The Punisher: No Mercy Review

The Punisher: No Mercy Review

Game Review: The Punisher: No Mercy
Release Date: July 2, 2009
Genre: First Person Shooter
Publisher: ZEN Studios
Developer: ZEN Studios
Platform: PlayStation Network
Players: 1-8
Price: $9.99

The Punisher: No Mercy is a FPS exclusivity for Playstation Network based off the comic book series of the same name. Weighing in at $10 and about 700mb its one of the first games of its time, a FPS mainly focused at multi-player being distributed digitally. Sadly its not a very good first try.

As soon as you start the game the first menu option you see is Multiplayer. It’s clear, both through the advertising and in-game menu, that the game is multiplayer centric. As soon as I got in a match I discovered even this wasent very fleshed out. At the start only one gun is available to you and the unlocking of guns is linear (for example, to get Gun B get 150 kills with Gun A) and the first unlocks all required you to play single-player. So after my first match I jumped over to the single-player.

The single-player quickly throws you into the universe of The Punisher, introducing characters like Silver Sable and Barracuda in the first cut scene without much explanation of who they are and why you want to kill them. Over the course of the very short four mission single-player the story gets even more unintelligible to non-fans as new villains are introduced each level and are then quickly dispatched and discarded after the mission is over as The Punisher tears through a good size of the cast in minutes.
The single-player is presented similarly to Unreal Tournament meaning its basically a bot match. I saw similarity though because its done in a much worse way. The enemies spawn from the same 2 or 3 points and simply run at you waiting to be killed one after another in a long line. Not only being brain-dead but extremely weak to, only having a fraction of the health as players do online.

Once I had beaten the single-player I had unlocked some side arms, mods (similar to perks in Call of Duty or Mutators in Unreal) and new skins to play as. You progress linearly unlocking more weapons which forces you to use other guns if you have any interest in unlocking the others. Get 150 kills with the M16 to get a heavy machine gun, get 150 kills with that to unlock a AK47 and so on. Sadly it takes much to long to unlock them and they aren’t widely different.

As you kill other players in a match your gun upgrades, giving you things such as bigger scopes and clips and better accuracy. Sadly as soon as you die all the unlocks are gone and you start from scratch again making it much easier for better players to dominate. Combine this with moronic mods such as “Invulnerability” and seemingly random damage modeling and you have a game that shortly becomes boring as others cut you down while you have no chance of surviving.
For people looking for a competitive game they will be disappointed to see the game randomly handing out bonus points and kills to players who pick up the dollar sign power-ups that litter the floor.

Your game is further plagued when the characters you play as constantly blurt out one-liners and profanity as you play. Such gems as “Barracuda be killing your motherf**king ass” are repeated over and over in just one match.

It is obvious the game has identity problems. It offers features such as destructible cover while offering no cover system or significant bonus for shooting while crouched or standing still. It seems like a game selling for $10 would be aimed toward a more casual group but to unlock everything in the game would take hours upon hours and those that do put it the time gain a huge advantage over new players.

Now less than a week after launch I am hard pressed to find matches online and those I do find either lag or drop or the hosts quits which puts everyone back to the lobby (ZEN Studios is working on a patch to fix this).
While $10 isnt a big asking price the game doesn’t have much to give you. The single-player is boring and short, offering only a little over an hour of game play and the multi-player is poorly thought out and generic. Even for Punisher fans I couldn’t recommend this.

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