Review: Postal 3, Notsomuch...
I admit it, Running with Scissors' previous installments of the Postal series amused my inner 12 year old sociopath. Game mechanics were never a priority in the series as basic functions like movement and combat were little more than exercises in futility. Postal games are popular for their context not their execution. To play a Postal game is to revel in an assault on societal hypocrisy and popular culture.
What made the series amusing were the seemingly endless one-liners and not so subtle social commentary. Admittedly, however, if you're the type who never misses an episode of the 700 club it's likely you wouldn't see the humor.
So it was with this relatively low expectation that I took advantage of a Steam sale and picked up the latest installment, Postal 3, for $19.99 or half of its original December 2011 release price. I knew the experience would be awash in juvenile humor and over to top violence. Still, I held out hope that with 8 years passing since its predecessor there would be some improvements.
Within the first 5 minutes I was disappointed. For a new game, load times are unacceptably long; taking 20 seconds or more regardless of your platform. It's made worse by the periodic appearance of Uwe Boll (the Postal movie's producer) in a load screen extending his middle finger in your general direction. While in character with the juvenile humor, the more time you spend with Postal 3 the more it seems as if this load screen is affirmation of being on the receiving end of a bad joke.
This game has been panned across the breadth of the Internet and deservedly so. The controls are horrific, the AI awful and the graphics only mildly updated from its 8 year old predecessor (think Half Life 2.) It's also buggy and prone to crashes at inopportune moments. Even if you enable cheats (and you will) you soon find that being invincible and having access to any weapon in the game doesn't improve the experience much.
In combat (which happens a lot) your choice of weapon is mostly irrelevant as you can be assured that at least half of your attacks will be in vain. Coupled with an AI that's anything but intelligent and ambiguous mission objectives the game is more frustrating than challenging. Accurate aim of any weapon is more a function of luck than skill with strange camera angles and a meaningless targeting crosshair. For a game whose storyline is tightly woven into combat one would expect a better combat experience. One might expect that but Postal 3 could care less about your expectations.Continued on the next page