Sunday, April 18, 2010

punisher: no mercy

Progress: 80% at time of posting

A PlayStation Network-exclusive, Punisher-themed, first-person shooter sounded like such a great idea. I could easily pass for a Punisher fan boy. I've seen all three movies. Used to love Jim Lee's work on War Journal in the 90's but stopped just short of buying a skull shirt. This was an impulse purchase for me and I paid the price. The following is less of a review and more of a warning to interested gamers.
When you first fire up P:NM it opens with a scene of the New York skyline at night, camera panning across a large ship in the river, Mercy written down it's side. Too quickly you learn this was the best animation in the game and it was just a company logo before the game loads. The actual game cut sequences consist of still comic art panels, most likely the first "motion comic" ever made. Sadly out of all the great Marvel content available for the Punisher the illustration comes off weak with very little to no character detail. When you do see a nice panel of our hero, his face is usually blacked out as if in shadow or covered by a gun.

There is little to no difference between the multiplayer and story modes of this game. In short, there never should have been a story mode. This could have released the developers to focus solely on a fun Marvel shooter, unfortunately this wasn't the case. P:NM runs on the Unreal engine so the "game mechanics" are familiar right away they just aren't very good. Basically, you run around trying to collect items and upgrade your weapon before you get picked off. You will die a lot in this game.

The aforementioned story mode is incredible short. Most PSN trophies are awarded through online multiplayer matches. There are pretty slim pickings for multiplayer matches out there; if there is even anyone out there still playing it. You can unlock and play as different Punisher related characters but there really is no difference in the game play. These characters background and relationship to the Punisher are never explained within the game and impossible to draw, even for a fan, from the cut scenes. There are some random Marvel factoids on the many loading screens.

This was my first and biggest disappointment from the PSN.  I wouldn't download this game again if it was free with a download sponsored by Smith & Wesson. Hopefully, this review will save someone 10 bucks. There are so many other great shooters out there but Punisher: No Mercy is a complete waste.

No mercy, indeed.

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