|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Running With Scissors||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Akella||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: TBA||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1+ (Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
May 27, 2008 - Though some may argue otherwise, the Postal series has come a long way in the past decade since its over-the-top brand of isometric chaos and irreverence first hit PC screens. The bloody explosions of dismembered body parts, screams of agony, and violent anarchy of the original translated somewhat successfully in the move to a first-person shooter format with Postal 2 in 2003 - at least in terms of sheer unabashed ridiculousness. The third full game in the series has been in the works for some time, and it appears the development team is making every effort to dial the gameplay and inane brutality to 11 and beyond.
Whether this progress - if you can view increasingly pointless, degenerate violence that continuously aims to ramps up in its level of atrociousness as progress - is a good thing depends on who you ask. It's hard to imagine how one would exactly go about topping the vulgarity of a game that allows you to shove the barrel of a gun up a cat's rectum prior to launching the poor critter in a gory display of tastelessness or urinate on bystanders to make them vomit. That's precisely the task developers Running With Scissors have set out to accomplish.
In the last installment - an expansion pack appropriately dubbed Apocalypse Weekend - the town of Paradise is torched and the titular "Postal Dude" finds himself moving on to bloodier pastures. With no destructive business left there, he winds up in the nearby town of Catharsis - where bible-thumping soccer moms and opportunities to obliterate them abound - primed for more mayhem in Postal 3. Details on the story itself are slim, but the game will feature open-world, sandbox gameplay interspersed with some linear missions. Initially, players will seek employment as a janitor at Ron's Porn World where they'll be tasked with cleaning up "used tissues" with a vacuum. Presumably, additional venues of employment will open up as your progress through the game.
Postal 3 runs on Valve's Source engine, and the early build of the game looks good visually. Aside from substantial graphical improvements, the biggest noticeable difference this time around is the graphic exploits of the Postal Dude will play out in a third-person perspective. It's not a complete surprise, considering the series previously jumped from isometric gameplay to a first-person perspective. The new perspective affords a more GTA-style view of the carnage and chaos as it unfolds.
The exact arsenal of outrageous weaponry to be featured in Postal 3 hasn't been completely nailed down, yet you can expect there will be more than a few gruesomely pleasant surprises in store. The second installment featured a bevy of standard armaments alongside some unconventional items which could be used for grotesque purposes. The more entertaining additions included a pair of scissors, a gas can, and napalm, but the severed, anthrax-infected cow head took the cake. So far, Postal 3 will include a fairly vanilla heavy machine gun for mowing down pedestrians and a vacuum backpack that will suck up all manner of nasty items for you to then spray into the unsuspecting faces of random bystanders. Then there's the good, old badger-on-a- harness that claws and mangles folks when you shove it handily into their faces. No doubt the final list will pan out nicely when all is said and done.
Like in the previous games, the fact Postal 3 will allow players to walk the path of good or evil is somewhat superfluous. Players don't buy a game in the Postal series because they want to spend their time petting puppies or helping old ladies cross the street; they buy it so they can grind people into viscous human mulch and then defecate on their remains - theoretically speaking, of course. It's reportedly possible to progress through the game without killing a single person, but it's hard to imagine anyone would shell out cash for this sort of title without the desire to wreak bloody havoc on an unsuspecting virtual populace. After all, this isn't Hello Kitty: Cutie World 3. Conversely, a greater level of fun in Postal 3 will likely be had by killing any and all people you'll run across (and in vile and horrendous ways no less). New missions will open based on your decisions, so players will be rewarded in unique ways for exercising self-restraint or deteriorating into violent self-indulgence respectively.
Postal fans can be sure the third game in the series will be chocked full of obscene humor and offensive, extremely violent content. Does the gaming world need another Postal? Perhaps not, but we're getting one anyway. Keep your eyes peeled for the next intellect-punishing installment in 2009.
CCC Staff Contributor