PS3 Reviews: The Punisher: No Mercy Review

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The Punisher: No Mercy Review

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Graphics:

 

6.3

Gameplay:

 

7.0

Sound:

 

6.7

Control:

 

7.2

Replay Value:

 

6.4

Online Gameplay:

 

6.8

Overall Rating:       6.6

 

 

Publisher:

Zen Studios

Developer:

Zen Studios

Number Of Players:

1-2 Players

Genre:

FPS

The PlayStation Network has been home to several exclusive gems thus far, as we’ve already had the pleasure of downloading and playing wonderful titles like Wipeout HD, Flower, and echochrome. We had hoped to add The Punisher: No Mercy to the list of exclusive PSN must-haves but while it’s somewhat entertaining; it’s not polished enough to warrant a hearty recommendation. We certainly had fun going through No Mercy and eliminating wave after wave of mindless enemies, and the multiplayer can be invigorating as well, but it all feels…well, a little outdated and uninspired. The problem is, although we recognize that it’s merely a downloadable title, we’re just so used to FPSs that are insanely technically accomplished on every possible level, so we can’t help but notice the obvious drawbacks in The Punisher. If there had been more of an emphasis on the single-player aspect, we might’ve been a little more forgiving.

Considering the nature of the downloadable format, one can’t really tear down the visual presentation. This is a full game – well, kinda – that’s only about 730MB in size, and yet, Zen Studios did manage to produce a title that looks surprisingly good, although it’s certainly not up to Wipeout HD standards. The environments are nicely detailed and although they’re not especially diverse, they fit well into the dark, forbidding atmosphere. The character models are easily the worst aspect of the visuals, as they almost seem out of place: if you get up close and personal with some of your foes, you might almost mistake them for being ripped directly out of a PS2 title. They contrast sharply with the backdrops but the good news is that you may not care; the blood really sprays when you’re in close-range combat, and for the most part, the arenas are mostly free of severe visual glitches and drawbacks. The game suffers from some definite frame rate issues here and there, but we’ll get to that in the gameplay portion of the review below. If you’re familiar with downloadable offerings thus far, you probably won’t be too disappointed in what you see here.

The sound is appealing thanks to some decent voice acting and a passable soundtrack arrangement. The sound effects get a little monotonous and aren’t balanced evenly with the music, but that’s a common issue that we’re willing to forgive due to the overall intensity of the gameplay. We certainly think Zen Studios could’ve tossed in several more tracks and expanded on the effects, though, and the constant one-liners offered by your character don’t add much to the experience. Honestly, I’ve yet to play a game where I’ve heard threats like “you can’t hide” and said to myself, “hey, that really enhances things.” There also seems to be a lack of crispness and clarity in some effects, like when you go to reload: rather than the customary, crystal clear “snap” we’ve become used to, we sometimes won’t hear the reload effects at all. However, this is a minor complaint and for the most part, the sound is similar to the graphics in terms of quality. They’re both good for a PSN game but we’ve seen and heard better in the downloadable world, and they should’ve come together to lift the immersion and fun factor to a higher level. Extra note: if you love the fast-paced gameplay, none of this will matter much.

Yep, fast-paced. That’s what The Punisher: No Mercy is all about. It’s a first-person shooter that revolves around the concept of nonstop entertainment; there won’t be any strategizing or thinking here! Basically, just run, aim, fire, hope you don’t die, and occasionally zoom in for increased accuracy. At first, the game reminded us of the TimeSplitters franchise, as we move smoothly through each environment, almost as if one were sliding on glass. This is an old-fashioned feel, of course, as recent next-gen FPSs like Killzone 2 have really added the sensation of weight and human physical restrictions to our movement. However, we certainly don’t have a problem with it and it’s a big benefit in a game like No Mercy…well, it would be a 100% positive if it weren’t for the lagging frame rate. Not only will you see examples of this in the sparse single-player Story Mode, but it’ll often rear its ugly head during multiplayer matches. Things can really slow down during hectic firefights and if someone is lagging, watch out. We’re no technical wizards, but we wonder if this is a defect that could be treated with a game update of some kind; if it’s possible, it should top Zen’s priority list.

