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PAIN - PS3 Network review

Forget Jackass - if you want hilarious injuries and high-octane destruction, this is the game that gets it right

It's worth saying at this point that, although that description on the last page might seem extremely violent and sadistic, PAIN is more Wile E. Coyote than Faces of Death; nobody gets bloodied or bent out of shape, and the violence is too comical to be shocking. Which makes it a lot easier to stomach the act of throwing mimes through plate-glass windows in the game's extremely demanding Mime Toss mode.

All the elaborate craziness is helped along by the fact that your input isn't just limited to aiming and shooting. Your idiot can also grab in any direction as he sails past objects, which - depending on their size - will either make him pick them up and hold them until you release the button, or will just leave him hanging from them. The latter works in your favor when it's something movable; grabbing onto a dangling girder, for example, will enable you to swing around on it, while the giant bowling ball in the background will roll free when you grab it, smashing through an elevated railway and launching you into space if you let go at the right second.

It's worth saying at this point that, although that description on the last page might seem extremely violent and sadistic, PAIN is more Wile E. Coyote than Faces of Death; nobody gets bloodied or bent out of shape, and the violence is too comical to be shocking. Which makes it a lot easier to stomach the act of throwing mimes through plate-glass windows in the game's extremely demanding Mime Toss mode.

All the elaborate craziness is helped along by the fact that your input isn't just limited to aiming and shooting. Your idiot can also grab in any direction as he sails past objects, which - depending on their size - will either make him pick them up and hold them until you release the button, or will just leave him hanging from them. The latter works in your favor when it's something movable; grabbing onto a dangling girder, for example, will enable you to swing around on it, while the giant bowling ball in the background will roll free when you grab it, smashing through an elevated railway and launching you into space if you let go at the right second.

You can also control his flight with the analog stick, and if you hit something, you can use an aftertouch feature called "Ooch" to nudge him violently in any direction. Slamming into other objects this way will let you use Ooch again, and shaking the Sixaxis pad will boost it into a Super Ooch, which jerks your idiot so violently that it's like he got hit by an invisible truck. This is key to building up big, destructive combos, as it's often the only way to nudge yourself closer to an explosive crate or into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

When you get tired of tearing up the city - and you will - PAIN offers up some other distractions, like the aforementioned Mime Toss, a less-interesting minigame where you launch yourself at chimps and a reshuffled version of its usual city block that's accessible once you've racked up 1.5 million points' worth of damage. You can also unlock new idiots to launch out of your catapult (including a drunken Santa and his lingerie-clad assistant, both of whom can only be "unlocked" for an additional dollar each, payable over PSN), and the multiplayer games - PAIN-flavored variations on bowling and horse, along with a mode in which you're just supposed to bounce off as many explosive crates as possible - give you an excuse to call some friends into the room.

That's kind of a good idea anyway, though, because PAIN is a lot more fun if you've got some similarly sick-minded friends around to share it with. Not so much because of its multiplayer modes (although those are fun in their own right), but because taking turns creating more and more ridiculous smash-ups will keep the single-player game from getting old, thereby enabling you to wring a lot more entertainment value out it than its $10 price tag implies. It's also more fun to use the robust replay feature - which lets you pause, slow down, rewind and go frame-by-frame through the whole block with a freely controllable camera - when there's someone else around to appreciate it, especially since there's apparently no way to save your best runs to show off later.

You can also control his flight with the analog stick, and if you hit something, you can use an aftertouch feature called "Ooch" to nudge him violently in any direction. Slamming into other objects this way will let you use Ooch again, and shaking the Sixaxis pad will boost it into a Super Ooch, which jerks your idiot so violently that it's like he got hit by an invisible truck. This is key to building up big, destructive combos, as it's often the only way to nudge yourself closer to an explosive crate or into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

When you get tired of tearing up the city - and you will - PAIN offers up some other distractions, like the aforementioned Mime Toss, a less-interesting minigame where you launch yourself at chimps and a reshuffled version of its usual city block that's accessible once you've racked up 1.5 million points' worth of damage. You can also unlock new idiots to launch out of your catapult (including a drunken Santa and his lingerie-clad assistant, both of whom can only be "unlocked" for an additional dollar each, payable over PSN), and the multiplayer games - PAIN-flavored variations on bowling and horse, along with a mode in which you're just supposed to bounce off as many explosive crates as possible - give you an excuse to call some friends into the room.

That's kind of a good idea anyway, though, because PAIN is a lot more fun if you've got some similarly sick-minded friends around to share it with. Not so much because of its multiplayer modes (although those are fun in their own right), but because taking turns creating more and more ridiculous smash-ups will keep the single-player game from getting old, thereby enabling you to wring a lot more entertainment value out it than its $10 price tag implies. It's also more fun to use the robust replay feature - which lets you pause, slow down, rewind and go frame-by-frame through the whole block with a freely controllable camera - when there's someone else around to appreciate it, especially since there's apparently no way to save your best runs to show off later.

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionLaunch yourself from a rubber band and try to cause as much damage as possible. Simple, stupid and fun.
PlatformPS3
US censor ratingTeen
Release date29 November 2007 (US), (UK)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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