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Postal²: Share the Pain (Windows)

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61
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Rekrul (51)
Written on  :  Jul 10, 2008
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars3.57 Stars

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful

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Summary

Not bad, but could have been better.

The Good

Postal 2 gives you a fairly large virtual town to explore with many hidden and out of the way places to discover. I loved the freedom you had to go almost anywhere and do whatever you wanted. You can go straight to the errands, or you can just wander around the town stocking up on supplies, many of which are hidden on the various rooftops that you can access if you're clever enough.

The variety of weapons is impressive, from the standard firearms to the gas can that you can use to turn a peaceful lobby into a blazing inferno. Often I would get annoyed at the characters in the game and just spend my time killing them in various ways. At least until I got tired of that and decided to just play the game.

Each day has errands you must run, which get progressively tougher as the game goes on. This is partly because the tasks get tougher, but also because the other characters in the game get more trigger-happy as the week goes on. By Thursday or Friday it was quite common for shootouts to just break out at random.

The entire game is filled with politically incorrect humor. The Postal Dude often makes rude and offensive comments, but they're almost always funny. Other characters will also make comments or carry on simple conversations with each other.

Postal 2 Share the Pain also includes an online, multiplayer side to the game. I wasn't able to test it against any human players, but the game offers the option to play against bots (called "morons"). While no match for a human player, the bots do a decent job and even know the rules to capture the flag, called "Snatch" here.

The Bad

There are several things that really break the illusion and remind you that you're just playing a game.

Firstly, the town is broken up into several load zones, each of which takes an annoying length of time to load. I don't care if the loading times ARE greatly improved over the original release, they're still too long. This discourages casual exploration of the town and you'll often find yourself trying to figure out how to get to your destination while crossing as few load zones as possible. Unfortunately, the in-game map is no help because while it shows the general location of all the different areas, it's not at all clear about which areas connect with each other. So you may need to go North, but crossing the load zone to the North might result in you having to cross two others to get to where you want. The "easy" save and load (notice they don't call them "quick" save and load) take almost as long.

It also doesn't help that each zone resets every time you leave and re-enter it. Any damage you've done will be repaired, any people you killed will be alive again, etc. In fact, the exact same characters will be standing in the exact same locations every time you enter a zone.

There's a police uniform that you can steal and wear, which is supposed to make you immune from the police (unless you attack one of them), but I would often become "wanted" despite wearing the uniform. Speaking of being "wanted", the wanted meter often got stuck and wouldn't decrease past a certain point until I crossed a load zone.

When the national guard soldiers started showing up, they would often start shooting at me for no apparent reason, even if I was wearing the police uniform.

Finally, why does every game have to include a level where you get knocked out and wake up with all your weapons and supplies gone? The first time this happened in a game it was a surprise. The second time seemed a little stale. Now it's become a cliche that you will lose all your stuff at some point and have to start from scratch. It's not fun, it's annoying!

The Bottom Line

From all the negative points, you might think that I didn't enjoy this game, but I really did. I like to mention the negatives because those are the kinds of things I like to know about before buying a game.

If you want a game that lets you cut loose and kill everyone and everything in sight, then Postal 2 is for you. On the other hand, if you think the Star Wars movies are too violent, then you should probably stay away from this game.