Well, actually, extending that Story Mode should top the priority list. We should probably tell you that it only took us about an hour and a half to go through the Story campaign, which only consisted of four separate challenges. On the other hand, it should also be noted that this game really is all about the multiplayer – as most FPSs are – and Zen would likely ask you to treat the Story Mode as a tutorial/introductory sequence. You should go through it, just because you’ll unlock a few new weapons and upgrades, but you won’t be impressed when that “To Be Continued…” pops up after completing the final arena. But this does lead us to one of the more attractive facets of The Punisher: customizing your character. The further you go, the more you will unlock, and you can outfit your character with a primary and secondary weapon, along with Active and Passive add-ons that have a significant effect on your performance. You can select your character setup before heading out, but Zen made a mistake by not allowing you to switch your choices. See, if you quit the Story Mode at any time, the game will have auto-saved…but you won’t be able to access the customization screen for that particular level.

But that’s hardly a crippling drawback due to the very short length of the Story Mode. Thing is, even the Story segments are designed like multiplayer arenas, so in this way, it plays a lot like Unreal Tournament (it’s no irony that No Mercy is powered by the Unreal engine). Although you follow a brief comic book storyline, each gameplay portion has you battling swarms of enemies in a multiplayer setting: goals include winning a Team Deathmatch, killing off a certain number of baddies within a set time span, and fending off waves of attackers with a limited amount of lives. As you play, your weapon will be upgraded in power and speed, so there’s great incentive to nail as many targets as possible before dying. There are also various power-ups to find sprinkled around each level, so you can locate extra money, health, and increased speed for your character (a definite bonus). As you complete each section, you will unlock new character models and upgrades. Some of them are new weapons while others are features like Thick Plates (extra armor) and Sprint for Life. You can fiddle around with character settings outside of the Story Mode, ‘cuz again, it’s all about the multiplayer.

There is also a Skirmish and Co-Op mode to toy around with, but in the end, you’ll want to test your mettle against other human players. There isn’t much to talk about; it’s a straightforward, hectic FPS that has its fair share of shortcomings and feels a little older than it should, but it remains entertaining for a while. But for some reason, we get the feeling that either Zen Studios should’ve fleshed out the Story Mode or just focused on the online multiplayer (like Warhawk). The weapons are fun and mostly well balanced, the areas aren’t all that diverse but they fit the mood of The Punisher style, the action remains fast-paced and smooth (provided the frame rate doesn’t stutter too much), and for only $9.99, it’s not a bad purchase. However, the technical issues can be significant, the Story Mode is a definite disappointment, the multiplayer is entertaining yet a little lacking, and in general, it seems the game could’ve used a bit more time in development. Seriously, a “To Be Continued…”? Really? That’d be cool if we hadn’t only played for like an hour. In the end, The Punisher: No Mercy is one of those games where we just shrugged after our play session and went, “well, yeah, it’s fun. I guess.”

It’s just nothing special, that’s all. But if you want some simple, straightforward, fairly well done FPS fun for only ten bucks (and you don’t have to go anywhere to nab it, either), feel free to give it a shot. It’s a surprisingly fast download and you’ll be blowing away baddies before you know it. Just don’t expect too much.

7/6/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (38 posts)

d_lang
Monday, July 06, 2009 @ 10:27:13 PM
Reply

6.6
HMMMMMMMM
AINT HAVE THE DOLLARS TO CHECK THIS CRAP OUT ANYWAY
THANKS


GO LONGHORNS

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Kangasfwa
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 12:41:46 AM

GO HOGS

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Hezzron
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 9:50:20 AM

I'll save my money for something better.......like eating at The Longhorn.

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CONTRABAND
Monday, July 06, 2009 @ 10:28:11 PM
Reply

Will they drop a demo at any time for this? i like playing B4 paying.

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fatelementality
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 6:40:25 PM

Word. Developers should be smart enough to have demos of any game they release. It really does help someone decide whether or not to purchase a game. What I don't understand is why some demo's (even Halo 3 and MGS4) come out like a month or two AFTER the game's release. Just take a tenth of the game and stick it on PSN dammit. It can't be that frickin difficult

Goat boy wills it, therefore it shall be.

