Painkiller is a game where the story won't interfere with the fun and guts. Yes, sometimes you just want nothing but mindless violence and carnage, and at other times you want story and plot. If you're in a carnage mood then Painkiller - Black Edition is a game for you. It's definitely got more Doom in it than Doom 3.
This goes back to the old style of play where a game only needed a thin or non existent plot to be fun. You must remember the days of Pacman and Defender, before story was brought to the games industry. Which brings to mind a nice thought 'Why spend money on story when guts will do.'
This game has some of the best graphics I have seen in the past 5 years, from the intricate detail on every monster to the fine work on the levels. If the games was not so fast paced you could spend hours just staring at the detail and thought behind each monster. However you have little time to think before you have to stake one of them to a wall or launch them backwards with your shot gun.
Each level is carefully crafted to suit the needs of what little story there is. Actually I think they made most of these level not for story but because they look awesome. Every level has plenty for you to look at and investigate.
The lighting alone gives this game a tone of atmosphere though if you spend to long staring at the effects you will end up dead. Even on my crusty old PC which is about 2 years old this game still shines and looks unbelievable, With a more up-to-date PC this will run as sooth as a nut and probably in a resolution many monitors can only dream about.
Not all of the scenery is destructible but there are many parts which you can blow up or smash. To find many of the secrets you need to be trigger happy and just let loose on pretty much everything.
Like the graphics the sound plays an important part. The commissioned song for this game kick in when ever combat or enemies are near, this give you a clear indication of when to start shooting at anything which moves, or even thought about moving sometime in its life. Much of the other music in the game gives you an uneasy edge of a world gone wrong. Especially in the expansion levels when you visit the Orphanage and Fun Fair.
I did not get much time to study the actually sound effects, or ambient sounds as I was ether being pummelled in to the ground by monsters or running for my life. However what I did get to grips with were many of the sounds from the weapons and the coughs and splutters of the character. Most of sound effects in this game served their purpose, they did not need to be any better because most of the time you more concerned about not getting hit or cornered.
As with all FPS games the control method and responsiveness are key to a games enjoyment and success. Painkiller for the most part is flawless in this department. On occasion some interesting things will happen when jumping as the Havok physics engine controls everything it can, so you had better be sure you know what you're standing on or you will end up jumping into fire or sliding down a bottomless pit. I would not say this was a flaw as more of a characteristic of the engine, something to add that bit more peril to the game.
Every bit of action is fast paced and in most cases non stop, once the flood of enemies starts coming you will be hard pressed to find a second where you can actually sit down and analyse what you have done. The only time you can actually reflect on the chaos that has broken loose is one you have completed the level, as you get a chance to go back through the level before you jump in to the end of level gate. This can be useful to gather up those items you missed. However their re occasions where some areas won't activate on a return visit. The levels where you have to kill all enemies to get the Black Tarot Card make sure you get them all first time around.
I would say the original game is nothing more than a slog through levels of demons and hell spawn, the expansion offers a glimpse in to the truly twisted mind of the games creators. I though American McGee's - Alice was twisted, but Painkiller - Black Edition sent a few shivers down my spine. The first level of the expansion has to be one of the creepiest, if you don't like kids you will like them even less after this level. Then it's on to the Fun Fair, well it's not much fun for you. The complexity of this level and its design are breathtaking, the level designer has to be a genius, or he should be locked up.
From the Fun fair things just get worse, on some of the later levels you may hear a distressed scream from a woman, don't be fooled, just shoot her dead. Always remember if it moves shoot it if it doesn't move shoot it anyway, as it may have thought about moving at some point.
However, there are interesting touches to keep you entertained, my favourite weapon is called the stake gun, now it doesn't fire prime rib, or T-Bone at the enemies, no, its wooden stakes that will pin foes to the walls at any given opportunity, the rag doll effects are great and enemies will wither and die, or hang uncomfortably if you'd happen to catch them by the leg! All good fun stuff! - Barnsy, From the review of the Original Game.
Well there is some plot, though it's not important, just skip the intro scenes, they really just slow you down when all you want to do is Kill, Kill, KIll.
From what I can gather this game was never produced with a strong story in mind nor does it need one. I think if they did add a story to this game it would have spoiled the feeling of action and needless death.
Well what can I say about a game about killing and blowing things up, other than it's jolly good fun, and make a change from listening to character monologues and reasons for stuff happening. At the end of the day all you need to know is sh*t happens and the character is up to his knees in it.
So if your after a bit if a change of pace or just something to blow some stress off with, this is an ideal game for you, no plot means you can just switch off your brain and go on a killing spree.
The extras on the Black edition offer an insight into the creator's minds and a few nice bits such as the music video for the song you kill things to.