Postal 2 Review
We're going postal here!
Review by Tracy Bosworth
Published 24th April 2004
- Developer: Running With Scissors
- Publisher: Whiptail
- Release Date: 14th May 2003
The game is set on a day to day basis starting with day 1, Monday. Starting at the place he calls home, postal dude starts off his day by being screamed at by his girlfriend who sounds like someone you would expect to hear in a lunatic asylum (no wonder the guy has issues!). He then leaves his trailer park home with a scribbled ‘to do’ list and from here sets about his day to day business.
Postal dude’s missions are pretty ‘normal’ sounding such as cashing a cheque at the bank and returning library books however in this not so sleepy town of crazy gun wielding civilians nothing is ever as clear and simple as it seems. Postal 2 takes place in a real living environment so you’re never far away from some action, even if you’re not directly involved in it.
By now you’re probably thinking so, where is all this OTT controversial violence everyone keeps talking about? and the answer to that would be ‘everywhere’. A simple task such as buying a carton of milk can soon turn into a gun brawl when some crazy guy decides to hold the shop up, the stereotyped corner shop man will not fail to defend his stock and sets about firing his OTT gun in any direction that suits, if you pull out a gun in the shop to defend yourself against the mad man you can pretty much guarantee that you will be killed by either him, a fellow shopper or one of the shop keepers wives who are on standby with heavily armoury for trouble causers such as yourself! Also, try to take the milk without paying for it, go on, we dare you!
Postal dude is armed with a variety of weapons which can be found lying on tables or shelves or you can pick them up from dead bodies. Weapons range from a spade, various types of guns, a truncheon, a stun gun and a can of petrol which can be used to set things/people/animals alight. Naturally with all these weapons there is a number of ways to kill people too from bashing them continuously over the head with a spade to dowsing them in petrol and setting them alight with a match, all may seem fun at first but after a while this kind of OTT gruesomeness becomes tedious and you may decide to simply pull out a gun and shoot people in the traditional FPS style, it certainly seems easier.
Postal dude’s enemies range from police officers to anti-violent games protesters and all seem to be heavily armed and as ready to kill as you are, trouble is considering Postal dude is such a tough guy it certainly doesn’t take much to kill him. There are health packs lying around (naturally) and various bits of food increase your health slightly, but if you happen to get in a gun fight with more than one enemy you stand a good chance of getting killed leading to the frustrating task of reloading your last save point. Thankfully you can reload at any point in the game and thanks to the auto save you never really lose too much progress if you happen to die. Police officers may try to cuff you instead of killing you however and if you decide to stand still and be arrested (which is sometimes the easiest option) you will be taken to the police station where you will receive medical treatment and an easy escape back into the crazy world you were taken from.
The problem with all this violence and gore is that it’s very oddly placed in the game to the point where it doesn’t quite fit in. GTA 3 and other games in this genre worked, maybe because the whole idea was to complete missions based on illegal activities and in real life if you mess with the mafia you can expect a little ‘violence’ to come with it’ Postal 2 doesn’t have that game base backing. The errands are based on normal every day things and the violence in the game seems almost forced to make it more exciting and it does for a while. As well as murdering people in cold blood you also have the option to take on a number of the cities animals from psychotic dogs to cute cats. We tested out our can of petrol on a cat and watched it burn to cinders, all of you animal rights protesters remember it’s only a game!
Amongst the pointless violence comes other pointless action such as unzipping your trousers and urinating which to be honest is as pointless as it sounds, you can use this action to annoy people but they will either run away or stick a gun in your face, either way the lasting appeal is minimal. The biggest annoyance about Postal 2 is the loading times; the free roaming environment is split into sections which need to be loaded when entering and exiting. There are sign posts to let you know that you are entering a ‘load’ zone but nether the less you still have to endure it and after a while this may effect how you feel about the game as it did us, there is only so many times you can be willing to sit at your computer and watch the load bar fill up simply so that you can clear one area to wait for the next area to load and so on.
Postal 2 features fairly good graphics, the best of these were evident in facial models which in my opinion have never looked so detailed and realistic in a video game from every facial hair to different skin textures a lot of work has obviously gone into this part of the game. Graphical breaks are present however with people getting killed stuck halfway through a door and dying in that position so that when the door opens and closes the body miraculously stays stiff in mid air!
Postal 2 has received a lot of criticism for its OTT content and whilst some of it is called for, some of it is certainly unfair. At the beginning of the game is a warning pointing out the games violence and gore and this is exactly what the game claims to be, violent, controversial, probably offensive and partly damn right sick. If you go out and buy your son or daughter a Disney game only to find that you control escaped convict Mickey Mouse as he goes around killing his neighbours then you would be understandably upset, Postal 2 however is known to be a violent game and if this is why you bought it you wont be disappointed. Despite its lack of any real base line the game is addictive and replay able offering numerous ways to complete each task, if you’re easily offended then simply don’t buy it, anyone else might find a good game hidden in all of that controversy.
Review Score: 7/10
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