Last edited by fatelementality on 7/7/2009 6:43:54 PM

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ExhumeART
Monday, July 06, 2009 @ 10:32:33 PM
Reply

I totally agree with you Ben. To me, this game provided a day's worth of entertainment, with the online mode helping to pass the time, but you can't hide the fact that this is a very average game. I loved the comic, and the actor from the first movie, Thomas Jane, is one of my favorite. But a strong love for a series can't energize an obviously average game. Not a waste of ten dollars, but not my happiest purchase of the year.

Last edited by ExhumeART on 7/6/2009 10:35:18 PM

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big6
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 9:39:59 AM

I think Dolph Lundgren was the actor in the *first* movie. ;)

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ExhumeART
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 6:42:20 PM

@big6 you know what I mean man. First Punisher movie from the 21st century.

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King James
Monday, July 06, 2009 @ 10:35:58 PM
Reply

Hmmmm??? Can I afford to waste $10...couldn't be any worse than a M. Night Shyamalan film, right?

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 7:11:49 AM

Hey! The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable are pretty good, though i have to admit his latest films have been flops.

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Lotusflow3r
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 9:44:22 AM

In regards to your ill-fated Shyamalan "joke", i have a quote from a master wordsmith, BoB Dylan:
"Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'
Don't criticize what you can't understand"

M. Night is a misunderstood genius, victim of the system he challenged. He used this quote for his profound film with a message (like Dylan), Lady In The Water.

Sorry, i always have to defend art. :) (even though it was a "joke")

@ultimadream.
His fans and art house lovers will tell you his efforts after Signs are his most profound because their more personal and artistic. If it speaks to you, its the most rewarding.
Having said that, many people misunderstood The Sixth Sense - Signs and thought of them as just "Ghost or Alien movies" which is just the outer shell yet they think they are the best because the media says so.

I've so let my self in for the attack lol

Peace and Love

Last edited by Lotusflow3r on 7/7/2009 9:50:56 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 10:50:44 AM

hmmm well to be honest i havent looked into hiim with great detail, like i said i liked The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, i dont really have problems with the rest of hims films other than The Happening.... i just couldnt help find the idea of the film silly. just looking up his new project The Last Airbreaker, it just doesnt apeal to me, but im sure it will to many, same with Speilberg doing Tin Tin..... i really wish he wouldnt.

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fatelementality
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 6:47:54 PM

The Village was great until the last 10 minutes when you realized that they were a just bunch of hicks.

Last edited by fatelementality on 7/7/2009 6:48:54 PM

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King James
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 8:50:38 PM

@Ultima
6th Sense was great and Unbreakable was okay.

@Lotus
His movies are misguided, and are full of concepts that should be found in other mediums (i.e. books, graphic novels, paintings, maybe even video games). Movies are suppose to be entertaining. His movies fell like a bad 5000-lvl English class lecture.

I guess what I'm saying is...IMO his movies suck. But thanks for calling me ignorant in your quote though. Real "artistic" of you.

Last edited by King James on 7/7/2009 8:51:34 PM

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Lotusflow3r
Wednesday, July 08, 2009 @ 8:43:34 AM

King James: i never called you ignorant nor myself artistic.

I dont like offending others.

i stated an opinion and what i believe with my sensitivity. You stated yours but i 100% do not agree at all. i got more entanglement out of all Shyamalans movies than any other these last few years in the mainstream. They speak to me and i believe i understand them.

Peace.

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Juanalf
Monday, July 06, 2009 @ 10:44:36 PM
Reply

To me it looked good from the videos,I don't know if anyone expected KZ2 graphics from a $10 game.If any thing the game is a bargain at that price,probably better than haze.

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King James
Monday, July 06, 2009 @ 11:02:46 PM

LOL...Haze

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Qubex
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 1:51:34 AM

My memory is a little Hazy... was Haze that bad lol!

Q!

