Dreamcatcher was nice enough to send us a very early build of Painkiller (and you know it’s early when you have to agree to a statement that reads “This is NOT beta, NOT alpha, NOT even gamma...” before you can even start the thing) and for the starved FPS addict this game looks mighty, even in a build as early as this. No minimap, no “demon morph” (whatever that is), only one weapon and no saves. The game ran a bit jittery on our P4 2.67 GHz, but it was stated that this was the absolute minimum to run the title in this form.
The story goes that you are Daniel Garner and was just killed in a horrible car accident. You are now trapped between heaven and hell and you must struggle to figure out why you’ve been denied access to the pearly gates. You have to battle demon soldiers in an attempt to stop an upcoming holy war. Painkiller’s proprietary and appropriately title PAIN Engine is said to pump out 100x the polygons of the latest shooters while actually improving texture and lighting techniques.
Our initial impressions are that these might sound like fantastical PR specs, but damn does Painkiller look good. The enemies are highly detailed and the gothic haunt in which we traveled was impressively lit, whether it is sunlight through glass or simply the torches adorning the walls. The Havok 2 physics engine is evident here as everything “feels” realistic, even if it’s somewhat augmented. Game play was a bit spotty, but we were (and now, you are) warned that this was not nearly finished. There were tons of enemies and lots of red stuff flying all over the place. The core aspects of the game look tremendous and if this very early preview is any indication of what’s to come then we have a lot to look forward to.
The Multiplayer mode is going to be powered by Gamespy’s servers and the developer is shooting for 32 player servers with 5 modes, namely: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, People Can Fly, Voosh (weapons are changed randomly by the computer), and Light Bearer Modes.
This looks like a sleeper gem for early 2004 for both PC and Xbox players. It’s a title we’re certainly looking forward to.