I just want to get this off my chest, I barely know anything about The Punisher. What I do know is that I enjoy FPS and I am a big fan of bargain bins. Let’s say the bargain bin was participating in a sporting event, I would be the guy on the sideline dressed head to toe in bargain bin paraphernalia. We can take this logic and apply it to the downloadable market as well, because honestly, I love downloadable games. There are a bunch of gems out there floating around in the virtual arcades that offer players more than they pay for. Sadly, the opposite is true as well and some games are rushed or offer exactly what the price tag dictates, $9.99 or 800 Microsoft points or 1000 Nintendo points, and The Punisher: No Mercy is no exception.
Warning: This review covers an extremely violent and vulgar game and the content of this article is going to reflect that.
This game has tons of content for a downloadable title. However, to quote a co-worker talking about Transformers (day job) “it has everything…but quality.” Everything you see in The Punisher: No Mercy has been done before, and better. The game feels a lot like Goldeneye and Quake blended together, coupled with Call of Duty (yes, there are perks), with Punisher canon sprinkled in for aesthetic value. The game looks great, again for a downloadable title, but the guns have no character and the multiplayer and story mode have been crushed together.
The story mode, which is 45 mins long (seriously), utilizes single player modes resembling the multiplayer gametypes. Example, the first level is merely one of the multiplayer stages where you must be the first team to get to 50 kills. Each level is tied together with comic book strips and follows a drug called “mindfuck,” and honestly, that’s exactly what it resembles. The story is one of the most confusing pieces of fiction I have ever read, besides anything by Amy Hempel, and the motivation to progress any further was hindered by my inability to wipe the puzzled look off my face.
The multiplayer, which the developers obviously built the game around, is as fun as the latency will allow it to be. It took 15 minutes to get my first game started, and even then, each loading screen will take up to 20 seconds. On top of that, three out of five games will just disconnect you. If you do get a game started prepare to be rocketed in the face more than Jenna Jameson. See, every player has infinite ammo. You have to reload of course, but over the course of the story you unlock weapons and one of them is a rocket launcher. This weapon fills up your special weapon slot, but there isn’t anything special about it besides its power. You have no limitations in using it and you will have too because everyone else does.
This is detrimental to the game as a whole because it doesn’t operate on any level of depth. There is a bunch of content here, but it loses any value thanks to the the rocket launchers effective enemy vaporization. Essentially, you are paying $9.99 for an endless cycle of rockets maps with varying gametypes. The perfect example is the juggernaut mode. One player has more armor, health, and better guns than the other players and to score kills you have to earn them as the Punisher (juggernaut) character. However, ONE direct rocket will kill that player immediately. If you miss, it takes two or three splash damage blasts and the rocket launcher (when not upgraded) holds four rockets. It’s hectic to say the least.
But the chaos of the game doesn’t translate into entertainment, just anger. In an attempt to be different (their only attempt) guns upgrade as you earn points in each match. Upon each upgrade the weapon will receive a damage increases, magazine capacity increase, accuracy increases…etc. However, as stated earlier, the rocket launcher nullifies all of this with its superior firepower. Thanks to the speed of the game, and the aforementioned doomsday device, your average lifespan is about 20 seconds. So, the upgrades last about that long. Each player also gets to choose from passive and active mods, but again, everything is nullified by the sheer power, and infinite ammo, of the rocket launcher.
To sum everything up, The Punisher: No Mercy is a game that delivers more than enough content to back up its price tag, but fails to deliver everywhere else. It borrows almost every attribute from other shooters, but falls short of making them refreshing or entertaining. Fans of the Punisher may enjoy the fan service, but that’s no excuse for bad execution, confusing story, stagnated gameplay, and broken mechanics. The tag line of the game says it all, because in the end, we were all punished.
The overall game looks great, however, the story is rife with all sorts of awful.
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Broken mechanics and borrowed gimmicks keep this game from being anything more than a laggy rocket fest.
The voice acting is awful, but in a campy way, and the gunfire and heavy guitar riffs fit into the action.
There are a lot of things to do here, but players will have to look past its numerous faults to get anything done. Plus, the story mode is only 45 mins long.
The Punisher: No Mercy delivers mild fan service in a package that looks like Ace Ventura personally delivered to the PSN.