Upon seeing this game, you already know it is one of those under the radar games that nobody knows about or plays, this of course had me intrigued as i am a fan of dark gothic settings and i hadn't played an old school shooter before so i thought it was worth a try, these are my results.
The game markets itself as a trigger happy bouncy old school fps with a metal soundtrack which transitions during battle. Painkiller is essentially a no brainer shoot everything type game, think doom on steroids, lots of demons and you just shoot them all in a closed arena, kill them all and you move onto the next area, simple right? if you expect anymore depth than this, stop reading this review and go play half life or something, this is a game for those who just want to shoot waves of demons.
One of the games strong points is it's art design, they really did capture the dark gothic scene and the high definition graphics are a boost also. You will spend time simply exploring these areas for secrets, gold, armor and ammunition. There are some rather interesting locations, my favorites are the opera house, the haunted orphanage and the demented theme park, especially the latter, they really thought of everything didn't they?
Theme park closed due to zombie clown infestation, we apologize for the inconvenience
The boss fights are also pretty intense as the game has you fighting some huge creatures, sadly there are too few of them but the second boss in particular was an impressive sight, the first boss however can be kind of cheap as it can send spikes through the ground which hit you and they are nearly impossible to avoid. Most of the bosses are just shoot till their dead kind of fare but what did you expect?
There are many collectables to be found including holy artifacts and tarot cards, holy artifacts give you a gold bonus and are found in secret areas, tarot cards give you special effects when used in battle, but they can only be used once until you finish the level, silver tarot cards on the other hand provide passive effects. Tarot cards are unlocked by performing the required feats such as kill 25 frozen enemies.
The gameplay is fast paced and there are a lot of cool weapons you can use each with multiple functions, there is even a sub-machine gun with a flamethrower attatched to it so you can either have your enemies dead or flaming. The wide variety of weapons make the seemingly repetitive gameplay less sterile and you can switch them on the fly, sadly as could be expected by a game like this, gameplay can become repetitive but it can be nice to play through a level to let off some steam or simply to just sit back and mash the right trigger watching your enemies explode into bloody pieces, of course you can miss so you need to watch your ammo count and your aim on later difficulties.
Now hare comes the problems. Like i said the game play is repetitive and some scenario's can be quite long such as the Colosseum and the lab where you're facing several waves of enemies without a break, which can be annoying at times especially considering the fact that you have to collect the enemies souls which means bunny hopping up and down as enemies chase you around (or sometimes shoot you) gathering all the dead corpses souls, thankfully there are weapons which can make short work of enemy groups such as the grenade launcher and the heater which will annihilate huge groups of enemies in seconds making what could have potentially be a tough encounter a complete joke. It's up to you when to use these overpowered weapons but they can come in handy in a pinch. Still you get insane amounts of ammo for them which can make the game seem too easy as you can just spam fire the heater over and over but you don't get too much ammo for them so it is best to save them for large groups rather than waste them on just one or two enemies that could have been easily dispatched with the stake gun/saw blade.
There is a story to the game but it doesn't make much sense considering it is an entirely new story which takes place on levels from the original Painkiller so the story is essentially all over the place and to be quite honest, they wasted time even bothering with one. The ending is predictable and you can easily see how it's going to end and i shall tell you, it's not satisfying.
Also it seems that they lied about the game being uncut. The game isn't even finished and only has less than half the levels of the original painkiller and it's expansion combined, due to this the levels don't connect, at one point you'll find yourself in an urban train station, the next minute you find yourself on top of a tower fighting a huge demon in a not so urban environment. They seemed to have picked out several levels from the original Painkiller and it's expansion and saved the rest for, yep you guessed it DLC! Nordic are wanting to cash in on all the suckers who bought this game by shipping half a game and making us pay for the rest which is already on the disc (or at least i presume so after looking at some of the development footage from the bonus cd as they show footage of levels that i haven't even played on, they even show some of the levels in development so they must have already produced them on the disc, sadly Nordic want us to pay more money for them, it's ridiculous.
Adding insult to injury, the ps3's online is completely dead and is reported to have had no servers at all essentially making online unplayable and co-op campaign is buggy as hell. I did manage to play survival mode on my own and whilst the idea is cool, it just doesn't function properly, survival is all about having limited lives and fighting endless waves of enemies, there isn't supposed to be a time limit ant there isn't supposed to be a number of required kills to win so it doesn't really work as if you die, you simply respawn. That is not survival, that is pve at it's basics, i'd rather just play the campaign levels over and over than waste my time on survival.
All in all this game is a great shame, it had good potential but faltered to to publisher greed and broken online, nordic aren't planning to fix this any time soon.
it does have rent potential though so i'd give it a go, it is a fun game and you can probably finish it in a day or two, you could also get it cheap, i'd say nothing more than £5.00
Game play: Good
Lifespan: Too Short
Would you replay? Yes
Overall Score: So-So