I’m no fan of The Punisher. The last comic I read starring Frank
The Punisher: No Mercy (PlayStation Network)
The Punisher: No Mercy is intended for an audience that enjoys “twitch” shooters. Beneath all the blood and dismemberment, guns and explosions, comic panes and obscenities, lies a multiplayer game that requires deft fingers and an ability to spin within the x-axis on a dime. No Mercy is a game where headshots rule, powers-ups are abundant and copious amounts of armor covers, well, the body. The ideas behind this title sound great. After all, what shooter fan doesn’t want to play a digestible, downloadable version of (essentially) Unreal Tournament on their PlayStation 3? But however novel, the core concepts that fuel No Mercy aren’t executed well. This thing is a mess.
No Mercy is one of the slowest twitch shooters I’ve ever played. This is a good thing. The PlayStation 3 controller is a horrible substitute for a mouse and a keyboard. Despite the slower pace and (still) lack of precise control, headshots clumsily reign supreme. There's a few simple reasons why: (1) people don't live with bullets in their brains and (2) body armor upgrades are are ridiculously defiant to bullet penetration (and are available in abundance throughout the game’s maps). The body armor and bad control cause a major issue. Fighting a player one-on-one is more of an awkward endurance match more than anything else: most of my solo fights break down into a weird strafing contest where I and the other player put at least twenty bullets into each other before one of our legs or arms blows off spectacularly.
Pathetic, the level design and the upgrade system are. Every map in the game is a gigantic mess of corners, weird hallways, dead ends and curious centralized zones. Most of a match takes place near spawn points, but when the action does break out of a narrow corridor, the large spaces are no savior: most levels have a wide variety of annoying obstacles. The amount of times I’ve died because I fell in a trash can or a dark hole or got caught on a low corner shames me to mention. I’ve also died countless times while trying to earn a new weapon. No Mercy has a curious upgrade system that makes you use a certain gun in order to unlock a wholly unrelated one. It’s a silly, forced process that kills any attempts at immediate customization.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t mentioned the single-player component. The answer is simple: the campaign is a series of four multiplayer-style deathmatches, and it takes around forty minutes to complete. It’s a throwaway mode with vulgar comic cut-scenes preceding each round of play. Move along.
Score: 3 -- Poor (3s went wrong somewhere along the line. The original idea might have promise, but in practice the game has failed. Threatens to be interesting sometimes, but rarely.)
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