What The F*ck?
I rarely review PC games, mainly because my laptop can barely hold the Spore creature creator, but Postal 2 was one I couldn’t pass up to exercise my hyperbole skills on. To be frank, there is little to say about it, other than that it’s a game goes beyond the envelope to shock, disgust, and amuse the players with its tween humor and over the top violence.
Frankly, the only reason I got it was because I bought the movie on DVD, as each copy comes with the game for the free price of $19.99. The DVD I already returned, as after twenty minutes of it my player thought it was a bad movie too and it broke on me. Who knew machines were smart. Thank goodness for trades and finding Afro Samurai on sale.
But I kept the PC game, and I have to say it is all I expected and more; a mediocre game that stars “The postal dude”, a redneck prick who wears a trenchcoat and eerily looks like Timothy McVey on a good day. The dude has to go through the five days of the week doing menial tasks that we all do, from going to confession to getting milk from the store to pissing on your father’s grave. The game then tries to make you “go postal” by cleverly making these tasks somewhat realistic, waiting in line for groceries and paychecks, having people cut these lines at a moments notice, others protesting where you have to go, and often resulting into violent tirades when necessary for their cause. The game pushes you to the edge and back until you say screw it and throw a Molotov on a marching band.
The games violence is the hallmark, but it’s the ingenious ways to kill every gun owning citizen that gives it a weird sense of accomplishment. You can set up traps using gasoline and matches, you can use cats as silencers by sticking the guns up their assholes, you can even urinate on people, become a sex offender as well as a murderous lunatic. There is no right or wrong method to kill, dismember, or maim the good folks of the aptly named town of Paradise, and here the game excels, to a point, at least.
Where the game fails is its humor. Everything is parody, satire, or a sick joke to shock, amaze or offend someone. From the infamous “Krotchy” dolls to the scathing “Fag Hunter” arcade machine, to the fact that crack pipes are health items and terrorists all look like Osama Bin Laden and talk like Apu Nahasapeemapetilon is likely to offend someone out there. But then again, if your playing a game where a gun-toting priest gets his head blown off by a terrorist, I don’t think you would complain much, unless you just want to see it for the shock value that it is, pointless, childish, and usually in poor taste. It also doesn't help that the AI is so bad you can run around in circles peeing on everyone and they probably wouldn’t notice it at all, and that will frustrate gamers more than congress.
Which is actually amazing, because the game tries so hard to be shocking, but it has the opposite effect when we see it. Instead we get a semi-sandbox style game where you can go almost anywhere and do what you like intermixed with linear maze-like libraries and a boss fight against Gary Coleman. It’s a strange hybrid of a game that is both good and bad, a juxtaposition between good gameplay design and over the top bullshit that is unwarranted.
One thing that is good, albeit outdated, is the graphics of the game, which are real enough and use simple ragdoll physics and severed limbs as a part of the aesthetic “charm” of the game. It’s a bit choppy, but not to detrimental. The details are also blurry and too pixelated, but are adequate. Sound wise, the game is really good, with enough voice-overs to give some character to the gruff postal dude and his idiotic neighbors, and even some decent sound effects, if you like cats screaming as there orifaces are violated and that sort of thing.
Postal 2 in the end can best be described as a game that is so bad that it’s good. It’s kind of like a lot of games out there, you know, games that are really horrible but need to be played once; it’s something that fascinates people because of the excessive violence and sad attempts at shocking humor, but it’s also something few would play forever, or at the very least, more than a week before they themselves go postal. And frankly, others would feel violated by the game too. The shock value wears thin and it becomes another run of the mill first person shooter, but Postal has a niche that it can’t lose, and in the end that’s all that it needs to rescue it from the hellish lands of crappy games.
Final Score- C