America - Front
America - Back
By ssj12 29th Jul 2009 | 1,367 views
With all the hype surrounding Marvel's bloodthirsty, revenge stricken-hero, The Punisher, thanks to the movies, it only made sense that we would get a video game to accompany it all. The Punisher: No Mercy's style is quick and accurate gunplay with some tactical finesse thrown into the mix. With this in mind, anyone would picture a fast-paced FPS with tons of blood. What we get feels more like Wolfenstein 3D with a fresh coat of paint.
The story, if it can be called one, is a joke. It is presented as a comic-style cut scene that is completely random and impossible to follow. Usually the most you will understand is this guy is evil and you have to kill him. Other times, the Punisher will tell you that the fight you're about to encounter was a trap set for you. There is no real plotline to be found or reason to why your killing small enemy armies each stage. It truly makes no sense. The Punisher should have been an easy character to write a story for. Bad guy threatens to kill people or destroy city. You must save it. That is literally all that would be needed.
The gameplay is a pretty bland experience for a game of this genre.. As stated in the first paragraph all we get is a game that is like Wolfenstein 3D with a graphical face lift. Enemy AI is just plain stupid. They almost run the same pattern as the white-coated soldiers in Wolfenstein 3D. They run back and forth before going head-to-head with you, making them very easy to kill. The only real reason you die is because you're constantly being surrounded by your enemy.
Each stage of the campaign consists of a boss fight and a specific number of enemies you have to kill before the time runs out. Take, for example, Stage 2 - you have 12 minutes to defeat 158 enemies and the boss. The boss's HP is unknown but I'd like to say its around 800HP considering the amount of ammo needed to kill him. He fires incredibly quickly, and moves about as fast as you do. Boss fights are the main reason why each round is hard to accomplish, even on the Easy difficulty. The only reason you would want to play this is to unlock all the weapons, weapons upgrades, characters, and gear.
Co-op is an issue upon itself. It is not truly 'online' co-op. You need to know someone that owns the game in-order to play. Sadly this is why I couldn't review this part of the game. No one else seems to own it. Still, I just want to question whoever decided to make co-op mode Friends-only. This is just a very poor decision.
Multiplayer comes close to being this game's saving grace. Jumping online and connecting to a random match is very easy. Gameplay is exactly like the campaign except you have human players that actually make the game challenging. There are six gametypes; Vigilante, Team Deathmatch, Punish the Punisher, Elimination, Time Trial and Survival. They all help to make the multiplayer a more enjoyable experience. There is no lag to speak of and the Quick Match function will get you going in a matter of minutes. It can almost be called fun playing against people who actually uses cover and their heads to stay alive.
Surprisingly, what hurts this game the most isn't enemy AI or repetitive gameplay. The problem is the most fundamental part of a game that is needed to make the experience enjoyable: the controls. They just feel sluggish. This issue isn't as noticeable in single player as it is multiplayer though. The enemy AI basically gives you the upper hand even with slow controls but humans do not. Accuracy is a must with multiplayer of this game's style. There are several configurations available to set, but only the first really seem to feel closest to other FPS games on the market. After trying them all out none of them helped to remove the sluggish feel of the controls. It might also be possible to get used to it over time. It's just that people shouldn't have to get used to slow controls. It takes way to long to turn and aim at your enemies.
Looking at the technical side of things, this game is quite dull to look at and very boring to listen to. Everything has fairly rough textures and nothing seems to have the polish that the Unreal Engine 3 is capable of. It's honestly hard to tell if Punisher: No Mercy looks better or worse then Unreal Tournament 2004, which runs on the Unreal Engine 2. The audio seems to be basically all sound effects, but even if there actually was music playing, it would probably be virtually inaudible considering the amount of gunfire and explosions happening all around you. Gunfire sound effects don't seem correct either. They seem a bit muddled at times. The voice acting is terrible. It seems there's only about 5 or 6 audio clips for each character and you will constantly hear the same lines over and over.
At the end of the day, it turns out this game is just another bland, boring, and downright poor FPS released into this ever-overflowing genre of games. If you can stomach the blaring issues with this game, it's available on the PSN for $9.99. To me, there aren't too many reasons to want to subject oneself to 30 - 40 hours of very dull gameplay just to unlock a few trophies.