Available : 13 April 2004

PainKiller © DreamCatcher
First Impression by Burt Carver

Painkiller, developed by “People Can Fly” and published by DreamCatcher Games, was on display in the Microsoft booth at GDC. One word can be used to sum up the short preview we had: Outstanding. The graphics are second to none, with some incredible transparency effects that look like they were lifted straight from “The Abyss”. In one portion of the game you are on an island at night with bonfires burning off in the distance. The reflections off the water are amazing and the creature models are great. One of my previous comments about the title was the “Gothic” feel to the title and that remains consistent. The graphics are an anti-thesis to ‘Far Cry’ from UbiSoft, where Far Cry is vibrant, Painkiller is moody.

On the show floor it is hard to fully experience the sound of a title but I am assured that the same attention to detail has been paid to the sound as to the graphics. It remains to be seen whether the game will have the immersive gameplay (stay tuned for a full review shortly!) that will scare the socks off people or if it will lean more towards a Serious Sam “run ‘n’ gun” style of play. In an earlier interview People Can Fly was leaning away from that comparison, so it will be interesting to see how well they have done in creating a distinct product.

One huge ‘X’ factor is the multi-play feature. Multiplayer is a huge factor in making a game profitable, as expansion packs and mods can generate additional revenue. One look at the granddaddy of all addictive multiplayer titles, “CounterStrike” proves that. Despite being an older title it is still one of the most popular multiplayer titles out there. DreamCatcher is putting a bunch of resources into this title, so hopefully the multiplayer delivers that intangible ‘hook’ that keeps people playing long after the single player campaigns are completed.

Look for Painkiller to be on store shelves next week!