Monday was a bad day. A riot ravaged Main Street, protestors died by the dozen and numerous onlookers found themselves urinated on more frequently than a lampost at Battersea Dog’s Home. Tuesday, grenades blew pedestrians sky high, Gary Coleman killed a policeman and random vagrants became human torches. As for Wednesday, well... that’s when things really got weird. Hats off to Postal 2 for being the balls-out, pants-down, most morally devoid product ever to disgrace the PC. The game is rude, crude, and so damn politically incorrect, you’ll feel dirty just thinking about it. But it’s also fu*ing hilarious.
Although, in fairness, we must admit a title that assumes all Middle Easterners are religious zealots and all priests enjoy toting machine guns might not be to everyone’s taste. Lesson one in how to get your first-person shooter-turned-adventure banned: completely eschew common sense. From minute one of a five-day adventure, assign players tasks like ‘Get milk’, ‘Vote’, or (our personal favourite) ‘Piss on Dad’. Wandering around a living, breathing 3D world - specifically the town of Paradise, Arizona -you’ll go about these obscure objectives, becoming enmeshed in random confrontations as you do. In fact, for a very short while you start to believe that Postal 2 is - shock horror -fairly free-form.
That Isn’t In The Script
The brittle sense of freedom is soon dispelled by a collection of scripted sequences, which is just as well, as bumbling about the game-world would be a complete drag without them. And while bystanders do react with surprising intelligence when you pull a gun or riot stick, the setting never achieves the same level of realism or authenticity as Grand Theft Auto Ill's universe.
Yes, planned encounters prove a godsend - they give the game its winning sense of personality. For example, a visit to the Running With Scissors offices sees the development team join you for a shootout before screaming obscenities and kicking corpses. Then there’s the brilliant book-burning sequence wherein protestors torch the Joseph McCarthy memorial library. And a visit to local beer brewing plant/pervert factory? Genius.
Biting though the humour is. much of it feels forced. As do objectives, which make you wander a hefty world map for no apparent reason. The situation’s troubling, all the more so due to frequent and horrendous load times, since environments are carved into bite-sized chunks. Bummer. What’s more, suspense levels are undermined because you can predict major encounters before they arrive. But the good news is such twists are usually so preposterous and/or obscene, in the end it generally doesn’t matter.
Really, how could you not love a game gifted with such a massive and humourous range of possibilities? Thugs can shove shotguns up a cat’s ass. Stoners can experiment with crack addiction. Sadists can attack homeless people with anthrax-ridden cow heads. And no, we're not making this up... considering the social taboos they’re tackling, it's obvious the development team has testes the size of cannonballs.
But, on a less promising note, what they lack is a sense of pacing. Large stretches of play are open-ended, demanding you backtrack incessantly. And while a fully-realised world is waiting, there’s no impetus to go out and poke it with a sharp stick; seeking out trouble draws police attention, raising your wanted rating and the chances of bumping into trouble. It wouldn’t be a problem if fast food, donuts and other health-giving items were more readily available.
At times, you are encouraged to experiment. And some of the vocal prompts are hilarious. “Sign this petition or I’ll follow you home and kill your fu*in’ dog," you tell a businessman. “Ooohhh... my nads,” you scream when wounded. It’s sixth-form stuff, but amusingly rendered by the audio-visual prowess of the Unreal II engine.
Yet despite lifelike character models, the backgrounds could have done with some work. Objects feel flat and artificial -some are so blurry you'll begin to feel you've been engaging in a little too much hand-to-gland combat recently. Postal 2's creators have an eye for delivery, but they should work on timing, zest, and graphical aptitude - it'd make performances feel a little less serious. Or maybe they feel that’s your job - an unintentional side-effect of handing players a working world editor. Can it be long before an America vs Iraq (or Aston Villa vs Birmingham City) scenario hits the Internet? We live in hope.
The bottom line is that this is a strong offering with obvious potential, though far from great. It will, however, go down in history as the most infamous PC game ever. And as to whether you'll find it amusing, well, that depends on if you find the following scenario funny: Walking in on your grandparents humping. In leather masks. With carrots hanging out their arses.
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring... Urine?!
In Paradise, Alabama, when a man’s got to go, a man’s got to go - regardless of who may be watching... or standing in the way. Observe an innocent female bystander idly minding her own business. Your first move, naturally, is a chat-up line, but “are those real?” doesn’t appear to do the business. And as you're busting for a slash there’s just one thing for it - whip it out and get hosing. Well, she had it coming. How dare she knock back your charming approach?
After a damn good drenching the virginal vixen appears a little queasy. You back up a few steps and then she hurls. Damn! And on your new pair of Nikes too. Just who does this chick think she is? Time to bust out that trusty old shovel and show her who's boss. Her missing head ought to teach her a lesson. Women, sigh... such fickle creatures, such delicate looking cadavers. And whoever said games are corrupting our youth?
Download Postal 2
Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
Postal 2 Screenshots and Media
- Grand Theft Auto
- Grand Theft Auto 2
- Grand Theft Auto III
- Grand Theft Auto IV
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
- Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
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