Home > Demo Impressions, Gaming, PC Games, Steam > “Painkiller: Resurrection” Demo Impressions

“Painkiller: Resurrection” Demo Impressions

I have been playing the demos of all the Painkiller games on Steam lately. Why? They looked like the kind of games that focus just on having fun with ridiculous guns and swarms of enemies. And even though they do have some ridiculous guns and swarms of enemies, there were more than enough flaws in each of them to make me want to move on to the next demo. Still, I haven’t been motivated enough to write a demo impressions post on either the first or second mediocre Painkiller games. That’s about to change with Painkiller: Resurrection, a game that’s so bad I can’t help but speak out about it.

Honestly, it didn’t seem like it would be all that terrible at first. There is an opening cutscene for Resurrection, something that was completely absent in the other two demos. Instead of being fully animated, it’s just a bunch of comic book panels that appear as they are narrated. Sounds kind of boring, but the backstory it sets up is kind of interesting. An assassin dies trying to save innocent people but gets sent to Hell… the cutscene takes its time delivering this simple plot, but it stays surprisingly engaging throughout. Once it was finished, I immediately noticed the level selection screen and loading screen were exactly like the other two games. (Really? Is it that hard to change things up a bit?) Unlike the other Painkiller demos, however, this loading screen lasted a ridiculous amount of time. The game finally loaded, and as I began to play I found more similarities between this Painkiller and the other ones. The only weapon I had was the weapon I started off with in the other two demos – a close-range spinning blade type of thing. Also unchanged was the HUD – the arrow at the top pointing to my next goal… the health and ammo count… the laziness of the developers showed through more and more.

Find it hard to tell what’s happening with all these view-obstructing objects? Welcome to Painkiller: Resurrection.

But the most disappointing signs of neglect were yet to come. Let’s start with the environment: the cutscene tells me the main character is in Hell for all the murders that he committed during his life, but he starts the game off in a cathedral. A mysterious voice tells him that he can earn his salvation if he proves himself worthy… by doing more killing. So, the way to earn forgiveness for murder is to murder even more than you did before, in more brutal ways than before (I doubt the protagonist brought a spinning blade to his enemies’ faces while he was alive)? I get that you have to kill demons and such, but still… it all seems a bit inconsistent.

I didn’t come for the story though, so whether or not the game took place in a location that makes sense wasn’t a huge deal. The broken AI and poor level design is, however, a deal breaker. The visuals are nothing special, yet they still chug along at a slow rate. Even after I moved their quality down from high to medium, they still didn’t run quite as smoothly as even the older Painkiller games. The levels themselves are just battlegrounds for the redundant and boring enemies to run after you, only even the game can’t seem to get that right either. I remember more than one occasion where I was walking down a straight line seeing nothing before me when suddenly enemies appeared out of nowhere. But even with the cheap element of surprise that they had, they could not get to me more often than not. I swear, it seems the level designers were purposefully trying to highlight the awful AI in the enemies. The generic demons can’t find their way around obstacles to move forward? Let’s make a room filled with benches! Speaking of these benches that actually were a part of one section of the demo, they could not be destroyed or anything. I spun my little blade thing on them and heard the sound of metal on metal. Are you telling me these are indestructible metal benches painted to look like wood? I would stand at one side of the bench and look at the brutish thing trying to run at me from the other side, but the bench blocked his way even as his running animation continued. If one thing can be said about Painkiller: Resurrection, it’s that it doesn’t feel like a game that came out in 2009. Even if it came out in 2004, a year where its slow frame rate, bad level design, and atrocious AI might be more forgivable, it wouldn’t be very good.

Unfortunately the horrible design was not limited to that bench section. Each and every location I encountered after that had its own annoyance. There were tunnels that were nearly pitch black yet I had no way to light my path. There were low places I had to get through, but with no crouch button I was left to glitch myself through somehow. There were places too high to reach, but with some determined jumping on some awkwardly shaped section of the wall, I could barely make it over. There was a checkpoint that was supposed to save my spot and restore my health, but the first time I passed by it, it didn’t register. There were boxes nearly identical to each other – some had to be walked over, some had to be shot open, and some, if shot, could explode and kill you faster before you could curse out loud at the game’s inability to make simple boxes look different enough from each other. There was a part where I had to climb up a winding staircase that not only required incredibly tricky jumping to different sides of it to pass through, but resulted in a huge fall to the bottom of the staircase if (and believe me, when) you fell. There was a room that had horizontal wooden planks blocking my path – any sane person encountering them in real life would think to crawl under them (which you can’t do) or climb over them (which of course, cannot be done either), but because of their position I could not get directly over them or shoot the suicidal things with bombs strapped to them running right towards me in time. Whoops, I died. Wait for the 90 second load… now it’s time to do the staircase part again.

After dying at that section a second time I exited the demo. So yeah, I just wrote an entire article on a demo that I never actually finished. Am I being unfair? No, the abysmal game was unfair to me by making me go through all that I did just so I would have enough to write about. I think maybe Painkiller: Resurrection could have reached at least the ho-hum level of mediocrity of the previous games’ demos with a few more months of polish and bug-fixing, but without any of that, I think we can count on this franchise experiencing a painful and embarrassing death with this latest iteration. Painkiller: Resurrection deserves to be shown the same astronomical level of neglect that its developers showed it.

By Josh60502

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  1. Geoff Taylor
    February 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Great review -Stair case in Cathedral was a killer – After reading your response I am uninstalling right now!

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