Mid-Week F.A.P: Painkiller: Hell & Damnation


Despite having always been a savoury man, favouring a leek and potato pie over anything sweet, I have to appreciate cake. Generally rich and flavoursome, cake can completely dominate you when you eat it.

However even if you are a lover of cake you must consider the other perspective. Cake can be bloating and overwhelming; only the most gluttonous could eat it every day with its excessive amounts of empty calories, carbohydrates and fat. You’re looking at an early and unpleasant trip to the grave on that kind of diet.

To a certain extent that is how I feel about games. Too much cake and not enough fodder like Painkiller: Hell & Damnation. If Painkiller were a food it would be a cheese and tomato sandwich or cornflakes. It is simple, uncomplicated and effective.

It is a game in which you get dumped into rooms where enemies spawn and you are tasked with killing them all. You have weapons such as rocket launchers that have a secondary function as mini-guns. Painkiller is unapologetically functional and all the better for it. This is a world where RPG elements are unnecessary whereas a good knowledge of circle-strafing and bunny-hopping is paramount.

Sitting down and playing this game is like a good workout or beach-side stroll; it relaxes the brain and never allows you pause between waves to try and think objectively about what you are doing. It is the antidote to the ever-more complex games out there which layer too much crap onto an experience that doesn’t need it.

The only stumbling block is the game’s tarot card system, which requires the player to perform specific actions to unlock perks. This breaks the pace of the game.

Otherwise Painkiller is the kind of game that we need more of. It might be plain but in many ways it is lean and healthy. And that’s something you can’t say about cake.