I will now admit to never playing or even hearing of Postal. It was way before games xtreme had even started and by the looks of this game if Postal was anything similar I'm glad I didn't. From what I have read about the original it didn't exactly set the world on fire, in fact it was so bad the US Postal Service sued the developers Running with Scissors.
Not deterred by the fact that the first game got such a bad reception, they decided to make another, this time with the Unreal engine: so even if the game is bad we can expect some nice visuals, right?
Err, no, not anywhere near right actually. The visuals in Postal 2 are really bad, if you took the models from the original Unreal then the models in Postal 2 are terrible. Many of the characters move like they have no spine, others swing their arms about wildly and look ridiculous.
The character AI is also nothing to shout about either. In the very first mission when you have to cash a cheque, one of the badly modelled characters walked up to the cashier's desk in the bank and was obstructed by another badly modelled character. Instead of finding another route or doing something else it was left there trying to move forward unsuccessfully. Now it doesn't take a genius to program something in to prevent this.
Also with the characters, each one carries a gun or some kind of weapon and they must've all gone to sniper school because they are the best shots ever. No matter what you do, jump, duck or strafe you'll get hit and sometimes they seem to pick on you for no reason. Although this may have been done on purpose!
Besides the characters the outside world looks quite nice. The textures are okay, again nothing special but the environment does try its best to look good and convey the impression of a real life town, with banks, supermarkets and lots of people wandering about doing their business, whatever that may be.
The main concept of the game is actually simple. You play the Postal dude and have to work your way through 5 days, Monday to Friday. The first day starts out okay, you go to your place of employment, which is actually Running with Scissors' offices and have to pick your cheque up then cash it and get some milk. Now this sounds a bit lame and it really is. The missions are not special at all and you'll quickly get tired of doing nothing more than wandering around the same place again and again.
One of the worst parts of the outdoor sections is that the town is separated with loading zones. Each loading zone is a long tunnel, which once you enter, the game loads a new zone. Now you might be thinking that it is not too bad, after all Half-Life had loading zones but they didn't last up to a minute each and the worst thing is that in the course of a mission you can end up crossing 2 or 3 of these.
The in game weapons in postal 2 are varied. Initially you get a shovel but soon enough you pick up grenades, shotguns, petrol cans and matches. How you use them and when you use them is of course up to you. The game does support character damage zones but I didn't see much evidence of this in the game. Sure, shooting someone in the leg made them hop but didn't really do much else. I even shot a cop in the arm but it didn't seem to affect them at all.
The main point of the game, or the main point as far as I see it is not the missions but what you do in between. For example, just to test something out, I tazered a guy for a bit until he fell on the floor. Then I poured petrol on him and finally set him alight and watched as he turned into a red bit of flesh on a skeleton and eventually died.
Now I'm not condoning this type of action and it's definately not something I'd like to do but RWS obviously designed the game to appeal to people who just want to run about and be violent. Sure, at this it succeeds, you can be as violent as you like and the game responds but that's all there is to it.
Postal 2's storyline is poor, the visuals are passable by today's standards and the gameplay is okay. But if you just want mindless violence then there are many games out there that do it far better, GTA 3 for example is violent but the game around it is good. If on the other hand you want a good storyline and really want to get into a game then go for an RPG. Postal 2 is essentially a poor game which uses violence as its main feature.
One area that the game is definately missing is a multiplayer option. The mindless violence would go down well if you were playing against your friends. Being able to torch your mate or chop their head off would have been nice and the game definitely suffers from the lack of any multiplayer support. Considering that the game is built on the Unreal Warfare engine I am very surprised they have not incorporated even the simplest multiplayer option.
The fun in urinating on someone ends quickly, putting cats on guns as silencers soon loses its appeal. Overall I would give this a miss, there is not much to it at all. Sure the violence is cool for a bit but after a while you won't find a single reason to load it up.