Redeeming Painkiller?

Brown! So much brown!

Attention, fans of shooting things again and again: the undying Painkiller is to receive a fourth follow-up, Redemption. It’s due next week, which means it is perhaps unwisely going head-to-head with the latest game from original Painkiller creators People Can Fly. That’ll be Bulletstorm, which we might have mentioned here and there a couple of times. Both games are due out next week.

Redemption was formerly a mod, now transformed by Polish devs Eggtooth into a $5 expandydandydandelionalone.

I would be telling a big fat fib if I expressed any personal fondness for 2004’s Painkiller (the only one in the series I’ve played), but the fact that JoWood keeps making ’em suggests there are many people who feel the opposite. Those people will be pleased to hear that Redemption features the return of original Painkiller guntagonist Daniel Garner, and that Overdose’s star Belial will also be a playable character.

I confess my eye is off the ball regarding the current state of Painkiller so may be making an awful sweeping generalisation here, but I believe the last couple of add-ons/sequels weren’t terribly well received. What muscles does this new’un boast to combat such a sentiment?

6 levels, 6000 enemies (not distinct types, I’m guessing), better AI and graphics and a new mechanic that enables you to turn into a demon by collecting dead folks’ souls. I can do that too, but it merely requires 6 bottles of Theakston’s Old Peculiar.

Best of all? Well, that’ll be the “absorbing heavy metal soundtrack.” Absorbing!

25th of February, 3-5 hours long, and $4.99/£4.49 according to GamersGate. As far as I can ascertain, it’ll be on most of the big download services.


  1. BaronWR says:

    I rather liked the original Painkiller. It wasn’t clever and had no real plot to speak of, but the basic experience of shooting lots of things with an entertaining range of interesting, well-designed weapons was pretty good and things blew up very nicely for a game of that era. I downloaded one of the expansions (or sequels, it seems quite unclear to an external observer) a while back and it was depressingly awful: no-one had updated the graphics, and the new weapons sets were rubbish. It’s a pity really, but I guess People can Fly did well out of it.

    • Wilson says:

      I also enjoyed the original Painkiller, but there was more than enough of it that I didn’t bother trying any of the expansions. Which sounds like the right thing to have done.

  2. Inigo says:

    Because turning a Painkiller mod into a full game worked so well last time.

  3. Handsome Dead says:

    Mod turned expansion?


    • ArthurBarnhouse says:

      That’s the problem with regular demons, No staying power!

      That’s the problem with regular demons, No staying power!

      That’s the problem with regular demons, No staying power!

      That’s the problem with regular demons, No staying power!

      That’s the problem with regular demons, No staying power!

      That’s the problem with regular demons, No staying power!

  4. Tori says:

    The firts expansion, which was made by People Can Fly was cool. The other ones… not so much.

  5. Rock Tumbler says:

    The “mechanic that enables you to turn into a demon by collecting dead folks’ souls” dates back to the first game, which I quite liked. The levels looked great and the enemies died in satisfying ways. It also had a unique way of dealing with low-spec machines: instead of dropping frames, it simply slowed down the action, which created a sort of poor man’s bullet time when you blew up a pack of enemies and the game had to take a moment to deal with the sudden cloud of gibs. Great fun, although the sequels have been increasingly disappointing.

    • Ringwraith says:

      RF:G had a similar response to too much crazy physics when collapsing building I found. In fact, watching them fall apart in slow motion might have been better than watching them fold in on themselves at normal speed.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Haha! I love the idea of a game having a “poor man” mode for people with out-dated computers. This reminds of a good friend who played through Oblivion on a barely capable laptop. His monstrous vampire orc punched its way through a sinister fog-blanketed world, his armor steaming as faint rays of sunlight hit him through the mists.

  6. Grey says:

    No. No more Painkiller expansion.

    I need painkiller, literaly.

  7. Bfox says:

    Perhaps they modified the gun system Borderlands used so it can generate 6000 different enemies ‘

  8. MinisterofDOOM says:

    I loved the original Painkiller. It’s the kind of rare game that applies a solid finish to a basic gameplay concept rather than just stacking more “features” on top in hopes of looking more interesting.

    I haven’t liked any of the followups, though. They lack the polished simplicity of the first game.

  9. Spacewalk says:

    I like how Painkiller looks, I like shooting monsters and watching them bounce around and I really like the levels (especially the last one). What I don’t like is being walled in whilst being assaulted by waves of enemies. If they did away with that and just had the enemies around the levels like in every other game I would have liked it a whole lot more. I have Serious Sam for that whole Smash T.V. as an first person-shooter thing.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Serious Sam also has many many colours and a cannon, which never fails to amuse, particulary when you squish yourself or your mates with it.

      …accidentally of course.

  10. JohnnyMaverik says:

    I <3 absorbing heavy metal soundtracks…

  11. Eclipse says:

    Painkiller was an awesome shooter, and the first expansion, Painkiller Overdose was quite good too. Then JoWood took a bunch of modders to do Painkiller Resurrection, a very “meh” sequel (It has few redeeming points) that even used the very same engine. The only thing worth notice in Resurrection was the fact that they promised single-player coop and they totally failed. Because the game has no co-op campaign, you can only play single “survival” maps that of course are now deserted.

