PC Review: Painkiller: Hell & Damnation

Bring on the pain!

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation is a HD remake of the original Painkiller, which I sadly missed out on back in the day. It reminds me of classic PC shooters like Doom, Quake and to some extent, Serious Sam and Duke Nukem. It has a basic plot where the main character Daniel has to gain 7000 souls to give to Death in order to see his wife again and just like that, you’re thrown into the game killing wave after wave of demons.

Painkiller is an odd one, it doesn’t have a sprint button and the quickest way to get around seems to be spamming the spacebar. There are a lot of different weapons in the game, some of which have secondary functions and they are all pretty powerful, once you’ve killed an enemy they turn into a green orb (or soul) and once Daniel gains 66 of these badboys, he turns into a demon himself, the screen goes black and white as he becomes invincible and turns everything into dust by a click of a button, if there’s a complaint about this…it’s that when you get 66 souls, it seems to be in an area with very few enemies, so it feels wasted.

The campaign is enjoyable and will last you a good few hours, there are hidden areas, tarot cards and coins to look for. The boss battles look great, although the actual fighting can be a little cheap and repetitive. I was fighting the first boss, which is a giant in a graveyard and thought I had to find a big weapon to beat him, but failed to find one and got killed repeatedly in the process when all I had to do was run up to him and shotgun blast him back to hell, I was over thinking it.

Multiplayer is a big focus in this HD remake with classic and HD maps of the original game, but there’s a new weapon added which fires a blue laser beam which is incredibly overpowering, when I did play games it seemed to be a rush for that particular weapon and whoever got it was king. I think a patch needs to come in to rebalance things here.

Visually, Painkiller looks great and runs at a solid 60 FPS. My PC is a good few years old now and it runs it like a dream, but the enemies repeat themselves and the animations aren’t as fluid as you would hope to see. Voice-acting is a mixed bag, while the music is pretty hardcore.

The Verdict

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation is a nice step back into what FPS games used to be like and it’s welcome. The multiplayer could do with a bit more depth like customising your character more and having perks, XP and so on…but the campaign is highly replayable, despite some disappointing boss battles. You should definitely pay a visit to Hell with this.