Postal 2 is a FPS game centered around completing normal, mundane tasks such as getting milk or paying a parking ticket. Unfortunately for our protagonist called “Dude” everything he tries to accomplish quickly escalates into a life or death situation. Dude is the type of guy that goes to cash his check and then the bank immediately gets robbed. We start off in his mobile home with his wife nagging him to go run some errands and so our journey into the bizarre town of Paradise begins.
Given these tasks we can go attempt to complete them or simply explore every inch of the town in search of loot. There is never a time limit to your errands so you can take as much time as you want wreaking havoc or just being a pain in the neck for the residents of Paradise. You’ll find many weapons to play around with on your travels such as machetes, shotguns, gas canisters and heat seeking rockets. One feature claimed by the game is that it is ‘only as violent as you are’ and while it is true that you can go through it without killing anyone, many of the scenarios are really not designed for a passive experience.
The amount of freedom here is pretty impressive even by today’s standards. Nearly every house has an interior you can freely enter and snoop around in, you can draw a trail of gasoline to set fire to NPCs and you can urinate on anything unfortunate enough to get in your way. People will notice when your pants are unzipped, blood trails down if the area is sloped which is something many games still do not do and the random NPCs are as unpredictable as you. Connect a flying kick to some random dude and you may get shot which in turns leads the police to fire on him, both run into a yard that says “Beware of Rabid Pitbull with Aids” then proceed to get mauled by said dog. Things quickly spiral out of control and it’s simply brilliant.
This game world feels very alive due to all the small details and there is always a ton to discover. Exploration and discovery in Postal 2 is outstanding. You may be desperately wondering how to survive imminent death from being on fire and being in shock when peeing up into the air to dose yourself works. Dogs can be befriended by doggie treats, police can be bribed to look the other way and you can smoke catnip to give you Matrix like slow-mo powers. Playing this like a regular shooter without experimenting would be a disservice to yourself.
Postal 2 is jam packed with dark humor, sure to gleefully offend everyone and anyone. Its unapologetic nature gives it a ton of charm and personality though it is certainly not for people that can’t take a joke, however tasteless it may seem. It’s set in a world where the most popular mascot is a giant schlong and every Muslim is Osama Bin Laden. Everything is taken to the extreme in a tongue & cheek manner. Whether that is a good or bad thing lies solely with you but is something to take into consideration. Also being able to set animals on fire, chop ’em in half or pee on them may be a bit much for some.
Gameplay is broken into ranged and melee. Ranged is your typical FPS experience with Machine Guns, Shotguns and rocket launchers. It is honestly the worst part of the game. Enemies become more damage spongy as the game progress and there is no flinching animation meaning they will continuously shoot their hit-scan weapons until either you or they die. It takes 2-3 direct hits with a grenade as an example to how much damage they take. They will also be able to nail you from a mile away if you so much as peek out at them and is a rather subpar shooter overall. Melee is an odd one, while fun to lob off someone’s head with a machete/boomerang hybrid it is a one hit kill weapon so it makes the game feel really unbalanced.
Health is regained through finding first aid kits or more commonly by lighting up that crack pipe that’s in your inventory. Crack refills all of your health and boosts it by 25% though you will have withdrawal symptoms later on. Kevlar armor can also be found, usually through raiding someone’s house. There is a money system in Postal 2 so you can buy all of these items if you know where to look which is yet another reason to explore. You’ll also be able to carry around secondary items like doughnuts that heal a bit of health and makes it an actual benefit to rob stores such as bakeries.
Story is simply living your day to day life with either your choice of playing five days or the complete week. Each day is cycled once you complete all of the events and every day has something unique to it such as marching bands, Taliban or zombies. You start off with being fired from your job by the dastardly people from Running With Scissors and are then just drifting through the days completing random tasks. Most of the tasks have different ways of completing them, like you can either wait in line to pay for the milk or try to run out of the stores which leads to rather unexpected events. Getting creative in missions can lead to things you would otherwise not see and that really helps with the replay value.
Unfortunately, the last two days remove everything that Postal 2 does well and replaces it with linear, repetitive shooting. You’ll be fighting waves after waves of enemies and traversing through lots of boring environments. There is a metric ton of shameless filler such as breaching into the heart of an enemy base and having to backtrack through all of it with the enemies having respawned. In another game that would be dull but with the gunplay in Postal it is downright painful. It’s a shame too, it is extremely funny and that pigeon mission skit was simply brilliant. The last two days were originally an expansion pack but has been included with the Steam version and was mostly entertaining since it added the melee weapons and dismemberment back then. I’m not saying that you should skip the last two days though you certainly wouldn’t be missing out on much fun.
Graphics are not as dated as you would expect from a game from 2003 running on the Unreal 2 Engine. Character models and animation are serviceable enough as are the environments. I’ve experienced no issues on the technical side of things. The town is split up into areas which require a short loading screen before being able to enter and is not the biggest of maps but there is a ton to see. Voice acting is appropriately cheesy and the Dude’s actor seemed to have had quite a bit of fun with his role which added quite a bit to the goofiness. Even after all these years Postal 2 is still supported and improved with things like controller support, Steam Workshop and subtle additions to the game like a HTC Vive Easter egg. It’s not a perfect game but with devs that clearly still care about their own product after so long and with so much content to enjoy this is definitely a title I’d recommend.