Painkiller

Painkiller

It’s remarkable how much Painkiller has in common with a shovelware FPS despite not being one itself. Most obviously, there’s the repulsive and nonsensical narrative cinematics. But there’s also the level design, which was clearly created without regard for gameplay, requiring arbitrary path restrictions to direct players…which works due to the purgatorial setting. And of course, there’s the mindless gameplay, which works by being gloriously mindless. Any effort that could have been spent on a degree of intellectualism instead went towards a huge variety of enemy types and an array of comically brutal multi-purpose weapons, which, when smashed together via tried-and-true controls, is a formula that’s nearly impossible to screw up. As a showcase for the Havok engine, each weapon is also designed to maximize the satisfaction and comedy of ragdoll and gibbing physics. It’s a surprisingly easy game given its stated influences, and the boss battles disappoint with their inscrutable “puzzle” mechanics, but the general impression of intensity is what lingers after it’s been turned off. If you can find someone to play with, there’s also a fast and straightforward (if overly familiar) multiplayer component.

6.5/10
6.5/10

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