PAIN Review

I can sum up my review of PAIN for you right at the start: cool idea, fun for a bit, lack of variety keeps the fun from lasting for long. How cool? How long? Why? Let's find out.

The idea behind PAIN is relatively simple. You place a dude named Jarvis into a giant slingshot and then fire him into a bustling downtown. It's kind of Burnout meets FlatOut without the silly need for cars. The downtown area is filled with breakable objects, from explosives-laden construction scaffolding to a giant bowling ball precariously perched on top of a multistory bowling alley. The goal is not only to cause egregious bodily harm to Jarvis, but to see how much destruction you can cause by crashing through and bouncing off of things as well as by creating catastrophic chain reactions.

As you prepare to fire Jarvis to his doom an aiming reticule and projected trajectory are displayed on the screen to help you aim your shot. While Jarvis is in the air speeding towards your intended target there are a few things you can do to fine tune your landing. The left stick can be used to apply aftertouch while Jarvis is in the air, allowing you to hook or slice your shot or to try and pick up a little extra altitude. You can also attempt to grab things as you fly by, which not only allows you to swing Jarvis from a pole or other piece of scenery but also to pick up objects and then toss them from the air. These objects can be simple pieces of scenery, but you can also grab passers-by and explosive crates as well. Lastly you have the option of striking a pose with Jarvis as he sails through the air to earn some style points to help pad your score.

Once Jarvis comes to a crashing impact you'll find he's closer to rubber than to meat, and instead of ending his existence in a pile of goo he will bounce around a bit in a testament to the powers of rag doll physics technology. As he's bouncing around you'll have the opportunity to apply a little bit of additional aftertouch as long as you have power in your Ouch meter, which is usually good for four short hops after you've landed. As things explode and come crashing down around you you will be awarded points for the total damage you've caused.