Painkiller Goes Hi-Def With Hell & Damnation

Painkiller Goes Hi-Def With Hell & Damnation

Somebody finally made a Painkiller sequel that doesn't suck.

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation isn't exactly a sequel in the purest sense, but given the ugly history of previous attempts to follow it up, it's close enough that we're going to give it a look. Apparently realizing that making a non-terrible sequel to Painkiller is impossible, the team at The Farm 51 decided to take a different tack and just remade the original instead, making a few changes and throwing in some extra stuff but leaving the core game almost entirely alone.

The new Painkiller sports a new weapon, the "Soulcatcher," a combination energy beam/saw-blade thing that sucks up the souls of the fallen without the usual wait. The titular Painkiller weapon is actually absent for the first level of the game but that, I suspect, is to force players to get used to the Soulcatcher, as it reappears in the second level. The game also features a new intro cinematic that changes the setup of Daniel Garner's trip to Purgatory somewhat, a two-player co-op mode for the single-player campaign and and eight-player survival mode, new music by Ojo Rojo in some levels (the original soundtrack remains intact for most of it) and of course updated graphics throughout.

As a dedicated man of science, I decided to do a little head-to-head comparison of Hell & Damnation with Painkiller Black, the ultimate incarnation of the Heavenly Hitman that also happens to be about six years old. There's no doubt that Painkiller HD is the real deal, because it's basically Painkiller Black 2.0; levels are tweaked here and there, enemies are a little different and other relatively minor changes have been put in place, but it's still 100 percent Painkiller. Even more interesting, however, is the fact that the original game has held up remarkably well over the years. It was a gorgeous shooter in its day and on modern hardware, with resolution and visual effects cranked up to 10, it still looks great. At a casual glance, textures are almost indistinguishable between the two, and the only significant visual improvement I noticed in HD is in the character models and skins, which are significantly more detailed.

I can't say that Painkiller HD is all that much "better" than Black, but it's 20 bucks on Steam, which is a great price for this kind of over-the-top action, especially if you haven't previously indulged. On the other side of the coin, Painkiller Black is 75 percent off as part of the Steam Halloween Sale, which means you can score it right now for $2.49. Either way, you're going to murderize half of Hell on the serious cheap, and you're going to have a blast doing it.

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From the Steam description page:

Key Anti-Features (you know... the ones that make life EASY):

NO Kill-streak bonuses or airstrikes
NO auto-heal
NO AK-47, NO M16 or that sort of sh*t; just a healthy dose of .666 calibre weapons!

Wow, someone knows how to sell me a game I wasn't sure about : )

I'm just little perturbed because you just know they're going to withhold all the good stuff until they announce the Icy Hot Patch.

I went ahead and preordered this - and the beta made me feel good about that decision. It's old school, but in a very good way. Now I just need to tear myself away from the TF2 Halloween event and fire this thing up tonight.

This isn't what I truly wanted for the series, but it's great to see it back in action. Maybe if the remake is successful enough we'll get the fullblown from-scratch sequal the series has really deserved.

And while I'm wishfully thinking, maybe the next Painkiller game will be made by People Can Fly.

Oh shit! Co-op in my Painkiller?! I may need to check this out...

I still think that Painkiller doesn't really need a remake, it's awesome the way it is, but considering the horrible console version, I'm not complaining about the new version and just like Serious Sam, I think I'll buy it one of these days.

Also, I liked the song, although very cheesy, it was kinda apropriate. I have horrible tastes, I know.

So, it's come to this. The only way to make a "new" Painkiller game that isn't completely awful is to just make the original again. I think I finally gave up hope that any of the attempts at sequels would be any good around the time I played Redemption. The tiny amount of money I paid for that was far, far too much. I don't even know how they managed to keep making them progressively worse over time. Don't you eventually have to hit bottom?

I'm not really sure why this needed to be remade. I still have Painkiller Black in a box on a shelf somewhere, and it's still amazing. It doesn't exactly throw that many polygons on the screen compared to current games, but it's still perfectly playable.

I might just have to pick this up. It'll be nice to see what's been changed, and I'm sure it'll come down dirt cheap either in this sale or the Winter one.

 

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