Fans of shurikens and lightning will be happy to hear that Painkiller, the old-school shooter set in the twisted realm of Purgatory, is coming back for more.
In Painkiller: Resurrection, from JoWood and Homegrown Games, the role of Heavenly hitman is taken by "Wild" Bill Sherman, a CIA assassin who dies under a rather contrived set of circumstances designed to illustrate that underneath his tough, morally-indifferent exterior beats the heart of a decent and honorable man. As Sherman awaits judgment in Purgatory, he finds himself caught up in the ongoing war between Heaven and Hell, with both sides courting him for his unique talents.
All of which is sure to elicit a big sigh of "Whatever" from most gamers, who come to the Painkiller party for one simple, albeit very good, reason: epic slaughter. In that regard Painkiller: Resurrection is expected to deliver much like the other games in the series, with dark, twisted environments, hordes of enemies to butcher and plenty of firepower to help get the job done.
The game is being built on an upgraded version of the original PAIN engine with new features including motion blur and dynamic lighting. In typical Painkiller fashion, the story will be told via cut scenes interspersed throughout the game, while players interested in deeper details will be able to uncover more through in-game artifacts, documents and voice-overs. Vastly improved multiplayer options will also be included, many taken from the PK++ mod developed for the original Painkiller game, and for the first time in the history of the franchise a cooperative multiplayer mode will be included with Painkiller: Resurrection, allowing players to blast their way through Purgatory side-by-side with their fellow trapped souls.
The original Painkiller was an outstanding FPS (and I happened to like the story, too) while the Battle Out of Hell expansion was competent but uneven and the 2007 sequel, Painkiller: Overdose, was unremarkable at best. Can Painkiller: Resurrection resurrect the franchise? We'll find out soon enough; the game is slated for release on the PC near the end of 2009, with an Xbox 360 port coming later.