Postal 3 is terrible. As a Postal 2 sequel? Top 10 candidate.


Sometimes I really wonder where it went wrong for us video game players (let's just say gamers, dammit). 
I remember a world where people played games because they were interactive and crazy. The idea of having a virtual arena or city or section of space where you can move, jump, float, crawl, drive vehicles, shoot guns, interact with the virtual people and machines and animals and beasts and ghosts within these game worlds, was fascinating. 
I remember when video games were actually games to be played for people. Programs on consoles and computers that didn't have to provide anything more than gameplay to be given a chance. 
 
As Sam Lake puts it, "When you give controls to a player, crazy things happen." That's what video games have always been about for me. Yes I appreciate a good story, yes I appreciate tight responsive controls, cutting edge graphics and groundbreaking innovation in the various aspects of video games, and yes I welcome non-jank in a game.  
I don't see why that should mean that the lesser games should be considered bad abominations.  
The very first game I played when I stepped into a "net/gaming cafe" for my first time, was Postal 2. Back then, I think it was around 2004, I was already familiar with what we today consider great games. 
I was already familiar with the critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto 3, Halo: Combat Evolved, Max Payne, Age of Empires, Call of Duty, Mu Online, Unreal Tournament and Neverwinter Nights, all games praised for either innovative and tight gameplay, great storytelling and writing, or both. But that didn't stop me from falling in love with Postal 2. 
The kid inside that is entertained and amused with simply insane and absurd actions that certain games can provide was still there and he never left. 
 
Jumping around like an idiot, peeing on people til they puked, drenching them with gasoline and spamming lit matches at them til they caught on fire, shooting their skulls off and kicking them around as the stomping sound played like music to my ears, all wrapped with the silly theme of a deadbeat living in a trailer with his wife being bossed around by her, going on all kinds of seemingly-mundane yet extremely surprising and fun missions such as buying milk cartons and visiting his father's grave only to be asked to PEE ON IT when you get there..  

I loved that game because it nailed the two things it set out to do: 
  • Delivering the simple childish comedy that we distance ourselves from in search for deeper more brain-demanding humor in order to feel more mature and progressive. Believe me, after a whole day of Giant Bomb inside jokes and clever wall-of-text humor from the various clever websites you frequent, nothing is funnier than going home to some really stupid Postal humor that doesn't require more than your senses to make you start giggling. 
  • Delivering the shitty yet extremely entertaining and fun gameplay that provides total freedom and thus all kinds of jank. The gameplay that the "good" games try to amend and replace with tighter more responsive experiences. 
...Yeah, I really had fun slapping into cover, sharp shooting aliens in the face with razor-like firearms or sprinting like Bugs Bunny in the Mass Effect 3 demo.

Long story short,

 I was determined to purchase two games this year on day 1. Postal 3 and Alan Wake, both for PC of course, as a big thank you to Running With Scissors and Remedy for countless hours of Max Payne & Postal 2 pleasure as a teenager, for many many years.
Sadly, the Quick Look of Postal 3 on my favorite gaming website was really.. painful. I couldn't go on for more than 10-15 minutes, I cringed the whole way through, and I blamed the game for it.  After watching that I was certain that RWS fucked up the game, that they sucked the joy out of it and turned it into a big chore, one that felt like shit in execution & gameplay, no less. 
After watching it, I decided to save my money, and scratched Postal 3 off my to-buy list. Then recently, I stumbled upon a gameplay video of the game and I thought to myself, hey, this doesn't look half bad. 
Once again I began debating buying the game, at which point I did what I usually do in this case, to make sure the money I make standing on my feet every day doesn't go down the toilet. 
 
