The Punisher

Common Sense Media says

Intriguing but extremely violent shooter.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

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


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.

Not applicable

Criminals do plenty of cussing.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Opening scenario occurs in a crack house.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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
Available online?Not available online
Release date:January 17, 2005
ESRB rating:M for (PlayStation 2, Xbox)

This review of The Punisher was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byBackyard_wrestler April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

it was a good fun game for those mature enough

The game itself was really fun. the probability of your parents letting you get it is pretty unlikely. there is enough blood, guts, and bodies to fil the ocean. the violence is the only issue there is nothing else to fear. play it if you can, God Bless.
Teen, 13 years old Written byLPFAInT April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
its a great game but one example of language is when you enter a room you hear someone scream "you little prick" and then he shoots him
Teen, 14 years old Written byThe Gamer Guy December 3, 2011


This game is well deserved of its M rating! If any of your kids ask for this game, you only need to say one thing: NO!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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