    Basically JoWood is living off the brand taking modder’s work and turning it into the next official Painkiller game. This means this game will probably be a piece of crap.

    • Eclipse says:

      that said, for $5 I could even give it a go… I really loved Painkiller :(

    • tomvw says:

      If there’s any redeeming features about Resurrection, I’d be interested to hear them. All I saw of this game was horrible level-design, the dumbest AI in any game I’ve ever seen (let’s run straight at him, he’ll never expect that, derp) and my character constantly getting stuck on level-geometry.
      For me it was a frustrating, ugly mess, unfitting of the name Painkiller (at least Overdose was a bit better).

    • Eclipse says:

      the cheesy max payne-style cut scenes were nice and the levels weren’t bad. But the enemies were placed poorly. the ai was the very same ai of the first Painkiller, but the level design made obvious how stupid the AI was. At least considering that a lot of models were just recycled and the engine quite old it didn’t look bad and some levels were especially good looking.
      Gameplay wise it was a “painkiller mod” and it showed. It was Painkiller, only much more amateurish.

      The thing that really pissed me off was the total lack of support from JoWood and the fact that it was marketed like “Painkiller with co-op” but sadly it wasn’t.

    • ArthurBarnhouse says:

      Don’t forget the loading times for the levels, which on my very modern computer with a quad core processor and Radeon 4770, still took upwards of five minutes to load sometimes. Also, the enemies were just whatever they had from the previous games. There were literally no new bad guys in the game, not even reskins. And if I ever meet the guy who made that stupid hanger level I will murder him.

  12. Tuan says:

    Only played the original Painkiller, but it was a great game!

    The weapons were pretty cool. Especially I remember some kind of bolt shooter that you could peg people into walls and such. And the shooting mace thing.

    Plus, it had a great addition was you had those tarrot cards that would give you some abilities, and there was a strong incentive to replay levels and try to beat it without getting hurt, etc.

    To me it put more of the importance on being a fun shooter and trying to master the game instead of playing a lame FPS that you are simply watching some stupid story unfold but realize you aren’t actually having fun playing the game.

  13. Songbearer says:

    I remember when one of my friends convinced me to buy Overdose.

    His family haven’t found him yet.

  14. bill says:

    The artists who designed the levels in the original painkiller were great. Many might have been derivative, but they all looked great. And the final level was original and awesome looking.

    Of course, the final level was also broken and no fun to play, like a lot of the rest of painkiller. the guns were good. the enemies looked good, but many were broken and annoying. The pacing was god awful.

    The demon thing was in the first game – and never worked as well as it sounded. I always got just enough souls at the end of the room, so i turned into an invincible demon with 1 poor guy left to kill… and then the poor pacing meant that by the time i found the next room of bad guys it had worn off.

    My main problem with PK vs Serious Sam (a much better game, with less interesting and diverse environments) was that the sound was terrible in PK. Maybe it was just my setup, but a lot of the enemies fired silent projectiles or warped in and attacked silently – so you’d constantly find yourself blindsided. Compare that to the awesome sound design of SS, which you could almost play with your eyes closed and still keep great situational awareness among 100 attackers.

    Over-rated game. But if the artists from it got together with the gameplay/level designers of SS – then we’d be talking.

    • Dervish says:

      I played Painkiller on the hardest difficulty (no souls from dead enemies, checkpoint saves only) straight away and thought it was pretty easy, except for the bosses which became easy once you had the right tarot cards. Is Serious Sam better in this respect as well?

      Your comments on Painkiller pretty much match my feelings. It’s ironic that a supposedly “arcade” FPS that’s all about shooting dudes has such lazily-designed encounters. And I really wish people would stop comparing it to Doom just because the mechanics are unrealistic and it’s not WW2-themed.

  15. Navagon says:

    Why use up to 6 paper towels to mop up that spillage when just one metal soundtrack will wipe away your woes?

  16. Vandelay says:

    I was quite disappointed in the original’s level design, despite what others say. They might have used a wide range of different locations, but none of them were that interesting.

    I much preferred the first expansion to the original game, which had some great ideas for levels, like the orphanage and the fun fair. Not the most original, but still very well realised.

    • Navagon says:

      When you try and get the secrets in levels like Docks you really only then start to appreciate the workmanship involved. I mean, damn. That level was a master class in level design.

  17. Bassem says:

    I quite liked the first Painkiller. The weapons were very interesting and fun to use, and the gibbing, oh my the glorious gibbing. The music was good too (I’ve saved some of the tracks.) And the set design of the levels was well done (the cathedral most of all.)

    Simplistic, trigger happy game.

  18. A-Scale says:

    I felt like the shooting in Painkiller sucked.

  19. Gpig says:

    Painkiller was an enjoyable Serious Sam. Serious Sam has co-op but the combat isn’t fun. Painkiller doesn’t have co-op but the shooting was unparalleled when it came out (first game with a good stake gun! before hl2/fear etc.). Playing Serious Sam is just a question of will you enjoy any activity with friends no matter how boring.