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Publisher: Running With Scissors    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.2.8    CPU: G3 @ 700 MHz    RAM: 256 MB    Hard Disk: 2000 MB    Graphics: 32 MB VRAM

Postal 2: Share The Pain
February 1, 2005 | Eddie Park

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Reality Sucks
While a player could theoretically spend all day victimizing the endless numbers of hapless citizens in Paradise, more experienced gamers may eventually start yearning for some yardstick of progression. To keep things from getting entirely mindless, Postal 2 presents players with a series of minor tasks to accomplish. Thankfully, the tasks themselves carry the same darkly whimsical tone as the rest of the game, and include such chores as urinating on your fathers grave, attending a book signing by Gary Coleman, and getting folks to sign a petition that "Forces Whiny Senators to Play Violent Games."

These random tasks often lead the way to subplots contained in the game (subplots may not be the best description, as the game lacks a main plot, but there you go). Attending the book signing leads to the police attempting to arrest Gary Coleman for some illegal activity, leading to predictable shootouts and hordes of screaming mallrats. Picking up a package of meat from the local meat factory uncovers whats really in that sausage, and an army of butchers tries to make sure that Postal Dude never leaves the place alive.

It should be noted that in no way does Postal 2 ever force the player to take drastic measures of violence at any time. As noted by the Running With Scissors crew, a player could conceivably complete every task given to them without ever firing a single shot from his sidearm. While bored players may make use of this loophole, I submit that this obviously takes away from just about the only fun in the game to be had, which is the dismemberment of some random citizen on a whim. After all, when a full marching band is parading around your neighborhood, is there any greater temptation than having a full can of gas and a book of matches weighing you down?

The amount of fun Postal 2 pokes at Real Life also contributes to its overall irreverence. Paradise is rife with protestors, my personal favorites being the Tree Huggers, that march in front of a library waving signs that read Save a tree, burn a book! and so forth. The RWS crew even pokes fun at their own creations by featuring protestors in front of their own headquarters, protesting that developers should "Make games with plots!" and steer away from violent games. Of course, moments later, the protesters against violence decide they've had enough and start opening up with small arms fire.

How Postal Dude reacts to these events is entirely up to the player. He can scoot out of the way, join either side, or simply eradicate everything moving. As he goes along, he will end up making enemies depending on his encounters, meaning that certain folks will open fire upon seeing his smiling mug. Of course, this doesnt mean much, other than to give the player incentive to "defend himself" from such actions.

Completion of these tasks eventually sees the closing of a day. The game itself starts on a Monday and goes through the week, with the last day being Friday. As for what happens on Friday, well, you'll just have to see for yourself.

For those wondering, there is a multiplayer mode, which is fully Mac/PC linkable as far as I can tell, unless the friendly folks on the last server I played on were lying when I shouted "Anyone playing on a PC?" Let me tell you, nothing turns a bunch of players on you faster than letting them know you play on a Mac.

Keeping in the irreverent themes Postal 2 holds so dear, game types consist of Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Grab, and Snatch. The Deathmatch modes should require no explanation, except to say that running around blasting Gary Coleman and Osama Bin Laden caricatures generates its own unique sort of flavor. Grab is a sort of scavenger hunt where players attempt to collect a number of bags scattered across a given map, with each bag making a player stronger. Snatch, the very name of which contains all sorts of meanings, is Postal 2's version of Capture the Flag, substituting buxom co-eds for waving banners. I'll spare readers the various comments the game issues as a girl is taken, dropped, returned, and so forth.

Admittedly, populated servers seem to be few and far between the most I could wrangle up was a DM server. Bots were in evidence in the Snatch and Grab servers I tried, so theres support for AI friends and enemies when real people simply aren't available. Given Postal 2's pick-up-and-play attitude, however, I can imagine a LAN party full of drunken players enjoying something like Snatch just a little more than should be allowed when filling a room to capacity with gaming geeks.


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