Every loading screen in Painkiller: Resurrection is emblazoned with the tagline “Homegrown: fan_made_product.” And boy, they are not kidding around. Although this slogan actually refers to the name of the developer responsible for this mess, it really just rubs in the amateurish and awful quality of this way-late-to-the-party sequel to the 2004 shooter. Confusing levels, idiotic enemies, loads of bugs, and missing modes of play will make you drop your mouse to reach for the ibuprofen.
First, there is no way that Painkiller: Resurrection is ready to be foisted onto an unsuspecting public. The game as released to Steam is extremely buggy. Hard lockups requiring system restarts, constant crashes during multiplayer, objects getting stuck on you, hang-ups during already-long level loads, enemies that spawn in right on top of you, and hyperactive rag doll animations are just some of the many, many flaws that you can find here. And if you’re considering dropping in to check out the cooperative mode of play, which would be sort of a Holy Grail to Painkiller fans because the original strangely didn’t include the option, forget about it. Despite what the developer and publisher have promised, co-op isn’t in the game out of the box. They have issued a workaround on the official forums, but that involves manually moving around map files and hosting a dedicated deathmatch server. Not only is such a manual workaround unacceptable, but it doesn’t result in the true co-operative experience promised. More pledges are being made in the official online forums about cleaning up all the bugs and adding proper co-op support in the future, but it’s obvious that you’re paying for a work in progress by buying the game at launch.
Even if you don’t care about co-op and manage to get everything to work properly, there isn’t much here of interest. The thin storyline is something of a reworking of the original story, with you playing as an assassin who winds up in purgatory after losing his life attempting to save innocents from a car bomb that he set. You think you’re going to hell, but you actually wind up in an eerie middle ground populated by lost souls that have apparently morphed into weirdo monsters. The logic behind all of this is a little fuzzy, though, unless you can figure out why murdering thousands of creatures should get you a ticket to the pearly gates. Anyhow, as in the original Painkiller and its expansion, the goal here is simply to go from point A to point B in every level, killing everything that gets in your way. Action is simple and fast paced, with you using mostly standard shooter weapons to gun down hordes of skull-faced ghouls, doughy monsters, cowled grim reapers, undead Saxons with giant swords, and other assorted freaks that look like rejects from Iron Maiden album covers. Generic hair metal guitars sometimes wail in the background during battles, too, and the protagonist utters moronic comments like, “Die in pain!” repeatedly during gunfights, so the rawk attitude is entirely intentional.