Review: Painkiller Hell & Damnation (PS3)

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Title: Painkiller Hell & Damnation
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (2.0 GB)
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Nordic Games
Developer: The Farm 51
Price: $29.99
ESRB Rating: M
Painkiller Hell & Damnation is also available on Xbox 360 and PC. The PlayStation 3 disc version was used for this review.

Gameplay:
Painkiller: Hell & Damnation is the remake and somewhat sequel to the 2004 game and its numerous expansions. You play as Daniel Garner a man fighting his way through hell after making a deal with death in order to see his wife Catherine again. That is the general concept of the story without spoiling too much.

Unfortunately, Painkiller is a shooter with mechanics from the past. You shoot and bunny hop your way through levels that are a series of arenas shooting hordes of continuously spawning enemies whilst generic metal riffs play in the background. When the music stops you are able to move on to the next checkpoint, rinse and repeat with the occasional cut scene breaking up the monotony of the onslaught of bland enemies.

After an enemy has been killed the corpse will remain for a moment before finally dissolving and leaving a green soul icon behind. Collect 66 of these souls and you will enter Demon Mode causing the screen to fade into black and white with the enemies turning red. While in Demon Mode, which lasts around a minute, you can destroy an enemy easily with one shot while being invincible.

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You can also collect coins scattered throughout the world inside objects such as barrels or left behind by fallen foes. The coins can be used to purchase Tarot Cards that give you new abilities to use like slow motion. Besides Demon Mode I found myself rarely using the Tarot Card abilities and with only four boss fights the game is relatively short, allowing the pain of playing the game to end rather quickly.

Visuals:
Painkiller is no looker with visuals that would be on par or worse than launch titles for the PlayStation 3. Occasionally some lighting and scenery can take it to the next level, but only on a rare occasion.

Audio:
Unless you like generically bland metal riffs that continuously repeat throughout you are not going to find anything to like about the audio experience. Bad voice acting and obnoxious creature noises only add to the audio bombardment.

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Online/Multiplayer:
Even though the game has been out in Europe for the last few months I haven’t been able to find a match to test out the online. It offers both PvP and PvE that include the following game modes: Co-op, Survival, Duel, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Capture the Flag.

Conclusion:
Painkiller is a relic of the past with a short campaign and multiplayer suite void of  players. My time with the game has given me a new perspective on how good we have it these days with a plethora of gaming options to choose from. Painkiller is an experience that you just might want to avoid.

Score:
4.0

* All screenshots used in this review were provided by the publisher.

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