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Painkiller Headed for Xbox
game: Painkiller: Hell Wars
posted by: Tristan Mayshark
publisher: Dreamcatcher
developer: People Can Fly
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ESRB rating: M (Mature)
date posted: 09:07 AM Tue Dec 6th, 2005
last revision: 09:06 AM Tue Dec 6th, 2005

Click to read.New Xbox releases are going to become increasingly rare as Xbox 360 releases become more frequent, but Xbox owners should not despair yet. There are still a solid handful pending Xbox releases worth getting excited about. Based on an early build, Painkiller: Hell Wars is one of them.

For those who don\'t keep up with PC gaming, Painkiller is a violent first person shooter where the players take on the role of Daniel Garner, who is chosen (after his death in a car accident) to become a sort of \"holy hitman\", and battle through a sequence of areas that have been corrupted by evil. This is just as silly as it sounds, but for the most part the plot (or lack thereof) doesn\'t affect the game.

Painkiller serves up a healthy portion of fast paced first person shooting with a few nice sides of Really Really Giant Boss. In fact, prior to playing last month\'s Shadow of the Colossus, I would have said that Painkiller had the largest bosses of any game I\'d ever played. Since Shadow of the Colossus is played from a third person perspective, I still feel that the bosses in Painkiller are some of the largest looking bosses anyone has ever put in a game.

Because of the rather silly nature of the plot, the movement from one environment to another seems rather incoherent. You\'re more or less thrust from one Gothic landscape to the next. There are enough different models and weapons that gameplay never gets completely stale, but it\'s never exactly what I\'d call dynamic, either, let alone emergent. This doesn\'t hurt the experience for me, but I also view this more as a game that looks back to games like Quake and Wolfenstein 3D and tries to improve on their graphics and pacing; it\'s not a game that looks towards the future. If you get annoyed by \"typical\" video games, you may be unable to forgive Painkiller: Hell Wars for its meandering path in the same way I was.

Without any real plot to speak of, Painkiller has relied on its physics engine to hold everything together, and for the most part, it does. There\'s an excellent ragdoll model (that uses the proprietary PAIN engine) clearly visible that makes enemies fold over and break apart in all sorts of novel ways. While the models on the Xbox version of the game do not appear to be quite as detailed as their PC counterparts, overall the basic look and feel of the game is almost identical, which is pretty impressive given that prior to the release of Doom 3, Painkiller had my vote for \"best looking FPS on any system\".

If you enjoy games that sacrifice plot in favor of having fast paced, extended sequences of undiluted murder, you\'d be well advised to take a look at Painkiller. It\'s shaping up to be one of the best looking Xbox games anyone will make. Painkiller: Hell Wars releases in January, 2006 for the Xbox, which should help make those Winter doldrums more enjoyable.

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