September 19, 2007 // 6:59 pm
- There's just something about outrageous physical harm that you can't take your eyes off of; at least, that's what the developers of Pain are banking on. For a game that's all about shooting your character (we recommend the Nurse) out of a large outstretched rubber band in order to create the most painful descent possible, the game spends a lot of time early on teaching you to sharpshoot monkeys off skyscrapers, and making sure you know exactly how much force you need until you can soar into that giant donut.
But this PSN game's controls are really simple to grasp from the get-go: the left analog stick controls aim, the right stick controls power, you press X to launch, R1 to relaunch, and Triangle to replay your last launch. Once in the air you can also use the left analog stick to control your drift, moving to the left or right in midair or slowing down and extending your distance. Unfortunately, the tutorial section seems unnecessarily long and particularly hand-holding; you do a series of launches according to the on-screen instructions, but most of your controls are restricted until the game decides you should use it in a particular launch.
Most of the launches don't even allow for you to aim yourself at all, because the game wants you to be knocking into very specific items or buildings. It seems a drag to go through this long restricted section before you even reach the game proper, and by then it's likely you're beginning to feel like the game is all one big restrictive "Simon Says"...and you're not Simon. Thankfully, after the beginning, the game doesn't seem to restrict your control options,
There are different modes, of course, in addition to the regular single-player mode, such as the "Spank the Monkey." That's the one where you try to knock into as many monkeys as you can -- who knows why, other than it being another way to convey mind-numbing violent hilarity. The most humorous thing in the game, though, looks to be the exaggerated rag doll physics. Upon impact, your character continues to drag on the floor, body jiggling and legs sprawling out every-which-way. The body continues to squirm on the floor a good long while after everything should have stopped moving. It gets a little ridiculous with the Nurse, because her wide-mouthed expression has an oddly dead-eyes appearance as she flies through the air and into the ground.
The levels aren't quite as funny, but they look to have a competent setup where most buildings have at least an object or two of major interest, like gasoline tanks or explosive bombs or even just a giant donut which you can push to eventually fall onto the street, possibly killing someone in the process. There aren't any civilians on the street and you're totally allowed to subdue any animals you may see.
Enjoying real life pain isn't a pre-requisite to liking Pain the game, but even people who find the premise juvenile may find themselves oddly transfixed, as it's quite eye-catching to see in action. As long as you keep the comedic theme in mind, the outrageous rag doll animations and strange modes should shape up to be good for a laugh, if not much else.