Painkiller PC

Metascore
81

Generally favorable reviews - based on 62 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 62
  2. Negative: 1 out of 62
Buy On
  1. A good choice for folks who want to wind down at the end of the day with a fast-paced diversion that requires absolutely no brainpower to master and enjoy.
  2. It's about being scared out of your wits one minute and then bellowing with laughter at something gruesomely humorous the next.
  3. 70
    Rather than presenting us with individually challenging enemies, Painkiller opts to throw dozens of enemies at you at a time. On the other hand, since Painkiller focuses just on twitch play, it's free of the distraction of puzzles, plot and, for the most part, personality.
  4. The Painkiller soundtrack doesn’t exist. It is a heavily repetitious heavy metal lick that repeats itself way too much.
  5. As a celebration of the FPS genre's base instincts, Painkiller crosses the finishing line in first place; anything more than that and it doesn't even make it out of the blocks. [June 2004, p.100]
  6. We were massively disappointed by the comical AI, which definitely has a substantial impact on the game – Serious Sam has shown that run-and-gun games can be fun, but this seriously detracts from the overall experience.
  7. Even with it's absolutely gorgeous maps and great physics this game lacks any type of real challenge in the story. It is a straight out FPS with only mindless monsters to kill over and over again.
  8. Edge Magazine
    50
    If you're looking for a sparklingly attractive shooter with a side order of slinky physics, this delivers the goods. But it's about as average as FPS gaming gets. [June 2004, p.105]
User Score
8.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 288 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 77
  2. Negative: 12 out of 77
  1. Aug 13, 2010
    10
    Bloody massacre coupled with unusual weapons. One of the first big titles with Havok physics.
    This is most unexpected game which rightfully
    Bloody massacre coupled with unusual weapons. One of the first big titles with Havok physics.
    This is most unexpected game which rightfully earned AAA status in gamers' minds shortly after release.
    Full Review »
  2. May 24, 2015
    5
    I recently got it on GoG and honestly I still can't understand why this game came out to be so successful and grew to be considered aI recently got it on GoG and honestly I still can't understand why this game came out to be so successful and grew to be considered a "classic".
    The art design, sound assets and weapons are pretty neat, true, but the actual gameplay is just boring. I played it for the first time back in 2006 or so (I really don't remember, I'm sure I still have CDs put somewhere amogn my old things, though) and ditched it after the first boss (necrogiant). How bad that fight was, oh my. I get it, bosses in this game were collosal at the time this game came out. They were impressive, true. But did gameplay really benefit from that? I would say: no, not at all. It still just a huge arena with a boss that has a di**y set of moves (the necrogiant's tornado boiled its fight to being lucky with your positioning while the boss casts the tornado - more often than not it will be put right where you stand, killing you instantly). It's managable, of course, the fight itself is not hard, but the succes boils down how lucky you are.

    But that would be a minor disadvantage. The biggest problem in the vanilla PK are levels. It doesn't matter the game has wonderful weapons, interesting enemies and shooting itself feels ok, while it all happens in a boring mostly square-shaped arenas with little to no secrets at all. I'm half through the game now (I'm determined to finish it at last), and there is no alternative to "kill everything in a square room - process further to the next room". Serious Sam series at least varied your environments you fight in, mixing open arenas that have little to no environmental design with actual levels that consist from more that 2 corridors.

    Yeah, you have some gimmicks like cards, that help you a lot during boss fights, but they're not something I would call revolutionary or game changing. They're basically achievements with gameplay benefits.

    It's just a sub-par shooter. Still a real shooter, much, much more fun and demanding than your typical modern warfare BS, but a sub-par shooter nonetheless. The first add-on is better in level design aspect, it's a whole better game than the vanilla, but it's still nothing to write home about.

    Why was it so successful? Why is is considered a classic? It didn't bring anything new to the genre (its physics were quickly beaten up by HL2), it just recycled ages old schema and put it into mediocre frames.
    Full Review »
  3. Aug 12, 2011
    7
    A rather unusual mix of horror and fast action gameplay, Painkiller is gory and atmospheric, but really all it is is just action. TheA rather unusual mix of horror and fast action gameplay, Painkiller is gory and atmospheric, but really all it is is just action. The Purgatory setting and in fact the idea of fighting demons is very great. However the idea itself simply is not enough. It requires the correct execution and a plot, and that was where Painkiller fell down. Still though, as an FPS game, it is forgiveable if it has a weak story, which is why I still found the game fun. Painkiller features a big variety of areas, but I felt that only about half of them were breathtaking, whilst the other half were boring. Areas such as Asylum and Town were fantastic due to being incredibly atmospheric and actually scary in a very twisted way. Likewise there were areas which simply had beautiful locations and were a pleasure to travel through, areas such as Train Station, Military Base, The Palace and City on Water. However most of the other maps were rather repetitive and boring. The game allows the player to use 5 weapons, but each one of these weapons has 2 very different modes of fire, so in a way the game has 10 different weapons. The weapons are very original and enjoyable to use. This was perhaps the strongest aspect of the game. The enemies, well they were nothing special. Although most were demons in various disguises, it was uninteresting how at times they just looked like people, for example in the level Docks, which was perhaps one of the worst stages in the game. The boss fights were terrible. It was impossible to know what the hell you were supposed to do to defeat most of them. For one of them you had to attack the boss' hammer rather than him. How would you know to do that? You wouldn't. The final boss fight was a huge disappointment too and really ruined the game for me. Just terrible. Lastly the cinematics and cut scenes in between some of the missions were pretty good, although I wish some of those characters were developed in greater depth. Painkiller has some really great features and it has some very strong weaknesses. If only Painkiller didn't have some of these weaknesses, it could've been a fantastic game. But for now I think a score of 7 is appropriate. I can't give it any more than that. Full Review »