Review: The Punisher: No Mercy (PS3)July 9th, 2009 | Written by Josh Schwartzman | Topic: PlayStation 3, Reviews
The Punisher: No Mercy is Marvel’s attempt to release comic inspired games as downloadable content. While The Punisher in itself is a dull character to completely base an entire game around, this PSN title does nothing to change the feelings towards him. With a boring single player mode, repetitive gunplay and serious, serious bugs and glitches that hinder almost every aspect of the game, The Punisher: No Mercy feels almost like an unfinished product that was released for the sake of trying to cash in on the popular Marvel names.
Multiplayer is the main aspect of No Mercy and since the game lists it before single player on the menu screen, naturally one would assume it would be somewhat interesting and exciting to play. This is not the case however as multiplayer is a giant, buggy mess. Almost every match we encountered there was massive lag and slowdown problems, and this is consisting of a maximum of only eight players, and some of the rooms were not even full.
The gameplay is also way too frantic for its own good. To get an idea of what No Mercy was trying to do, just imagine Unreal Tournament without the fact-paced action and sprinkle on some half-assed ideas and you get the game in a nutshell. No Mercy definitely looks and feels like an Unreal clone, but it in no way ever achieves the level of success or entertainment the Unreal series is well known for. Weapons, health, and other various upgrades are obtained by picking up objects scattered around the levels, but since the game is so buggy, you never know when you actually pick these items up at all. Players move quite erratically during all the matches too, with moments where enemies would drift through walls, fly upwards through the ceiling, or just disappear completely. Add these moments to the effect of massive lag and slowdowns and just imagine how long you will enjoy playing online.
For what it’s worth, No Mercy does offer a nice assortment of multiplayer modes for you to try out, but as mentioned, all of them suffer the same ill-conceived effects of constant lag. The only mode that seemed to fare well was Till Death Do Us Part, which featured two-on-two matches. Although the lag was not as bad as the other modes, slowdowns were still an issue even with only four players in the room. Multiplayer also seems to be a victim of unnaturally long load times. It was often confusing to see the screen blink, go to a loading screen, blink again, and then load the game, only to go back into another loading screen. You have to wonder what the game is actually loading when the game looks and plays so incredibly bad.
There is a story mode as well, but only give this a try if you want to unlock all of the extra characters. There is a nice assortment of characters from the Punisher series than fans will recognize, such as Jigsaw, Microchip and Silver Sable, but all of them do basically the same thing. Story mode can be finished in less than an hour, and with four levels that you have to complete, there really is no reason to really get this out of the way so you can at least choose from up to ten characters in multiplayer. There also seems to be Tournaments available as well, but in the week playing No Mercy and constantly checking the tab for updates, there never seemed to be any available. Perhaps they will arrive in the upcoming weeks, but don’t expect many players to be around to fully take advantage of the tournaments.
No Mercy looks incredibly bland, with dull colors bombarding you on every inch of the screen and levels that lack any sense of originality. Plus, with the constant slowdowns and abnormal amount of glitches, No Mercy really feels like it would have been better suited to run on the PS1. In any regards, the voice acting is also as equally atrocious, with players grunting and groaning at inopportune moments and characters that spew out vulgar sayings whenever anyone dies as if to give the game a sort of “raw edge.” It does nothing but sound like a cheesy high-school production of students trying their best to make the most insulting game ever, and if that was the case than No Mercy succeeded.
The Punisher: No Mercy tries hard to mimic the success of the Unreal franchise but fails at even delivering a quality clone. Nothing about the game seems fit to even try, what with the one hour single player mode or the lag fest that is called multiplayer, everything about the game just seems broken. Fans of The Punisher might get a kick out of the wide cast of characters and locations from the comics, but other than that there is no reason to throw $10 bucks down on this mess. You can buy yourself a fresh stack of comics and lunch for the same price and still have a better afternoon.