Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: The Punisher: No Mercy

2:00 PM on 07.10.2009 // Brad Nicholson

I’m no fan of The Punisher. The last comic I read starring Frank West Castle had to deal with dinosaurs and Wolverine. So, I’m a little behind. Still, I can appreciate The Punisher’s dark vibe and Castle’s constant thirst for vengeance. I assumed when I downloaded The Punisher: No Mercy that I was going to get both of those things in abundance.

It’s never good to assume. After I finished playing No Mercy, I came to the conclusion that Zen Studios could have slapped anything relatively dark on the game and I wouldn’t have noticed a difference. This game has little character.

But the license doesn’t really matter if the core game rocks, right?

Hit the break to learn if The Punisher: No Mercy stands up among the greatest shooters of all time.

The Punisher: No Mercy (PlayStation Network)
Developer: Zen Studios
Publisher: Zen Studios

Released: July 2, 2009
MSRP: $9.99

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.

That sad combat scenario relies heavily on the game cooperating with me at the time of the fight. No Mercy’s netcode is trash. Every match I play is either viciously laggy or bouncy enough to kill many of my button presses. And there’s really no excuse for this: the maximum amount of players that can play in a single match is eight, which, by the way, makes for a very boring deathmatch.

One of the game’s few strong points is the matchmaking system. No Mercy has multiple playlists that players can choose from when entering into the multiplayer mode. Each playlist rotates a given amount of catered game modes (all very traditional, boring types) within a certain player cap. It’s designed so people can stay together and keep playing without seeking a new room. It’s a great concept, but the struggle is always keeping it together. After a single mode, I often had to leave to find new matches because everyone bailed.

The other strong point is the visuals. The game uses the Unreal Engine. Characters and environments have decent detail and the combustible effects and gib stuff are quite pleasing to the eye. Hell, even the shadows look pretty. Like Mass Effect, No Mercy has some weird pop-in, but hey, this thing is a downloadable title.

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.

It’s easy not to like The Punisher: No Mercy. The lazily created campaign mode, the dreadful level and upgrade design, horrendous lack of bullet feedback and latency are all factors working against it. The great visuals and matchmaking have nothing to do with the core game, which is lifeless, sluggish, and dreadful.

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.)

Brad Nicholson,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Archelon avatarArchelon
Well, Destructoid. I did it. I jumped ahead.
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Flawed but fun favorite game sorter. Post top 30 in the comments. [url][\url]
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
I am tired of random players. I need to enlist some help with Triforce Heroes challenges. Would anyone like to pair up with me?
El Dango avatarEl Dango
[img][/img] fun...
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night I had to clean projectile liqiud dogshit off of the sides of my puppies kennel. Pity me. Read my blog.
techsupport avatartechsupport
Taking a break from Fallout 4 to try out Twitch Creative. Catch me painting Chun-Li while listening to an eclectic mix of Alex G, DJ Shadow, and Modest Mouse. [img][/img]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
So far from first impressions of my Freedom Planet indie box its 100% more worth it than lootcrate. Whereas lootcrate you get a bunch of stuff you may or may not like, indie box gives you indie games, and stuff related to that game, such as the soundtrack
maycausecancer avatarmaycausecancer
When one game is rated 7.4 and another 7.6, Are you telling me one game is 0.2 worse than the other. WHAT!?!
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
I think Microsoft takes the cake for worst console updates. The XBone UI is worse and the fucking controller had an update. What the hell has gaming become?
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
Well, that's a wrap for the Bloodborne DLC. I liked it. More thoughts and maybe spoilers in the comment section.
Confuseddalek avatarConfuseddalek
a rainy afternoon, and too sleepy for games. Time to go to the animal shelter and try not to fall asleep, surrounded by kittens.
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Following from yesterday's Community Question, how would you feel if reviewers began assigning two scores to a game? One specifically for the technical aspects/performance of the game, and the other for their own personal enjoyment?
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I went back to Persona 4 Golden this weekend, asked Chie to be my girlfriend but then accidentally maxed out my social link with Yumi, changed my relationship status to "It's Complicated" on Personabook. [img][/img]
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Why am I hyped? Just cause :D
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
You know what Fallout 4 mod I want to see? One to fix the interior lightning. It's like the silliest thing to get fixated over, but I can't seem to ignore how white and bright some of those inside lights are.
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Just wrote my first C-blog. It's me talking about the games I have played this month; I'm quite excited
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I wish the Squid Girl outfit was still a dress for boys. I want to live through my Inkling boy and be a cute girly-man, dammit. [img][/img]
Zer0t0nin avatarZer0t0nin
Goshdarnit...just stood in front of the camera to record an intro for the advent calender thingy and actually got stage fright >.>
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Well, it seemed like for two seconds people were finally going to give Star Fox a fair shake, but nope! GameXplain's YouTube audience seem pretty insistent that it's just a Star Fox 64 clone down to the graphics. Sometimes I just don't understand peopl
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I don't think it will happen, but if the NX is turns out to be a VR device, I will be the saddest boy in the milky way.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -