If there’s one guilty pleasure in my life when it comes to video games, it’s Viking: Battle for Asgard. If I had two, then the other would be Painkiller: Hell & Damnation. I don’t for a minute think that the game is anything special, it just reminds me of a time earlier in my life when First Person Shooters were much simpler creatures. There was no reloading to worry about, the character the you played as could inexplicably carry a vast variety of guns on his burly, manly shoulders and the enemies would come thick and fast until they didn’t, at which point you’d move into a different room and do the same thing all over again.
The last piece of DLC for Painkiller: Hell & Damnation – The Clock Strikes Meat Night – wasn’t really anything special, the new enemies and weapons felt rushed together, and while the new level was interesting and fun to play, the whole package didn’t really feel as if much thought had been put into it. This next piece of DLC, named, Operation Zombie Bunker has the potential to set that slight mistake to rights with some interesting additions; plus the title of the DLC has the word “zombie” in it.
If you boiled down the content to its base elements then you could easily think that Operation Zombie Bunker has around the same amount of content as The Clock Strikes Meat Night, and you wouldn’t be far wrong. However, one thing that you wouldn’t be taking into account, would be the quality of the content on offer. While Operation Zombie Bunker does indeed only offer a new level (with the others being remakes of previously released levels), the one level on offer, The Bunker, is of a much higher quality than anything that’s been offered previously. In all fairness though, that could be down to one single thing, the Morgenstern.
The Morgenstern is essentially a mace, a stick with a spiked ball on the end of it. With this, Daniel Garner can easily mow down hordes of undead and have an absolute blast while he’s doing it. Sure, you’ve get to get much closer to the beasties than you’d normally like, but that’s where the fun comes into it. Now, if you want to have a literal “blast”, then you can get to grips with the weapon’s alternate fire mode. Holding down the right mouse button will make Daniel swing the mace around, which works as in effective weapon in its own right, but if you click on the left mouse button while the Morgenstern is being swung, a mine will be flung from the end and will stick to any wall, door or even enemy that stands in its way. When I said that the Morgenstern was the main reason for the fun in The Bunker, I wasn’t kidding. It almost makes the price of admission worth it on its own.
There have been other things added to the game too: a couple of new rocket launchers, and some new multiplayer maps – as well as the remade levels that we’ve seen before. It all comes together into what is actually a rather decent package. It would have been nice to see more substantial content on offer, but if the next piece of DLC maintains the quality on offer here, and doesn’t slip back into the pitfalls of The Clock Strikes Meat Night, then we could be in for even more of a treat.
VERDICT: Operation Zombie Bunker feels like a return to form for Painkiller: Hell & Damnation after a frankly lacklustre previous piece of DLC. You’re getting more of the same thing though, so if you’re a fan of the base game, then you’re going to be happy with the few additions that you’re getting with this latest DLC. However, if Painkiller: Hell & Damnation isn’t your cup of tea, then you’re not going to find anything here to change your mind (with the possible exception of the Morgenstern). Having DLC that’s consists mostly of remakes of maps that we’ve already seen is always going to feel slightly cheap, but Operation Zombie Bunker does a good job of making it feel worthwhile; especially when it comes to The Bunker and the additional weapons.
GOOD. A game that scores 7/10 is worthy of note, but unworthy of fanfare. It does many things well, but only a few of them incredibly well and, despite a handful of good qualities, fresh ideas and solid mechanics, it fails to overwhelm.