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Postal 2

Postal 2 is one of the first games that I’ve played that I felt dirty for liking. It must have been my conscience recognizing the pure evil of the game or something similar, but I had this weird feeling in my tummy the whole time I played the game. Postal 2 is violent, obscene, dirty, and disgusting, but in this type of game it works well. From the start, many will compare this game rather unfairly to Grand Theft Auto, which this game is most certainly not. Postal 2 has much more freedom that GTA and the missions are actually fun. The only way the two are similar are all the glitches.

Postal 2 is a first-person shooter based around the Unreal Warfare engine. The game however is nothing like Unreal though. You are the Postal Dude, who’s just moved to Arizona to take a job with the video game company Running With Scissors (who are also the developers of this game). The Postal Dude is having a rough start to his week though, suffering from a bad case of the Mondays. First off, he’s living in a trailer in the desert, and he can’t get the air conditioner to work. Then, his wife starts complaining and wants him to do all these chores. The final straw comes when he walks out of his house and his dog starts urinating on him. Just great.

So, the Postal Dude is in a bad mood. Wouldn’t you be? Fortunately, a good kick to the dog’s side helps him feel a bit better. The first chore on his list is to go get his paycheck. Of course, his car won’t start, so he’s got to walk to his office and get it himself. Taking a slight jab at themselves, (or trying to over-promote the violence in the game) there’s a nice protest going on outside the building. They were doing quite the job until I doused them with gasoline and lit them on fire. One of them ran into me, causing me to light on fire, but fortunately my bladder was full and I whipped it out and urinated all over myself. Problem solved.

The Postal Dude lives a constant ”half-empty” lifestyle. He goes in to talk to the boss, and then he gets the pink slip, just after moving to the area. Who cares if he was hung-over at work? This is America, home of the alcoholic (outside of Ireland of course)! Well, somehow or another, my pistol got whipped out, and my former co-workers were now lifeless. That’s pretty much all Postal 2 is. There’s no real story worth mentioning, outside of just getting a list of chores to complete during the day, there’s no real character development. There are just guns, jokes and Gary Coleman, who would probably fall into the joke category as well.

There’s just a wide variety of little things that you can do. You can just do your chores and not kill anything and progress through the game. You can be a good boy and wait in line at the bank, or you can shoot everyone and run in the vault and take out a ton of cash instead. Don’t even want to do the chores? Why not run into peoples houses and steal their money and possessions, or light people on fire, or break out of jail? You can even smoke a ”health pipe” to gain all your health back, but be careful, it’s addictive. It’s all up to you.

The only problems are with the game itself. Sure, it’s fun, but it grows old very quick. I can imagine though that this is a game I’ll be going back to a lot when I’m really pissed off. However, it really will need a good patching before that. Sometimes, when loading a new area, the screen would get these weird white lines blinking across the screen, sort of like the vertical hold was messed up. Then, you have the loading times themselves. Sometimes, new areas would take over a minute and a half to load, and my computer is much better than the recommended specifications the game wants. I can tolerate it to a certain extent, as there are lots of different places in each area that you can explore, but there are only like nine different NPC models in the same area. You’ll be walking around and you’ll see two people standing next to each other that are exactly the same. I thought this used the latest Unreal Engine?

On top of that, you have the messed up damage system. Sometimes, I’ll shoot someone once in the head with a pistol and they’ll go down, but then other times I’d release a whole clip into their skull and they didn’t go down. If you take the coveted shovel and stab someone in the throat with it, they just yell. If someone walked up to me and hit me with a shovel in the throat, I don’t think I’d be able to yell.

Postal 2 looks fairly good. The buildings are varied, and almost all of them are open to full exploration and vandalism. Like I mentioned above, the lack of a wide assortment of character models really makes the game a little dull to look at. There’s a bit of clipping here and there, but fortunately, the flame effects, the urine effects, and the movements of the NPCs are very well done and more than make up for it. Unfortunately, the audio options are practically non-existent. There’s no music to accompany The Postal Dude’s misadventures, and his cheesy attempts at one-liners grow tiring. The town’s people apparently didn’t get a proper education either, as they say the same things over and over again.

As redundant and repetitive as it is, Postal 2 has one thing going for it: fun. It comes equipped with a level editor, but no multiplayer modes sadly. I’d have probably given the game a higher score if it had even a basic deathmatch mode, but it doesn’t even have that. However, it does have Gary Coleman armed with an assault rifle in a mall, something we all knew would happen sooner or later. However, the games life is about as long as Gary Coleman is tall, so I wouldn’t suggest plopping down full retail price for this.

6 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

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