-op side will run you through the same campaign, but with support for two players and branching paths unique to this particular mode that separate you and your teammate. Multiplayer is also available and offers a selection of five game modes. There are the three standards--Free for All, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag--as well as two others, Last Man Standing, where each player has only a set number of lives, and Voosh, which switches out your weapons every 60 seconds. The multiplayer will offer 10 maps when the game is released, with a free map pack said to be due out not long after.

What We Say: At $19.99, Painkiller seems like a decent value for the amount of content it offers. Publisher DreamCatcher will even be releasing the SDK for free so that the mod community can go on releasing free content on this modified engine. At that price, Painkiller fans could certainly do a lot worse.

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