All I'm here to tell you is that, if you enjoy video games that are based around the fun of interacting with said game, and especially if you enjoyed Postal 2, that you should reconsider about Postal 3. 
In exactly 5.5 minutes of gameplay I finished the entire opening level that Ryan and Vinny tried desperately to progress in (throwing grenades at zombies, pepper spraying the soldiers, spilling gas on the zombies & burning them etc..),  cleaned up the porn store and popped the hockey moms in the face with dirty tissues from my first try, then jumped into the HIV-infected cat quest where I ran around like an idiot drugging & picking up the cats as the asian cooks came after me with machetes and assault rifles, worked as a temporary body guard for a young slut-looking celebrity whom I defended from same hockey moms by tasing them in the ass, all the while laughing my ass off at the silly, shallow and cheap looking/sounding jokes and screens that are self-aware and intentionally stupid.
Finally I had TO DECIDE WHETHER TO HELP THE POLICE KILL THE PETA-SCIENTOLOGISTS FOR A REWARD OR JOINING THOSE TERRORISTS IN HOPES OF HAVING WILD SEX WITH THEIR WEMENZ AFTERWARDS. 
Decisions in a Postal game, that was fucking hilarious.  
 
This game, I think, has reserved a spot on my top 10 of 2012 list. Too early to tell, though.
 
With all due love and respect for the Giant Bomb staff, after way too many incidents of them selling me on a bad game or making me skip a good one, I no longer feel they can provide good video game criticism and showcase proper gameplay. This is slowly turning into an entertainment TV website, and it's been really annoying me that I can no longer count on Jeff Gerstmann's opinion as much as I can laugh at his funny jokes..
  
---------------------------------------------------------------
If you can't detach yourself from the "high class gamer" persona which idolizes Mass Effect and accepts nothing less than witty, clever, preferably British comedy, (or detach yourself from the GB fanboy who takes the staff's words as truth. It's OK, I do that too sometimes!), then you can disregard this blog. 
If the kid in you that likes going crazy and not always jumping on the STORY BANDWAGON and remembering that games don't necessarily have to consist of visual drama or provide flawless gameplay to entertain you, I recommend giving Postal 3 a shot.  
 
P.S. I'm sometimes told that I sound angry when I express myself? There's no anger to aggression in this post, just FYI :P I'm typing thoughts here is all. 
 Signing off!
13 Comments
13 Comments
Edited by AhmadMetallic

Sometimes I really wonder where it went wrong for us video game players (let's just say gamers, dammit). 
I remember a world where people played games because they were interactive and crazy. The idea of having a virtual arena or city or section of space where you can move, jump, float, crawl, drive vehicles, shoot guns, interact with the virtual people and machines and animals and beasts and ghosts within these game worlds, was fascinating. 
I remember when video games were actually games to be played for people. Programs on consoles and computers that didn't have to provide anything more than gameplay to be given a chance. 
 
As Sam Lake puts it, "When you give controls to a player, crazy things happen." That's what video games have always been about for me. Yes I appreciate a good story, yes I appreciate tight responsive controls, cutting edge graphics and groundbreaking innovation in the various aspects of video games, and yes I welcome non-jank in a game.  
I don't see why that should mean that the lesser games should be considered bad abominations.  
The very first game I played when I stepped into a "net/gaming cafe" for my first time, was Postal 2. Back then, I think it was around 2004, I was already familiar with what we today consider great games. 
I was already familiar with the critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto 3, Halo: Combat Evolved, Max Payne, Age of Empires, Call of Duty, Mu Online, Unreal Tournament and Neverwinter Nights, all games praised for either innovative and tight gameplay, great storytelling and writing, or both. But that didn't stop me from falling in love with Postal 2. 
The kid inside that is entertained and amused with simply insane and absurd actions that certain games can provide was still there and he never left. 
 
Jumping around like an idiot, peeing on people til they puked, drenching them with gasoline and spamming lit matches at them til they caught on fire, shooting their skulls off and kicking them around as the stomping sound played like music to my ears, all wrapped with the silly theme of a deadbeat living in a trailer with his wife being bossed around by her, going on all kinds of seemingly-mundane yet extremely surprising and fun missions such as buying milk cartons and visiting his father's grave only to be asked to PEE ON IT when you get there..  