"i am home"

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big6
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 9:41:37 AM

I actually had fun with Haze. I only played through it on 4-player co-op, so it was a blast!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, July 06, 2009 @ 11:14:04 PM
Reply

Called it.

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Alienange
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 9:49:08 PM

True

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jmo_INDY_Repub
Monday, July 06, 2009 @ 11:21:46 PM
Reply

shut up. i liked Haze, who doesnt like human bees addicted to a bee form of crack? lol

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RustEDalex
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 9:50:19 AM

recovering addicts

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Neurotoxiny
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 12:02:08 AM
Reply

I like The Punisher, but I'd rather waste $10 on another Metal Gear Solid I guess.

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End of line
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 12:49:55 AM

Ahh but spending a tenna on MGS wouldnt really be a waste now would it, no matter how many times you bought it.

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iGraves1
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 12:49:51 AM
Reply

This was a let down...I should of just waited for Battlefield 1943 and then compared them both.

Last edited by iGraves1 on 7/7/2009 12:50:41 AM

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Superman915
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 1:33:31 AM
Reply

i liked it. dumb, mindless, got to hear Barracuda tell a fool he was gonna beat him to death with his testicles. At least they had the decency to only charge 10 instead of 20 like the Watchmen folks.

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Wage SLAVES
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 1:45:29 AM
Reply

I was wondering about this game thanks for the review!!!

I got Bomberman Ultra and I Love it. Finally another game I can play with my wife.


Last edited by Wage SLAVES on 7/7/2009 1:46:57 AM

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___________
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 2:30:55 AM
Reply

i was extremely dissapointed with this.
i was expecting this to be like the first punisher on PC but shrunk down because its a psn title.
but it couldent be further from that.
the single player is exactly the same as the multiplayer just with bots instead of people.
its like skirmish,i wanted a single player campaign not a skirmish mode.
heres hoping they will finally wake up to themselves and do a true sequal to the first punisher game that was brilliant, especially the interrogation moments.

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dillonthebunny
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 5:08:42 AM
Reply

I think its worth £7... and I would of said it was worth a higher mark that 6.6.

BUT.. round up 6.6 and youre looking at 7/10 which is totally fair, plus with what we have seen with Battlefield 1943 coming out THIS THURSDAY...

Its lucky that The Punisher came out before, because I do wonder if it even would of scraped a 6/10 after we play BF1943.

still, I enjoy Punisher and will continue to play it.

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tridon
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 8:02:34 AM
Reply

This game is okay. At first I downright hated it. Totally not worth the $10. I'm starting to warm up to it now, however. It's decent fun playing against buddies online and the story mode is fine to pass by the time. I wish there was better explanations on what to do in each story challenge, though. Anyone beat the 4th challenge yet? How'd you do it? I don't understand it. I've killed 6 waves of enemies but I can't make it to 8. It's not because I run out of lives but because the time runs out. Any suggestions? I want to beat this by Thursday because I doubt I'll touch this after Battlefield 1943 hits.

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pavlovic
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 8:50:03 AM
Reply

In order to finish the 4th challenge, you have to look for the enemies, not just wait for them to show up.

IMO, it's a good 10 dollars game and I'm still having some fun with it.

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Lotusflow3r
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 9:55:27 AM
Reply

Hmm, i was iffy on this anyway so i think i will leave it be.

Siren Blood Curse was my best psn purchase! but, 9gig was too much!

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migabyte
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 12:00:22 PM
Reply

Where is Fat princess!!!!
I want that game, but it seems like it's never coming. Trine looks good too.

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King James
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 8:50:59 PM

Agreed.

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JPBooch
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 1:43:30 PM
Reply

This game blows. It's a lower budget UT3, if that's possible. The guns are unimpressive, the characters are meh, and the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. Pass on this one, imo.

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WigSplasher
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 8:13:09 PM
Reply

i love the punisher, but this game is bullshit.

battlefield: 1943 comes out soon anyway

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Alienange
Tuesday, July 07, 2009 @ 9:51:28 PM
Reply

I'm passing. 10usd is still 10usd. I've gotten retail games at that price.

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