by Justin Snyder
reviewed on PC
Addon, or mod?
Painkiller: Redemption is the latest addition to the Painkiller franchise. Not quite a full title, the game is more of an addon that was originally created by a group of modders under the name Eggtooth. It consists of six simple levels and each confronts the player with the considerable task of killing 1000 enemies. If you are looking for new content, you won’t find any here. The maps and creatures that make up Redemption are all taken from previous Painkiller games.
Redemption allows you to choose between playing Daniel or Belial. An empty choice, really, as the only difference between the two is a different skin, a different sounding grunt and a few weapons unique to that character. The latter could have been enough, but there is so little variety between them that it hardly seems worth it. As there are no cut scenes in which either of the two characters are featured either, there really is nothing of substance presented by having a different character skin in a first-person shooter.
With no cut scenes, either in-engine or pre-rendered, there isn’t much of a story either, or at least not one you will be able to get involved in. The background storyline is established by scrolling paragraphs of text without any frills. And before you ask: the writing is not going to be winning any awards, or even getting put on the fridge by a proud mommy and daddy.
The game is a little tough to get into. There is no tutorial and when I first started playing, I had no idea what some of my weapons even did. I only carried ammo for a few of the weapons in my possession and no clue as to where to get more. I noticed that a number of enemies dropped ammo, but it was nowhere near enough to keep a steady supply. Apart from having a troublesome aiming function, the default weapons has a somewhat awkward melee attack that doesn’t stop enemies from attacking while they are being hit. With dozens of enemies crowding you, it would come in handy if the ones you hit fall back or at least are stopped their current action.
In the original Painkiller, most of the levels had some depth to them. Redemption is devoid of any depth at all. The levels are bland, featureless and based on already existing multiplayer maps. You simply find yourself in various rooms with a seemingly endless amount of monsters spawning. While 1000 isn’t exactly endless, it certainly feels that way when you have trouble besting a horde of more than 300 throwing themselves at you. Enemies spawn quickly and often in large chunks consisting of several dozen monsters at the same time. You can see how easy it would be to end up trapped in a small area with no way out if you are in the wrong place when a new wave starts spawning.
From a graphical standpoint the game provides little - if anything - that will wow you. In fairness, it is unrealistic to expect a group of fans - that have used content originally created years ago - to provide dramatically improved graphics when creating a mod. The graphics are not awful, but they’re definitely dated.
One of Redemptions redeeming factors (pardon the pun), is its soundtrack. The heavy metal tracks convey a sense of ‘badass-ness’ to the player. I suppose it won’t do the same for those who don’t enjoy heavy metal at all but you can always switch of the sound and play Pink in the background to get a similar sensation. The only downside to the music is that it’s not adaptive to the situation. Players would really immerse themselves in the game if - as the horde assaulting the player grows in size - subtle shifts in the intensity of the music match the action.
Players willing to acquaint themselves with the game’s mechanics will likely see themselves spend 4 to 6 hours to get through the whole game. You might, however, need some more time. The game is tough and lasting through 1000 monsters is a real challenge. I ended up needing a solid ten hours but along with that admittance, I’d say that the longer you have to spend struggling through the game’s levels, the worse your experience is likely to be.
Painkiller: Redemption is for fans of the series only. With a price tag of only $5, this addon won’t break the bank and if you enjoy a mindless, endless enemy kill fest it might be worth checking out. For others, it is likely to be mind numbingly repetitive. Beyond an already established interest in the mythos and content, this game provides too little value and best left on the shelves.
Fans will enjoy it.
No one else will.