I loved that game because it nailed the two things it set out to do: 
  • Delivering the simple childish comedy that we distance ourselves from in search for deeper more brain-demanding humor in order to feel more mature and progressive. Believe me, after a whole day of Giant Bomb inside jokes and clever wall-of-text humor from the various clever websites you frequent, nothing is funnier than going home to some really stupid Postal humor that doesn't require more than your senses to make you start giggling. 
  • Delivering the shitty yet extremely entertaining and fun gameplay that provides total freedom and thus all kinds of jank. The gameplay that the "good" games try to amend and replace with tighter more responsive experiences. 
...Yeah, I really had fun slapping into cover, sharp shooting aliens in the face with razor-like firearms or sprinting like Bugs Bunny in the Mass Effect 3 demo.

Long story short,

 I was determined to purchase two games this year on day 1. Postal 3 and Alan Wake, both for PC of course, as a big thank you to Running With Scissors and Remedy for countless hours of Max Payne & Postal 2 pleasure as a teenager, for many many years.
Sadly, the Quick Look of Postal 3 on my favorite gaming website was really.. painful. I couldn't go on for more than 10-15 minutes, I cringed the whole way through, and I blamed the game for it.  After watching that I was certain that RWS fucked up the game, that they sucked the joy out of it and turned it into a big chore, one that felt like shit in execution & gameplay, no less. 
After watching it, I decided to save my money, and scratched Postal 3 off my to-buy list. Then recently, I stumbled upon a gameplay video of the game and I thought to myself, hey, this doesn't look half bad. 
Once again I began debating buying the game, at which point I did what I usually do in this case, to make sure the money I make standing on my feet every day doesn't go down the toilet. 
 
All I'm here to tell you is that, if you enjoy video games that are based around the fun of interacting with said game, and especially if you enjoyed Postal 2, that you should reconsider about Postal 3. 
In exactly 5.5 minutes of gameplay I finished the entire opening level that Ryan and Vinny tried desperately to progress in (throwing grenades at zombies, pepper spraying the soldiers, spilling gas on the zombies & burning them etc..),  cleaned up the porn store and popped the hockey moms in the face with dirty tissues from my first try, then jumped into the HIV-infected cat quest where I ran around like an idiot drugging & picking up the cats as the asian cooks came after me with machetes and assault rifles, worked as a temporary body guard for a young slut-looking celebrity whom I defended from same hockey moms by tasing them in the ass, all the while laughing my ass off at the silly, shallow and cheap looking/sounding jokes and screens that are self-aware and intentionally stupid.
Finally I had TO DECIDE WHETHER TO HELP THE POLICE KILL THE PETA-SCIENTOLOGISTS FOR A REWARD OR JOINING THOSE TERRORISTS IN HOPES OF HAVING WILD SEX WITH THEIR WEMENZ AFTERWARDS. 
Decisions in a Postal game, that was fucking hilarious.  
 
This game, I think, has reserved a spot on my top 10 of 2012 list. Too early to tell, though.
 
With all due love and respect for the Giant Bomb staff, after way too many incidents of them selling me on a bad game or making me skip a good one, I no longer feel they can provide good video game criticism and showcase proper gameplay. This is slowly turning into an entertainment TV website, and it's been really annoying me that I can no longer count on Jeff Gerstmann's opinion as much as I can laugh at his funny jokes..
  
---------------------------------------------------------------
If you can't detach yourself from the "high class gamer" persona which idolizes Mass Effect and accepts nothing less than witty, clever, preferably British comedy, (or detach yourself from the GB fanboy who takes the staff's words as truth. It's OK, I do that too sometimes!), then you can disregard this blog. 
If the kid in you that likes going crazy and not always jumping on the STORY BANDWAGON and remembering that games don't necessarily have to consist of visual drama or provide flawless gameplay to entertain you, I recommend giving Postal 3 a shot.  
 
P.S. I'm sometimes told that I sound angry when I express myself? There's no anger to aggression in this post, just FYI :P I'm typing thoughts here is all. 
 Signing off!
Posted by buzz_clik

Jeff once said that if you come to learn that what he says is the opposite of what you feel about games, and you can then use his opinion in that way to guide your purchasing decisions, then that's just as valid as if you agreed with him.

