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Platform

PC

 

Genre

FPS

 

Publisher

Whiplash Interactive

 

Developer

Running with Scissors

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q1 2003

 

 

- Amusingly nasty way to get rid of all that aggression
- "You can't look at it, but you can't turn away"
- Tons of Easter Eggs and fun little tidbits
- Gary Coleman!!!
- Truly offensive

 

 

- Insane loading times
- The massacring and sick humor gets old
- Where's the multiplayer?
- Difficulty
- Truly offensive

 

 

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Postal 2

Score: 6.5/10

When the first Postal came out, it instantly became a cult hit - pulled from shelves all over the country, on Lieberman's 3 Worst Things in America list, generally despised by all parental groups - how could it fail? This was a game with so much press that we HAD to play it, and the violent game was an obvious hit. Honestly, who doesn't feel like throwing in the towel sometimes and going down the street rampaging all the innocent bystanders with an AK-47? This was essentially the premise of Postal - you were a guy who just had enough, went insane and started to gun down anyone and everyone, both the innocents and the hostiles, who actually fought back.

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Now this premise is upgraded for Postal 2 - you get put in the shoes of the Postal Dude, who's just moved to the lovely town of Paradise to start a new job with the makers of this very game, Running With Scissors, and of course nothing goes as planned. Fired on the first day on the job, attacked by a group of protestors of video game violence, having to wait in line at the bank to cash that damn paycheck, it's enough to make you go mad - and it does.

Postal 2 is an inventive game by some very sick people, unlike any first-person shooter before it. The game puts you in the shoes of a relatively normal individual who's having one hell of a bad week, and allows you to progress from there - you don't have to kill anyone, it's your choice. The game has a clever psychology in that it tries to make you go postal through series of annoying real-life-esque events, like having to wait in a long line to get your check cashed at the bank, or getting abused by a shopkeeper when  you're just trying to buy milk, or trying to get a book signed by Gary Coleman - it pushes you over the edge and tries to make you use that double-barrel shotgun on all of those people around you.

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At the same time, the game has ties to real life as far as the violence goes - there's no extra points for killing people, unlike in GTA3 (which had the same kind of bad press as this will eventually get), it can only get you attacked by various armed civilians or in trouble with the law. This is the real reason why so many groups want to ban games like this; not because it supposedly inspires real life violence in people/children/insane 

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people, but because a game like this even exists. I'm a happy, normal person - why should I want to gun down a bunch of people wandering down the street, real or virtual? The interactive voyeuristic entertainment in this game makes it a kind of pornography - there's no reward for killing, there's just the killing - and that we actually want this is what many people fear.

Postal 2 pushes the limits as much as it can. Feel free to gun down a priest in the street, cut off his head with a shovel, and then urinate all over his corpse. Flash women as they walk down the street then beat them to death with a nightstick. Go to the local gay bar and empty gasoline everywhere and make them burn. Piss all over the picnicking couple until they throw up everywhere. Pick up a cat, put your shotgun "up it" and use it as a silencer, firing shots out of it's furry body. Postal 2 is terrible, but it's terribly funny - like a train wreck, you can't help but watch and play, just to find out how far you can push the limits. And there's plenty to do in Postal 2 - there's lots of interactivity and things to find and do, it just takes a sick mind and some exploration to find it.

Each level of Postal 2 takes place on a new day in the life of the Postal Dude - beginning on Monday, working through the week completing your chores scribbled down on a notepad by the missus, making plenty of enemies like protestors, cops and civilians in general. The game is plenty violent, but has a damage system that's relatively simple compared to games like Soldier of Fortune 2 - you can't hack off any limbs or shoot specific body parts, aside from a person's body and a person's head. There's a good range of weapons and items to find - my favourite weapon is the gas can and matches, used to start some nice big fires and engage in high quality pyromania. Aside from being able to whip out your pecker on the street and urinate on stuff, the game doesn't really resort to sexual violence, which is a wise move - if the game let you rape or something similar, then the parental groups would REALLY have something to complain about.

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If all this sounds great fun so far, there's lots of problems with Postal 2 that make it all the less fun. The first is the abysmal loading times - although the town of Paradise is open to all, it's a small sized town with lots of annoying loading points, which can take minutes to load even on a fast computer. Having to walk from one section of the town to another with 1 minute of gameplay and 3 minutes of loading is not fun - it seems like the game should have been more polished to cut down on the loading times, which are really distracting. Secondly, the multiplayer that all the previews and websites have boasted about is strangely missing - perhaps there will be a patch for it later, but I'd really like to see a multiplayer now. This game would be all the more fun with your mates to help with the massacring, and it can't be done. The difficulty of the game also gets a bit overwhelming in some parts - escaping the burning library, for example, can seem very very hard and just not worth it, especially with all the loading times. Also, if you shoot at civilians or police and they fire back at you, they rarely miss, ever - very annoying.

Finally, the twisted violence and humor may be fun for a while, but it all gets old. After you've set fire to your 30th cat, and urinated all over people all over the town, it eventually gets tedious, especially with the loading times to distract you. Though the game is still worth having around, to retreat to after a bad day - getting rid of all that aggression can be oh-so-much fun - this game just isn't the beast that it could have been.

Overall, Postal 2 has lots of appeal and it'll surely become very popular as soon as the press gets to it - but it isn't polished enough to hold long-lasting interest. The game also has a level editor and various other goodies, including a secret mode for when you finish the game, and lots and lots of Easter Eggs to find and do, but whether you'll play it long enough to do any of these is another matter. I recommend it, however, just to keep around after a long day at the office. Mwahahahaa, burn kitty, burn!!

~ Shocka

 

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