Mixed or average reviews - based on 47 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 47
  2. Negative: 1 out of 47
Buy On
  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. My favorite part is definitely how the game doesn't really point you in one way or the other, whether to be somewhat good or despicably bad, a feature that something like Manhunt should've included.
  3. Endless fun, through brain dead shoot 'em up action, violent tortures, enjoyable puns and just plain old ridding the earth of "scum" such as drug dealers or Mafia bosses (A skill rarely achieved by many) with a dash of plain and simple brutality. Bravo!
  4. Cheat Code Central
    Indeed one of the most hideously violent games released, thus it makes other contenders such as "San Andreas" and "Mortal Kombat Deception" look decidely tame in comparison. But how else can you capture the essence of a character hellbent on stopping crime any way he can without featuring the over the top carnage he's known for in comics and movies? The short answer is that you cannot; go big or go home.
  5. As generic a third-person shooter as you're likely to find, with its novel gimmicks countered by some truly irritating shortcomings.
  6. A brutal game that definitely deserves the M rating that it received. It is also a game that is a blast to play. Every time I sat down to play this game, it seemed like the time just flew by because I was having so much fun.
  7. The Marvel entity known as The Punisher is done right in this game... really right. The Havoc engine makes for pretty fun gameplay but there's not much of the core action that you haven't seen before. Interrogations and special kills are a blast.
  8. The Punisher isn't quite a top-notch must-own title, but is definitely worth more than a cursory glance from anyone who likes their action games to be a fun romp with big guns, large amounts of enemies, and fairly solid gameplay.
  9. The violence in The Punisher game is over the top, like the comic it is based on. It never seems overly disturbing like in the game "Manhunt," and you never feel that you are playing anything other than a comic based game.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. It does become repetitive but the level design, mission structure and small variety of missions makes it easier to swallow, creating an overall decent third person action game for the fans.
  13. You gotta love a man who puts two knifes in your hand then pushes them through your eye sockets. Frank Castle is definitely someone you want on your good side.
  14. 78
    Am I disappointed? Somewhat, I think the game could have had some variety in missions, but its still a really good game.
  15. The aim of the violence in this game is to produce wows and laughs from gamers.
  16. It's definitely fun for a little mindless fun – and if you're into over the top violent gaming, you won't be disappointed.
  17. The Punisher emerges as a thoroughly decent shooter. It's fun, but after you kill a few hundred thugs it may start to grow a little boring.
  18. Sure, it may appear to be a "Max Payne" clone, and the violence is sure to make waves with your local senator but damn, killing in a game was never so much fun!
  19. This isn't a game that requires a lot of skill. But if you can get past the gore, it's a rarity in the comic book world: a game that stays true to the original work and doesn't stink.
  20. 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.
  21. Being a fan makes this even more sweet, but it will engage anyone that's up for this kind of challenge.
  22. Game Informer
    Laughable enemy AI, a poor targeting system, and sluggish movement really hold it back from being anything more than average. [Feb 2005, p.112]
  23. The interrogations are unique but do tend to repeat themselves frequently.
  24. Everything about it screams "average", from the relatively enjoyable but repetitive gameplay, to the nice but not spectacular graphics.
  25. There are many things in The Punisher that make it stand out from other games, such as the interrogations, the superb voice acting, the appearance of other comic book heroes and villains (not going to say who to spoil it), but the repetitiveness of each level can start to wear you down.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Shock value only takes the game so far, though. What really keeps you playing to the end is Punisher's scribe Garth Ennis' excellent script. [Feb 2005, p.88]
  29. Official Xbox Magazine
    A decent "Max Payne" clone whose gimmicky kills eventually wear off and yield to the mediocre gameplay. They're on the right track, though. [Feb 2005, p.81]
  30. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    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]
  31. Shallow, repetitious and overly simplistic.
  32. The game tries to break out of the third-person shooter blueprint by offering sometimes-gory interrogation sequences, but these portions don't do enough to change what is otherwise a very by-the-numbers action game.
  33. A mediocre game. It is suffering from many annoying problems like repetitiveness, bland graphics, and horrible sound effects.
  34. 60
    Aside from bugs like that, annoying as they are, Punisher does a good job of translating the source material, right down to the dingy, everyday visuals and the character design for the lowlifes within.
  35. 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.
  36. 60
    Fun at first, but soon becomes repetitiveboth 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.
  37. 60
    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.
  38. 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.
  39. Would've been a great game had it come out three years ago, but this is 2005, and its gameplay mechanics just aren't acceptable. There's just so much wasted potential it's ridiculous, and the graphics are so average that I'm very surprised at Volition.
  40. Dark, violent and derivative, but nowhere near as flawed as the movie.
  41. games(TM)
    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]
  42. At the heart of the title, there's a generic third-person shooter. The game doesn't try and doesn't succeed in progressing or adding anything to the genre, and you'll probably get bored halfway through.
  43. The heavy violence and strong ties to the Marvel universe really work for fans of The Punisher and the story and presentation does do a nice job at putting the player into the deranged mind of this vigilante.
  44. 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.
  45. Edge Magazine
    Once you've wiped away the layer of gore, you're left with an experience that, expectedly, offers limited entertainment. [March 2005, p.85]
  46. AceGamez
    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."
  47. Play Magazine
    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]

Awards & Rankings

#74 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2005
#41 Most Shared Xbox Game of 2005
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Nov 29, 2018
    The best Punisher video game ever made. It perfectly captures the aesthetic of the comic-book. This combines the shooting of "Max Payne" withThe best Punisher video game ever made. It perfectly captures the aesthetic of the comic-book. This combines the shooting of "Max Payne" with the executions of "Manhunt". While the gameplay can be repetitive, it does feature all the weapons and violence you'd want in a Punisher title. This is a guilty pleasure. I would give it a 7 out of 10. Full Review »
  2. Apr 13, 2011
    This is one of the best games I ever played. Good graphics, good story and very good game play. The tortures and killings are the best!This is one of the best games I ever played. Good graphics, good story and very good game play. The tortures and killings are the best! when I'm angry I play this game and feel better. Full Review »
  3. BobJ.
    Mar 23, 2005
    I love this game it is awesome the kills are sweet.