I'm still not sold on Postal 3 from what I've seen, and this is coming from a guy who loves buying dodgy-ass games because they're dodgy-ass games. But it's cool that you did your own research outside of Giant Bomb, took the gamble and had it pay off. I've made some great purchases in my past (games or otherwise) where I just took the punt and was glad it turned out to be so rewarding.

Moderator
Posted by themangalist

I played Postal 2 to know I loathe the sick anti-humour. I hate the thick atmosphere of bullshit thousand times more than the actual broken and boring gameplay. I would even say I hate the game with a passion, so anything RWS does is automatically off my list. Happy you found a hidden gem, but I know enough to not want anything to do with this game.

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair

As someone who has played the Postals, I think I'll be siding with them on this one.

Ordinarily I take the position of tastes being different and as long as you enjoy yourself...but man, Postal? Seriously?

My issue was never with the content of those games, more that they are terribly made.

Posted by ShaggE

Thanks for this. I had the same reaction after the QL, and I wrote this game off immediately, but now I'll consider giving it a shot.

Online
Edited by AhmadMetallic
@buzz_clik@themangalist@Tim_the_Corsair@ShaggE:  Don't get me wrong guys, this game by no means is a quality title or a hidden gem, the Postal games never were. It is NOT worth full price, and you're gonna have to tolerate some janky gameplay and repetitive voice acting. 
But that's the point of this blog: A game doesn't have to be well polished and produced to be enjoyable. I'm enjoying this piece of shit very much! No skill trees to worry about, no moral decisions or too many cutscenes, just ridiculous missions and an insane arsenal of weapons. So much gore!
Posted by buzz_clik

@AhmadMetallic: Oh no, don't worry, it totally came across that it's not the greatest game ever! ;)

As I said, I do enjoy a shoddy title – hell, I'm currently at Chapter 15 in Deadly Premonition, and I've finished Onechanbara more than once – but Postal 3 just doesn't seem in line with my personal tastes in such things. But I'm glad for you that it is!

Moderator
Posted by AhmadMetallic
@buzz_clik: Absolutely! Been playing all day, it's such a relief to zone out and bash people with 20 different weapons while listening to/reading/watching cheap humor without caring too much about the story and the skill trees and XP points.
Posted by ShaggE

@AhmadMetallic said:

@buzz_clik: @themangalist: @Tim_the_Corsair: @ShaggE: Don't get me wrong guys, this game by no means is a quality title or a hidden gem, the Postal games never were. It is NOT worth full price, and you're gonna have to tolerate some janky gameplay and repetitive voice acting. But that's the point of this blog: A game doesn't have to be well polished and produced to be enjoyable. I'm enjoying this piece of shit very much! No skill trees to worry about, no moral decisions or too many cutscenes, just ridiculous missions and an insane arsenal of weapons. So much gore!

Oh, certainly. I loved Postal 2 for the same reasons you did: it was the game equivalent of a Troma film.

I just hope it finds the same sort of modding community that P2 did.

Online
Posted by mosdl

I don't know you anymore!

Posted by Mikemcn
@mosdl

I don't know you anymore!

That's what i said when he came out about his... Problem.

But seriously, i'm glad you like it a bunch, it's not for me, but i've always been overly serious, so postals grim humor doesn't grab me.
Posted by believer258

Saints Row the Third had that sort of insanely stupid thing going on, but it was actually good at what it did. Call me uptight for enjoying a game that's made well, but I much prefer to play something that doesn't look like total shit.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad you've found a hidden gem and I'm happy that you enjoy it so. But if my money gets spent on something, it's because I have high hopes that it's something good.

Posted by plaintomato

From the RWS site:

"RWS has decided to STOP selling POSTAL III from our store. We believe it’s in the best interest of the Postal Community. We encourage newcomers to try POSTAL FUDGEPACK a far superior product for a lot less money than what P3 is selling for on other sites."