Painkiller Hell & Damnation offers cooperative play throughout the entire campaign. It even supports split-screen play on the PC, though you’ll need two gamepads to make that happen. The split-screen also tweaks the field of view so it looks like you are playing through a fisheye lens - that might annoy some folks.
The game scales the enemies based on co-op play, but I still found it a bit too easy. You'll want to choose a harder difficulty level; the game even allows each player to choose their own difficulty. Overall there are some bizarre ways that co-op gets handled. Completing levels in co-op doesn’t count for either the host or the guest player in their own campaign chapter unlocks, which is definitely bizarre. The oddest thing I found was the fact that text chat does not work in an online co-op game for whatever reason - so if you aren’t using Steam Voice Chat, you are SOL for communicating with a friend. We also encountered a few bugs with the levels, such as events failing to trigger.
Despite the lack of polish on the co-op mode, it is a lot of fun to play with a friend. The nature of some of the weapons provide you with some co-op combo like scenarios, and souls picked up by both players are shared. That means it’s double demon mode when 66 souls are reached. A fun revive mechanic involves collecting a soul to quickly revive when downed. Taking on large bosses together is always a blast in co-op as well.
There’s an additional semi-co-op mode called Survival, though it’s more of a race to see who can get to a certain number of souls first. I would have rather have seen a more traditional horde style mode here instead.
Painkiller Hell & Damnation tries to rebirth a style of FPS that is a rarity these days, something Serious Sam 3 did last year. While the focus on over the top action, skill based movement and zany weapons is appreciated, it definitely has an almost cheap feel to it. Luckily, the game is only $20, so that seems appropriate. Classic PC FPS players will feel right at home here, while folks more familiar with the modern FPS my find themselves getting bored quickly.
The Co-Optimus review of Painkiller Hell & Damnation is based on the PC version of the game. A code was supplied by the publisher for review purposes.
The Co-Op Experience: Play through the campaign with a friend in co-op either online or locally.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.