There is a certain attraction to video games that let the player loose in a sandbox and do whatever they want; Grand Theft Auto and Just Cause are examples of this that immediately comes to mind. In 2003, the developer ‘Running with Scissors’ wanted to make a free-roam game and thus Postal 2 was born. You’ve probably heard of this game and it is probably because of it’s somewhat controversial reputation. Postal 2 has been outlawed in several countries due to its violence and style of humour and I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about and finally, 10 years too late, is the game enjoyable and worth picking up?
We’ll start with the plot. It barely has one. To put it simply, you play as the ‘Postal Dude’ as he embarks on a seemingly normal week in his mundane and boring life. There are 7 days to play in and Postal 2 really does give the player the freedom to decide how he or her wants to play. You are given relatively boring tasks to complete and by ‘boring’ I mean boring! Buying milk, cashing paycheques and getting members of the public to sign a petition are some examples to come to mind. This may make the game sound unappealing to you but Postal 2 really comes into its own when you are completing these tasks. Buying milk turned out to be quite the experience for me, you can either wait in line at the checkouts to make the transaction or you can set everyone on fire in a sadistic murdering spree to jump the queue; I chose the latter. I’ll say this now, the game will certainly not play to everyone’s sense of humour with the ways Postal tries to make the player laugh (the ability to whip your penis out and piss of people is one way). You really have to come into Postal 2 with an open mind and not expect much in the way of writing.
For a game that came out nearly 12 years ago, I wasn’t expecting much in terms of gameplay and I was moderately surprised as to how well the game handled. Everything is laid out in a logical manner with weapons easily accessible using a simple scroll of the mouse wheel and items can be obtained by merely running over the item in question. As a newcomer to the series, I had no problems getting the hang of playing Postal 2 which was essential; a complicated game can drive the player away and alienate people wanting to come into a certain title. Weapons are an important factor in Postal 2 and they don’t work particularly well with some clunky bugs and glitches that unfortunately will never be fixed. This would be more of a problem if the AI was better built but the NPCs are so stupid and ridiculously terrible with a gun, the poor gun controls can be overlooked. One aspect of the game I must praise is the fire physics and how realistic it is; not so much graphically but more how fire behaves and that is very important in Postal 2 as one of your main weapons is the Jerry Can. Finally, and this might be the immature 9-year-old inside me coming out, I really enjoy how the urinating system works; interpret that however you like.
I haven’t got much to report back on in terms of the graphical fidelity of Postal 2, it came out 12 years ago for crying out loud! The graphics are good enough to make the experience enjoyable but you’ll be far from blow away by what the developers did with the Unreal 2 engine. Sound design of the game is a weak point with a lack of score to accompany the player throughout their journey as the Postal Dude. You’ll be mostly playing with nothing but the sounds of your characters disjointed narration and the comments of the NPCs; something you’ll really notice if you walk around with your penis out. Weapon sound design is okay and was probably decent in 2003 but now it falls short of the high standards set by games such as Battlefield 4.
The replay value of Postal 2 is very high with lots of things and weapons to be discovered in the nooks and crannies of the sandbox that we are given to play in. The game can be replayed multiple times as the player is given a plethora of ways to play and I wanted to complete a few play-throughs to see how certain things I did affected the outcome in the story.
Reflecting back on my time playing Postal 2 and all games for that matter, I always ask myself ‘Did I have fun?’ and my answer was yes. The game really is limitless as to the ways I can play with the only limit being my imagination. Postal 2 may not be the newest, technically inspiring game in the world but I had fun and that is all that matters to me. You should definitely pick this title up especially now it’s so cheap; I’ve seen this game in a Steam sale for 69p – a bargain. I’m giving Postal 2 a 7 out of 10, it’s a good game but lacks the quality to be a better game and is held back by a lack of plot and poor writing.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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