Painkiller Archive

by Artas1984
Painkiller Battle out of Hell - 7/10 (favorable)

This game has both improvements and shortcomings. Overall a definitive must for hard-core PK fans...

If only every level in Battle Out Of Hell expansion pack had been as great in every aspect as any of the original Painkiller levels...

The problem is, that from the 10 offered levels, only half bring the outstanding quality like the original game did, and having that in mind there are only 10 levels total, what makes this game a little rip-off. Despite these negative factors the game brings enough to be a worthy successor to the original game.

Story and presentation: i am not going to spoil anything here, the important thing is that the story of the original game continues here as you play the same character Daniel Garner. However disappointing is the presentation: suddenly Daniel Garner looks somehow ugly compared to what we saw in the original, the movies no longer look that nice, and you just have the intro movie and the ending one, so talk about poor production value. But that does not really matter right? We are here for the gamplay and challenges..

Gameplay: this time the developers really strove hard and delivered a much more complex and challenging gameplay. The principles of gameplay did not change from the original Painkiller, but certainly increased is the difficulty and complexity of the game. In original Painkiller you played every level more or less the same way, with some exceptions. In Battle Out Hell, however, these exceptions are significaly exagerated.. In some levels, like Stone Pit, the gameplay is all about searching, exploring and climbing mountains, leaving fightings as secondary thing, since you spend more time navigating the map rather than fighting. In levels like Stalingrad, no longer works the formula - run fast and kill everything that moves - here you clearly have to use alot of camping and strategy, basically attack from hidden positions, oftene covered behind the wall, which was never a Painkiller strategy. In some levels, the opposite way, you are locked either in a roller coaster or in a van and can not move at all, totally exposed, but just aim your weapons as fast as possible in every direction and try to kill as many as you can or simply try not kill anyone at all - both work and deliver a versatile gameplay. 2 new weapons are included, those make a nice addition and fit very well into the gameworld. New tarot cards are available to unlock also.

Level design: this is where i have mixed reactions. The bigest problem for this expansion pack to score way lower than the original game is that half of the game levels deliver boring gameplay and their design is actaully poor... For example - Laboratory, Pentagon, Dead City and Colosseum all suffer from these problems. Underworld rail-van sequence works only if you want to make yourself a challenge and kill all the monsters while riding the cart, otherwise - it is an example of bad gameplay. Then again the surroundings of the Stalingrad level feel so uncompleted, but somehow manage to deliver a challenging gameplay by making it the hardest level in the game. But of course there are levels that definitely beat even the designs of the original Painkiller - Loony Park is definitely the most memorable level of this expansion pack and adds a great deal of challenge and unintended exploration value. Stone Pit is, perhaps, the most non linear level in the whole Painkiller franchise - from all of the levels in every Painkiller game, this is the only level, where you can skip the linear gameplay and, if you have skill in wallclimbing and rope jumping, you can just go from the very bottom to the very top without entering the tunnels... Finally, Shadowland is the real pearl of this expasnion as it offers one the most visually stunning and entertaining final boss battles you can find in any FPS game! The fight itself is alone entertaining and the graphics detail level in King Alasotor is something i have never seen before in any game by 2004 standards, it looks even better than the most detailed demon i have seen in Doom 3. This single entity has been really crafted better than the other game elements, unfortunately, because this was the only proper boss fight... That being said we move on the graphcis...

Graphics: what can i say more than supreme? When original Painkiller arrived in DirectX 8.1, it had the best visuals at that time, until the release of DirectX 9 games like Far Cry and Half-Life 2. Now Painkiller expansion is upgraded to Half-Life 2 standarts with DirectX 9.C, and new features are present like bloom, warp, coronas and ultra dynamic lightning as well as improved anisotropic filtering. It looks amazing, and although it might lack the shadow detail that Doom 3 presents or lack the facial realism that Half-Life 2 brings, it certainly surpasses Doom 3 in the graphics of the level design itself and graphcis effects look much better. Since Painkiller Battle Out Of Hell is installed on original Painkiller, it happens so that the original game is also upgraded with the new graphical attributes of the expansion and therefore levels like Atrium or Cathedral, where the architecture and visuals were already looking good, now look brilliant.

Soundtrack: just as in the original game, you will be delighted by the well fitted instrumental background music as well as by the battle music. Battle music is custom taste - this time there are less metal riffs, and more industrial pop - i can not really comment on that. You can turn the music off.

Sound: the in-game sounds are very well delivered. Wherever you go, just like in the original game, you hear all sorts of well fitted sounds those set the perfect atmosphere and mood in those particular levels. Clearly without these in-game sounds the quality of the gameplay would worsen.

Customization and menu: very customizable menu and hud - just like in the original game. Nothing lost.

Challenge value: almost as great as in the original game. 5 stars, soul collecting, speedruns, black tarot cards and so on... I have to say that this expansion is alot more challenging and harder than original - it is alot harder to collect the tarot cards or to get the 5 starts score in the end of the game.. Minor challenges are aslo harder. The only disappointing thing is that there are only 10 levels, and only 2 are boss levels, from which only one is a good and challenging level - Alastor. The Pentagon boss is actually not a boss, but an oversized monster with increased stats, one of the stronger ones of course..

Mutliplayer: see original game review.

Final words: for any Painkiller fan this is a must play game (not like Painkiller Overdose). This expansion - Battle Out Of Hell lacks some great level design, seen in the original game, and therefore, with only 10 levels total feels like a little rip-off, especially having in mind that half of the levels have really poor design and are just boring to play, but overall the new features like improved graphics, new tarot cards, new weapons and an increased challenge value, together with some of the best packed levels make this game worth the time.

You get this expansion for free in Painkiller Black.

About this site

Painkiller is a first-person shooter video game released on April 12, 2004. It was developed by Polish game studio People Can Fly and published by DreamCatcher Interactive.

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