• Publisher: THQ
  • Release Date: Jan 17, 2005
  • Also On: PC

Mixed or average reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 44
  2. Negative: 3 out of 44
  1. It's not all brutality. The Punisher is also one of the most immersive strategy games ever created. Aim for the head and enjoy.
  2. Fans of the comic book will rejoice in how their beloved anti-hero has made such as magnificently bloody transition from page to pixel without loosing any of his edge along the way, which is not down to just one singular entity, but rather all involved who strived to keep the game true its dark Marvel roots founded in the adult Max series.
  3. If you’re a Punisher fan I guarantee you’ll love this game. The Punisher is fully fleshed out through both his dialogue and his bloody brutality.
  4. 85
    Interrogating enemies is a real treat and makes for a nice break between firefights. Add to the fierce gameplay the writing talents of Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti, and you have a real winner of a game.
  5. The Punisher may not have turned out as well as some may have hoped, but the PS2 version is definitely the one to pick up.
  6. As generic a third-person shooter as you're likely to find, with its novel gimmicks countered by some truly irritating shortcomings.
  7. More violent than San Andreas? Yep. More violent than Manhunt? Maybe. But this isn't just about the gore - it's solid fun. Capital punishment indeed. [PSM2]
  8. 80
    A blast to play. Yes, there are many moments where it starts to get monotonous, but then you suddenly hit a new interrogation zone and suddenly it's a bloody fiesta.
  9. With a story partially written by Punisher veterans Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti, and featuring "Max Payne"-style gameplay, "The Punisher" perfectly captures the essence of comic books. [Feb 2005, p.74]
  10. While it might not have a lot that players will find in replay value, the story and in-game action, particularly those of the interrogations, makes The Punisher a title that a number of gamers will enjoy.
  11. In terms of doing the comics justice, this game is a shining example of how to stay true to the source material, but as a game, it can feel a little repetitive. Dig it for the story and the characters, not the depth of gameplay.
  12. With solid graphics & sound, wicked interrogation/kill systems, and dialogue written by Punisher comic legend Garth Ennis (also of “Preacher” graphic novel fame) this title is hard to pass up for any die-hard Punisher fan.
  13. It has tons of non-stop action and a badass character that you can really get behind. It’s just that the repetitive nature of the game really stops this from becoming a true classic.
  14. Not since Mortal Kombat II have I played a game that actually had the blood and gore enhance your experience like The Punisher does.
  15. Violent and unforgiving, this one is not for children, but it’s a compulsive game nonetheless.
  16. Laughable enemy AI, a poor targeting system, and sluggish movement really hold it back from being anything more than average. [Feb 2005, p.112]
  17. With tons of cameos from classic Marvel characters like the Black Widow, dialogue penned by Punisher writer Garth Ennis, and the sort of loving attention to detail that could please the most finicky of Comic Book Guys, the Punisher is practically a textbook example of how to do a good media-to-game conversion.
  18. 75
    If you’re a Punisher fan, you’ll most likely love this game. It offers a good solid campaign that will last around six to ten hours depending on how fast you cruise through it.
  19. Despite the intense, all-too-realistic blood, guts and gore, I had a blast playing it. I just hope that doesn’t make me a sociopath.
  20. This game probably won’t win any awards for originality. But even as it is, comic fans will be especially pleased, and it’s more than capable of providing the desired bang you’d expect for your buck.
  21. 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.
  22. A decent game but isn’t going to be on a top ten list. The graphics and audio follow suit with the gameplay by not distracting but not giving an impressive showing either.
  23. When the smoke clears, it's just another third-person action game.
  24. 70
    If you want pure, unadulterated violence, you came to the right place. Still, I can't help but be a little disappointed in this title -- especially coming from Volition, of Red Faction fame. It's a little too by-the-book.
  25. If you are squeamish at all steer clear of this game completely, otherwise you may find yourself smiling with glee as you lower a drill bit into some unlucky sap’s temple.
  26. Surprisingly good. [March 2005, p.100]
  27. 69
    A poor man’s "Max Payne." Hardcore Castle fanatics will still get this game regardless, and they may as well should as it is a modest representation of the comic series, it just could have been so much better. To everyone else, you can probably romp right through The Punisher and complete everything it has to offer with a rental.
  28. Derivative or not, Punisher suffers from the same crippling problem: The extreme gunplay gets old after you've capped your first 50 felons. [March 2005, p.118]
  29. While it attempts to put its own spin on the third-person shooter genre by adding sometimes-gruesome interrogation sequences, this game is, more or less, "Max Payne" without the bullet time.
  30. 65
    On the surface it looks like a really good game, but after about half an hour it becomes repetitive and a little dull.
  31. The Punisher does exactly what it sets out to do. Picking up the controller gives immediate access to a theatre of death and destruction, and while originality is gunned down at some point during the first few levels, there’s plenty of fun to be had, especially for fans of the comic. [March 2005, p.106]
  32. 60
    No, the Punisher believes in planning ahead and has come prepared with an infinite supply of ammo—his clips might run out, but you never need to find more.
  33. I did like playing the game for the extra modes outside of the normal story mode, since they actually offered up some killer objectives and nice gameplay.
  34. 60
    Fun at first, but soon becomes repetitive-both in terms of the Punisher's actions and the criminals' voice responses. Add to that weak graphics and animation, as well as not enough opportunities to "enjoy" Punisher's originality, and you end up with an adventure that turns a bit stale too quickly.
  35. The perfect game for obsessive fans of the comic franchise, those who never tire of senseless violence, and activists looking for scapegoats, but it simply doesn't have enough to offer anyone else.
  36. 60
    Any of the game’s flaws are somewhat balanced by the ability to stab someone in the face, or burn them alive in an incinerator. Well, if you’re into that sort of thing, anyway.
  37. Dark, violent and derivative, but nowhere near as flawed as the movie.
  38. Once you’ve wiped away the layer of gore, you’re left with an experience that, expectedly, offers limited entertainment. [March 2005, p.85]
  39. But the trouble is, as soon as you remove the novelty death sequences it's actually the dictionary definition of the average third-person shooter.
  40. Unless you love poorly done, "edgy" scenes of death, or you really, really like shooting things, The Punisher is a let down in almost every aspect and is easily buried by the quality of similar titles like "Red Dead Revolver."
  41. The steady mechanics and sheer brutality of The Punisher save it from the slaughterhouse and lead to a decent rental, but repetitive gameplay and some stupid design errors make it hard to commit to Frank Castle's crusade.
  42. Don’t bother buying this game, it's nothing you haven't seen before.
  43. It’s certainly good for wiping away memories of the God awful movie, that’s for sure.
  44. The game, like the movie it was also inspired by, has failed to properly tap into the vivid, dark energy of the comic book. [Feb 2005, p.62]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 0 out of 13
  1. Dec 13, 2012
    A pretty decent game that mimics Manhunt in many ways. I was really suprised at how graphically violent it was, considering it's a Marvel game. But, it does stay true to the comic (more or less) and Frank Castle comes across as the Badass he is perfectly. Overall: One of the unsung PS2 hits that is worthy of the limelight. Full Review »