In a nutshell, “Painkiller: Hell & Damnation” follows the tradition of manic, shoot ‘em up titles like “Doom” and “Serious Sam”. What makes this title different however is the fact that it progresses the genre forward in terms of visuals, gameplay and even perhaps art direction. The game itself tells the tale of demon slayer Daniel Garner, who has apparently been trapped in a limbo-like area which inhabits the area between heaven and hell. Obviously while he’s there, the grim reaper himself taps Daniel to capture souls and promises to reunite him with his long-lost wife. Of course this isn’t really anything new or groundbreaking, but it does provide you with an excuse to go on a rampage, laying waste to a staggering assortment of nightmarish figures across some intriguing and startling environments.
As previously noted, this game features some unique locales which are meant to portray the nether realms. Anyone that’s played earlier FPS games (which plunged players into similar situations) will know what to expect. But what really makes this a delectable affair is the use of the Unreal Engine 3, which certainly makes everything look…nice (if you want to call eerie surroundings, pleasant, that is). Needles to say, you’ll probably love squaring off against massive foes in unexpected places and wielding the many unique weapons which can be collected.
Simply put, “Painkiller: Hell & Damnation” is something of a throwback to earlier first-person shooters where there might have been a few lax objectives. The main point of this game is to destroy the opposition, and Mr. Garner is certainly the right man for the job. In terms of the gameplay; intensity and action pretty much take center stage here, there is not a lot of subtlety, but then again, that’s not really the point, is it? If there’s one major criticism of this title it’s that it’s incredibly short. In fact, most studied gamers will be able to breeze through it in a few hours. There are however, classic multiplayer modes available for those who really like the action and need more; however it’s unclear at this time how many competing players might be on hand at any given time (considering just how many modern games there are out there which are currently offering dedicated servers for multiplayer matches).
All things considered, Painkiller: Hell & Damnation is a game that old-school FPS gamers will likely enjoy quite a bit, if only for nostalgic reasons. But don’t get the wrong idea; the game is solid in its conception, mechanics and design even if you take it apart from its inspirational source materials. For a lot of gamers, this title will likely serve as an interesting diversion or perhaps “revisit” (as it is technically a remake). Definitely recommended for those who are into modern visuals and older FPS mechanics…