Painkiller: Hell & Damnation – Review
Follow Genre: Shooter
Developer: The Farm 51
Publisher: Nordic Games GmbH
Platform: PC, PS3, XBOX 360

Painkiller: Hell & Damnation – Review

Site Score
Good: Classic gameplay, chatoic, but butal fun.
Bad: Framedrops, controls can't hide that this was once a PC-title.
User Score
(0 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)


Shooters these days have become hybrids of their past glories and several other genres. Just think about it; games like Call of Duty have you collecting experience and strategy elements have become commonplace in more serious outings.

Then there’s Painkiller; a franchise that harkens back to a time were clear and simple: use small arms that resemble weapons of mass destruction to kill thousands of unrelenting enemies.

The question remains, though, if a fit of nostalgia is enough to survive in today’s market.


Hell and Damnation is a continuation to the original Painkiller’s storyline. You play as Daniël Garner, a socio-path and a killing machine who died alongside his wife in a car accident. She went to heaven, but obviously he did not. Daniël’s solution: kill his way to his beloved’.

Clearly that hasn’t worked out for him in the past and after being betrayed by both heaven and hell, Daniël’s final solace comes at the hands of Death. Long story short; Daniël has to gather 7000 souls in order to be reunited with his wife.



You’d be forgiven for dismissing Painkiller because of its graphics. The entire look of the game feels as outdated as can be. No surprise there, because there have been only minor upgrades to this instalment compared to the 2012 original. As a matter of fact, scratch that, Hell and Damnation looked better on PC almost two years ago than it does now on console.

While I’m obviously aware of the technological differences between the two platforms, it should be noted that our current generation of consoles has proved time and again that it can still hold its own. Not so for Painkiller, as the game looks as even struggles maintaining its composure with the graphical fidelities it does have to offer.

Frame-drops during larger fights – and more importantly during boss fights – aren’t only a disappointment, but they also have a clear impact on gameplay.


Generic heavy metal-tunes set the mood and dubious voice acting complement a story that does not want to be taken seriously.

Worth noting: protagonist Daniël Garner if voiced by John St. John, the same guy who gave us Duke Nukem.



Painkiller has always been a series that looked to past glories. If you’re nearing thirty you’ll most likely still remember the fervour with which tournaments centring the game were played and won. Big names like Fatal1ty made the game known to a wider – PC-minded – crowd. It’s a game that took inspiration from big-name franchises like Quake and Doom with a pinch of Serious Sam added to the mix.

Hell and Damnation still delivers all that. A variety of quirky weapons use two types of attacks each to make as bloody a mess as possible. It’s simply a lot of fun to mess around with the different guns. Painkiller’s stake-gun is a great example of the brutality its arsenal offers.

It’s a pity then that, by nature, Painkiller doesn’t take well to consoles. Its gameplay focuses on jumping and dodging around enemies too much to make a good fit for a controller. This is a game that revels in its chaotic environments where enemies spawn from every corner and at the same time relies heavily on the kind of precise aiming and movement that only a keyboard and mouse can offer.

As it stands, playing Painkiller with a controller will more often than not mean that you’re relying on a shotgun to clear hordes of enemies when back into a corner, because you couldn’t turn around or escape quickly enough.

Added to that are some technological impairments that drag down the entire experience. For example, even though this isn’t the prettiest game by far, boss fights come with a noticeable drop in frame-rate. Then there’s the fact that you’ll often find yourself scouting large, empty environments for that last demon you need to kill before the next area unlocks, only to find him stuck behind a pillar or a wall.

It’s also necessary to know that Painkiller: Hell and Damnation is essentially a ‘best of’-compilation offering the most popular levels the original Painkiller – and its expansion – had to offer. As such there won’t be many new additions for those of you who already completed those games.



Painkiller hails from a time when first person shooters employed simple mechanics combined with over-the-top and hilariously chaotic fire-fights to get players interested. Of course this also means you’ll be missing out on a lot of the intricacies of modern shooters.

A basic story, gameplay that never evolves past glorified target practice and characters so wrong they’d not even pass for self-proclaimed B-movie personae may entice you to keep playing, but I for one will be hard pressed to recommend this rendition of Painkiller: Hell and Damnation to anyone.

Pick it up on pc for a tenner if you really want to, because on console you’ll get a game with controls that fail to mask its desktop-roots and end up crippling what was supposed to be a good bout of nostalgia.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.