The Punisher

Game review by
Raffi Kevorkian, Common Sense Media
The Punisher Game Poster Image
Parents recommend
Intriguing but extremely violent shooter.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Just about all of the criminal elements are negative ethnic stereotypes, i.e. Russian, Italian-American, Japanese.

Violence

The ratio of deaths per scenario is roughly 70 to 100 people per mission by way of shooting, explosions, knife work, strangulation, and any number of the dozens of creative deaths.

Sex
Language

Criminals do plenty of cussing.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Opening scenario occurs in a crack house.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the extreme violence makes this game a poor choice for kids and younger teens, and warrants a discussion for older players. The star rating given this game is based on quality of gameplay within this genre and is not an endorsement of the violence in the game.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 18+-year-old Written byA Caring Mother June 23, 2019
Parent of a 5 and 10-year-old Written bymyst May 30, 2010

Why?

Honestly, who wants these images and story lines in their kids minds? How do families benefit by playing games that center on killing people? These games were i... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 20, 2014

Not good for 10 year olds.

The violence isn't for ten year olds, although you can put the blood off. Anyway the language I put off. The Punisher is a an awesome hero, more a vigilant... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byCWG1 March 29, 2013

Okay Game.........

this game is just disturbing it is kind of like manhunt, but a little less gory. This game you can put people in propeller blades, Put nails through there Eyes,... Continue reading

What's it about?

THE PUNISHER shares a storyline with the comic book series and films based on the main character: Former government agent Frank Castle becomes a vigilante after his family is murdered by the mob. Muscle-bound Frank uses an assortment of weapons to exact revenge on all kinds of criminals from Japanese Yakuza to Russian mercenaries. The point of the game is simple: Kill as many of the bad guys as possible.

The Punisher's vast armory includes pistols, shotguns, machine guns, sniper rifle, and grenades, as well as the odd crowbar, baseball bat, hatchet, and the ever-ready knives he uses to stab and twist in opponents' faces or cut their throats. Players are guided through a number of scenarios where they carry out missions to blow up boats and rescue hostages, for example, all the while gathering information that leads Frank closer to a showdown with Jigsaw, the crook responsible for his family's deaths.

Is it any good?

Deaths number roughly 70 to 100 people per mission by way of shooting, explosions, knife work, strangulation, and any number of creative deaths. There is also "slaughter mode," which allows the character to enter a psychotic haze of violence to get out of tricky situations. Victims gurgle, scream, whimper, and whine, especially when being interrogated. Interrogation is particularly disturbing because the player has an active hand in how much torture to inflict.

Violence aside, The Punisher has an intriguing storyline that overshadows the rather average graphics. There is a great deal of dialogue between the characters as well as the Punisher's inner monologue, which includes flashbacks to Vietnam, the death of his family, his attempt to lead a normal life, and so on. Even in easy mode, the game requires serious problem-solving skills to advance, but the challenges aren't unreasonable and the patterns are consistent. Overall the game is intriguing, but the violence overwhelms all.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about vengeance. Do you understand Frank's anger? Is violence-as-vengeance ever appropriate? What is appealing about Frank's method? What do you do when you're feeling mad?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 2, Xbox
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Volition
  • Release date: January 17, 2005
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: M
  • Last updated: September 19, 2018

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