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Postal² (Windows)

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Written by  :  Zovni (10638)
Written on  :  Dec 27, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars

8 out of 12 people found this review helpful

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RWS teaches kids that killing is boring

The Good

Remember in the early 90's when Mortal Kombat came out? It's success spawned tons of knockoffs and clones that suddenly realized what movies had found out a long time ago: In order to sell you don't need guts. You need Blood, and lots of it.

This was the marketing idea that gave birth to the original Postal, an itty-bitty action game that billed itself as the next big thing in ultraviolence. Now, I'm a sucker for bizarre games and a lil' bit of the good 'ol ultraviolence, but while I appreciated the idea of you being a psycho freak gunning down innocent civilians and listening to their cries for mercy in the demo, I never found it to be much entertaining and threw it out the window in no time. Lo and behold, the thing must have sold some copies (or the developers must be really persistent) because a decade later we get a sequel to this uhm.... "cult hit".

Forget the crummy sprites of the original, using the Unreal Warfare engine, the new Postal is a next-gen FPS complete with all the cool polygon-pushing features in today's games. The premise is a little more developed, yet remains the same as in the original: you are the "Postal Dude" (now updated to a black-trenchcoat wearing, white-trash idiot look a-la Columbine's "Trenchcoat Mafia"), and you live with your wife in a trailer on the outskirts of "Paradise, U.S.A." your typical peaceful, backwater, religious and conservative North American smalltown.

Now, instead of just going around shooting people for the fun of it, you are sent out on "missions" given to you by your wife, that involve everyday stuff like returning books or buying stuff at the grocery store. Still this IS Postal 2, and you ARE the Postal dude, so the shit is gonna hit the fan sooner or later, and this is where the main gameplay concept of Postal 2 comes into play: Basically you are in a virtual town, filled with NPCs going about their bussiness around you and stuff happening right next to you. If you want to, you can just stop and take a stroll around the gameworld, see the sights, waste time, etc... But whenever your "missions" trigger some problem you are going to have to defend yourself, or at least find a way out of the mess by shooting the rednecks, policemen, terrorists etc. that come gunning for you.

So far we are in “FPS 101” territory, but Postal 2 wouldn't be Postal 2 if it didn’t add the kind of twisted and downright sick details it’s known for. This include the arsenal of weapons that includes the usual shotgun/machinegun/pistol combo as well as more exotic additions such as a can of gas and matches (hmm! Crispy!), a taser, a cow head filled with anthrax (yep, you read that right) and the ability to do things like urinating on other people and yelling around so as to make them get down to their knees and beg for mercy. And this is what gives Postal 2 it’s edge and what allows you to unleash your most pathetically repressed urges such as knocking someone senseless with a shovel until they start crying and barfing, make them get on their knees and beg for their life only to stun them with your taser, watch as they pee on themselves from the shock, douse them with gas and burn them alive, and finally put the fire out with your own urine.

Sure, you can just shoot them, but where’s the fun in that? At least take their heads off and kick them around like a ball! I know you might argue that none of it is “fun” but the retarded, mad-at-the-world, poorly-endowed freaks that get a hard-on with this kind of stupidity sure do, and they did pull some occasional laughs from me and my friends so as to warrant their inclusion here.

The other element in play here is the gameworld itself which parodies most of the elements in US. pop culture, kind of like an interactive South Park, filled with offensive references to practically everything (my favorite being the group of gay gamers picketing the entrance of Running With Scissors’s offices with signs that read “We want games with stories!” “No more violence”, etc. etc.... Har-Har! I know some geeks like that). Plenty of funny stuff if you appreciate that kind of humor.

And if that doesn’t sound like enough for you how about throwing in Gary Fricking Coleman?? That’s right! He’s actually in the game!! The little bastard must be really pressed for cash to do something like this, but what the hell… as long as it adds to the game!

The Bad

I’m not going to make a statement as to how bad or good all this violence is and how amoral this stuff is as it’s totally pointless (not to mention a complete hypocrisy as the people who condemn this sort of material are the first ones to rally behind wars, capital punishments, and whatever criminal behavior suits their needs), if you are the kind of people that gets this kind of stuff, good. If not, get your oversensitive ass out of here. As for me? I know how to enjoy being a virtual killer for what it is, and I have the common sense so as to “take the gloves” off after playing and leaving the whole thing behind the monitor’s screen. If you can’t do that without going psychotic then that’s your problem.

Now, as for real problems with Postal 2 we have that it’s not much of a game really. Basically you raise some hell following your “objectives” and as you make more and more trouble, a police-meter (lifted right out of GTA) will rise, and the cops will start hunting you down, which means you better hide and cover until it’s safe to go back out there and tackle the next objective, and thus the world of Postal 2 goes around. As the game progresses more and more factions start to gang up against you (be it the angry gamers, or the cultists, or the taliban, or the rednecks or whatever) and thus it starts to get harder and harder to get around without getting shot on sight. And basically that’s it… A Psycho sand-box simulator, in which there’s nothing to do except kill people… Believe me when I tell you that it gets boring real fast, no matter how many “creative” ways you find to exploit the ragdoll physics and violent features in the game. I guess for what it’s worth Postal 2 leaves you with a nice moral, and that’s that senseless killing is boring as hell.

Worse still, the game really missed the opportunity to become the digital equivalent of South Park, as that show in particular showcased how you can combine shock tactics with social criticism effectively, however Postal 2 in the end doesn’t make a case for anything, offers no witty sarcastic critique or ideas behind it leaving you just with violence for violence’s sake. And if that’s what the developers were going for then ok, but there are titles like Serious Sam that do the brainless stress-reliever –thing much better than Postal 2.

Plus it takes ages to load, the AI is retarded and there’s no area damage save for the head (WTF? If ever a game needed dismemberment it’s this one!).

The Bottom Line

Earns points for including some downright disturbing stuff, lots of politically incorrect humor and adding Gary Coleman to the game. But like a joke without a punch-line, Postal 2 is devoid of any purpose or point, this doesn’t mean that I punish the game for not having a story, but even minesweeper offers something for you to aim for. Postal 2 is just about venting whatever aggressive behavior you might have deep inside you, and I guess if that’s your ticket you are bound to get some enjoyment out of it, however if you are serious about that there are much better titles that offer a longer lasting experience and better gameplay with the only value left out of the game being the laughs you can pull out of your friends while saying "Dude... You'll gotta see the stuff this game does!! Uh-Uh-Uh.... Coool!!".

And for the religious anal-retentive folks out there: Last time I checked the game wasn't being distributed for free at orphanages. This is an adult product for adults, and we are all adults here.... right??