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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution

Published By: Zen Studios
Developed By: Zen Studios
Genre: Action
Players: 1-4 (2-8 online)
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: July 2, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Price: $9.99
Written By: Matthew Prunty

The Unreal Engine has become commonplace for third-party developers, with such titles as Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Gears of War 1 & 2, and even Too Human being built utilizing the engine. While many have stated that the Unreal Engine 3 has its limitations, these “supposed” limitations have never stopped Epic Games from creating intense gaming experiences in their Unreal Tournament or Gears of War franchises. Zen Studios, knowing they were going to create a multiplayer-only title with The Punisher: No Mercy, sought out the Unreal Engine 3. As a result of their hard work and dedication, The Punisher: No Mercy is an intense, fast-paced action title that is well worth the $10.

The Punisher: No Mercy is Zen Studios latest offering, exclusive to the PlayStation Network, based on the Marvel Comics’ character The Punisher. While the source material comes from the comic books, the heart and soul of No Mercy comes from Epic Game‘s Unreal Tournament. The only difference is that there is no space element and that the action is a tad slower than that of UT. No Mercy is a gaming experience that almost anyone can pick up and enjoy. The controls take practically only minutes to master and you don’t have to worry about being at a disadvantage due to the types of weapons your opponents are wielding.

Though the focus is on the multiplayer experience, No Mercy does include a short, but sweet single-player campaign. The single-player campaign takes you through four chapters of hell, followed by an intense final fight. The story is held together through comic book-style artwork done by Mike Deodato, with The Punisher narrating the action or his thoughts. Depending on your skill level, you can get though the single-player campaign in less than 5 hours. As you complete each chapter, you will unlock different characters and items that can be used within the multiplayer experience. There is also the added feature of Co-op mode if you want to fly through the single-player campaign with a buddy. Though I feel the co-op mode wasn’t really needed, it’s definitely fun to get down and dirty with a fellow comrade.

After firing up the multiplayer mode, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Zen Studios takes their projects very seriously. For a mere $10, the visual presentation of No Mercy is better than some big budget titles being released today. From character models, to gameplay maps and special effects, Zen Studios made sure that the experience was solid and intense. I did find some clipping issues, however they would probably go un-noticed by the average gamer. The musical score is befitting to the gaming experience. There are several one-liners spouted out by the characters within the game. All are cheesy and tend to get repeated if playing long enough in one battle.

There are a total of four gameplay modes and eight maps to do battle on, which is plenty for friends, strangers, and even enemies to battle and ultimately keep each other entertained. As you complete certain tasks within the multiplayer mode, you can unlock even more powerful weapons, as well as enhancements to keep you alive and make your opponents deaths all the more quicker. There are online leaderboards included along with in-game setups for future tournaments that Zen Studios will be looking to host. Like pretty much every multiplayer title released thus far, there is support for voice chat, which happens to works quite well. The only issue with the setup is that once a game is completed, your mic is deactivated. With the start of every game, you must press up on the D-pad in order to re-active your mic.

Seeing how online multiplayer is the future of gaming; Zen Studios did the right thing with focusing practically everything on the multiplayer campaign. The inclusion of the single-player campaign is good at providing some practice time before hitting the online network and for those who want some sort of story element for the game. For those looking for a solid game that provides an engaging online experience without breaking the bank, make sure to pick up The Punisher: No Mercy via the PlayStation Network.


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