by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
Darkness Falls Across The Land
Remakes are definitely back. There are plenty of gamers who may have been too young to experience some of the old classics. So developers are bringing back some old-school favourites such as XCOM and GoldenEye 007 so that the current generation of gamers know what all the fuss was about. Developers Farm 51 have done the same, reviving the Painkiller name with Painkiller: Hell & Damnation.
The game starts off with a cut-scene showing how Daniel Garner has arrived in his predicament in Purgatory. Driving in the rain on a fearful wet night, Daniel was involved in a car accident that kills both himself and his beloved Catherine. He must have been a bad boy because he ends up in Purgatory whilst Catherine heads to Heaven, but he is given an choice: collect seven thousand souls to rejoin Catherine, or stay where he is. Of course, there really isn’t an option.
The Midnight Hour Is Close At Hand
Armed with a small arsenal – one that increases over the course of the game – Daniel will then attempt to retrieve the souls he needs. Painkiller: Hell & Damnation uses a range of both standard and unique weapons to dispose of the demonic creatures. Each weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses. The stake gun (probably my favourite) is almost a one shot kill for most creatures, but it takes an awfully long time to reload. There is also a weapon that fires small blades which do much less damage, but can fire off at a rapid rate. There is enough choice in weapons to suit most game styles, whether you like to hang back and fire from a distance, or if you want to get up close to the charging enemy hordes.
And charge the evil spirits will. The AI isn’t very competent at all. In fact, many of the enemy creatures will simply charge at you with little regard for their lives. I guess it sort of makes sense since they are undead creatures. Melee weapons work really well against wave upon wave of stupid enemy soul-carriers. Later on though, there are some more intelligent creatures that figure out that shooting fireballs from a distance is slightly more beneficial to their health. Other beasts carry a staff with some sort of poison – getting too close to them lowers health. Shooting these characters from a distance is definitely the way to go. They add some variation to the tactics, but not enough to keep the gameplay fresh.
Creatures Crawl In Search Of Blood
Some of the evil creatures are huge – literally. The boss battles are tough, with the mammoth characters taking a heap of damage before they tumble to the ground. Defeating a specific amount of creatures in a short period of time will activate what could be considered a ‘rage mode’, where the screen goes black and white with attacking enemies shown in a coloured outline (similar to a body heat sensor). Clicking the attacking foe will kill them instantly.
Great Heavy Metal music turns up the tempo as battles commence
Visuals are somewhat outdated, and the storyline is severely lacking