I am going to level with you all - I am not a huge comic book reader. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever read a whole comic book in my lifetime. With that being said, I do know some about comic books and their characters, but I do not claim to be an expert. One thing I do know though is that I have been extremely disappointed with comic book character that have been turned into games as of late (AKA The Hulk & Spider-Man 2 just to name a few). So does The Punisher create an experience that will be beneficial to comic book games? You’re going to have to keep reading our full review to find out!
The Punisher is a game that takes after Marvel’s comic book series, which features Frank Castle, an ex-marine who witnessed his family being murdered. So basically you have a typical sort of idea that we have seen in many comic book heroes, and of course we see Frank wanting to take revenge, and we see that Frank is already in process of doing this when the game begins. For those of you fans of the comic books you will see many recognizable faces. The story is one that is extremely bloody, gory, you name it and this game really does everything possible to earn its much deserved "Mature" rating. The story in the game doesn’t play a huge role but does a nice job of helping the single player progress.
If I were to compare The Punisher to any other game it would easily be considered a very similar game to Max Payne, as it carries the same third person shooter style, minus the bullet time and with the addition of some new abilities. For the most part though if you’re wondering what type of game The Punisher is, it is a third person shooter that borrows some ideas from a few different genres, but for the most part remains a pretty standard third person shooter.
One of the things that The Punisher does not shy away from is the large amount of firearms in your possession, as you really get every type of weapon under the sun, whether it is a pistol, shotgun, rocket launch, I think you get the point! Well of course you start with only a few pistols, as the game seems very eager to hand you the rest of the arsenal very quickly. This in my opinion wasn’t the best move by the developers, as you really seem to get to visit some of the best portions of the game early on.
One thing that The Punisher really attempts to throw a bunch of different types of animations at you to really mix up the way you take the baddies out in the game. This once again starts out as a great idea and a great feature, and from there on out you will seem to find yourself searching for more, and wanting more out of the game as the game really tries to sell itself more so in the beginning of the game then the end.
Another thing I noticed with The Punisher is that it really doesn’t try to attract fans outside of the fans of the series. When I say that I mean the storyline and the game itself was created (in my opinion) more towards the ones who are already interested in The Punisher rather then guys like me who have never read a page of the comic book in my life.
What The Punisher ends up coming down to a very standard third person shooter that never does stray away from the trappings of the genre. The game does offer quite a bit of different animations and weapons, but both of those lose their appeal pretty quickly. To be honest there really isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with The Punisher, it is just a "standard" third person shooter, and there really isn’t anything more to say about it.
As the PS2 really begins to age and the console is starting to hit its last few strides, we have been starting to see the new releases graphics not impressing us as much as they used to. And thus is the case with The Punisher, which would have impressed a few years ago, but now just seems average and uninspired.
The character models in The Punisher are in my opinion the best thing the game has going for it, as it seems like the developers spent quite a great deal of time using plenty of color variation and detail to really make the characters look pretty impressive. The environments comparatively speaking to the character models just don’t stand up very well as the game progresses I felt as though the visual quality of the game decreased as well. Most of the games environments seem rather dull with not a whole lot of detail being found.
Overall The Punisher is a good average looking game that doesn’t really have anything overly wrong with it, just doesn’t doing anything to "wow" us either.
The one thing about The Punisher that I must give the game credit for is that it was a lot of fun to play. Even if the game kind of seemed like a Max Payne clone, the game on its own rights was really an entertaining experience that offered up plenty of action the entire way through. And although there were times that the game seemed to drag a little, the game’s large amount of action really made for a very fun experience.
Like I said in the gameplay section of this review, there is nothing wrong with The Punisher. But with that being said the game doesn’t do anything to go above and beyond what is already out on the market today. If you are a fan of the comic book then this is going to be a great game for you, if not this is a perfect rental game that won’t let you down!
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.