Probably the most controversial game ever made, Postal 2 was the sequel to a 2D overhead shooter produced by gaming company Running with Scissors. The original game had you gunning down anything and everything that moved from civilians to police to dogs. So it was no surprise that the follow up would be just as violent but this time, done in full 3D and from a first-person shooter perspective. The producers tried to play down the violent content in the game; giving you various tasks to complete during each level of the game which takes place throughout a working day week. These tasks would include picking up your paycheque to grabbing milk for your wife. The idea though, is to 'go postal,' the first thing you can do as soon as you leave your trailer is smoke pot which the main character gets addicted to. Looking around the town in which the game takes place and you will find a suspiciously placed gun somewhere.
Excuse me, could you sign my petition?
The main character's interaction with the environment encourages you to act erratically, you press one key and he'll tell everyone to "Get the fuck down!" Press another and he will expose his genitals and the option to urinate on pedestrians is there as well, stand by for projectile vomiting. The town is set up for you to cause chaos as you complete the daily tasks. There's a bank for you to rob, police officers to arrest you, civilians for you to threaten, and all the various fun you can have with pissing on stuff. When you do open fire, the NPCs can be hard to fight as they can take numerous shots to head as well as other places.
"What you talking about Willis?"
The game environment can be quite provoking: passers-by can be rude, the sign and statue outside of the bank openly mocks people's ignorance and the shopkeeper shows utter disdain for his patrons gives you that itchy trigger finger. It's both amusing and makes you want to shoot things; on the very first day of the game, your boss fires you. Chances are, you will want to shoot him or stab him depending on your preference. Controversially, you are free to do so with scissors, gasoline and matches or a machine gun, this game is insane!
The game really does push the boundary of taste, one weapon is a petrol canister which you can douse enemies with and then throw a match on them. The petrol canister works like grenades, you will douse it with the fire key on your victim and then the alternate fire will allow you to throw a match, leaving the victim as a screaming inferno. Chances are they will run in your direction, so you have to be careful or you will be set alight too. If this isn't distasteful enough for you, then wait till you see what happens if the victim doesn't die straight away and lies there a charred husk shivering. Pretty brutal and if that doesn't prick your moral conscious, then you're a hard human being.
"Hey, you got any money for crack man?"
The controls are set up well though so you can avoid retaliation and strategically plan your next hectic scene. The character can kick so if you want to set characters up for execution, a swift kick to the groin can be entertaining or kicking open a door is a good strategic move. The game also uses stereotypical groups as enemies such as the Al Qaeda, video game protesters, and a group that sound a lot like Green Peace. These groups guarantee a shootout at some point which can be welcome depending on your play style.
Once all the mission tasks are complete, the day will end and new areas will open on the following day. Different Strokes star Gary Coleman makes a cameo in the game and he is even attacked by the police. One of the tasks is to get his autograph, once you've done this, the police will then raid the shopping mall which becomes a shooting ground for Gary and his entourage. Very amusing, but you can claim his scalp for yourself if you so wish, if you ever had a dream to psychotically mow down a celebrity, your desire can be fulfilled in this game. Apart from shoot, stab, burn, and piss on everything, the environment isn't too interactive but there are shops to buy weapons, food for health and if you so wish, a cat for the end of your shotgun, which may upset animal lovers out there. For added variety, you can befriend a neighborhood dog with biscuits, our 'heroine' seems to prefer dogs over cats although this can be up to the player.
Who came up with this?
The environments are huge though and there really is a town for you to explore from derelict houses to wide open shopping malls. Random events seem to occur on different days from parades to street parties, these add variety to the game and makes it feel like a living, breathing world. Allowing yourself to be arrested creates new scenarios and by completing the day-to-day tasks, the story of the game that is there will continue to amuse throughout. At one point, you are kidnapped and dressed as a gimp, fantastic stuff. Robbing the bank doesn't seem to get old and gives your character some much-needed cash to buy stuff.
Beyond the realm of taste?
The game adds to controversial elements as it seems to refer to certain events in the conspiracy community. You will find a sniper rifle in the top level of a book depository referring to the JFK assassination and the fact that the postal dude wears a t-shirt with a grey alien would suggest that someone is mocking the players somewhere. The game can be enjoyable but such mockery can be distasteful at times and depending on your worldview, this can cause you to put the game down.
"I don't know nothing 'bout the po po."
The stereotyping of Arab terrorists was particularly offensive and I am surprised the game did not get banned in the United States. I think games need more of a story, even just to drive the game forward, such a title can be fun for a while but where's the fun in mowing down innocent civilians, it quickly becomes tiresome. I give this 2 out of 5, enjoyable for a while, but pushes the boundaries of taste.
Overall 2 out of 5.