This utterly reprehensible (but fun) first-person shooter was developed by Running With Scissors and first published by Whiptail Interactive in 2003. It is the sequel to 1997’s highly controversial Postal and takes the concept of “going postal” to another level of stupidity and mayhem. Postal 2 is the kind of game that was made to please “edgelords” (some would call them “w*nkers“) and piss off politically correct liberals, and it satirises people in a way that few other games have ever dared to.
You once again play as The Postal Dude and must complete a series of tasks set across a full week, going day by day in the town of Paradise, Arizona. You live in a trailer, with a pet bulldog called Champ, and look a bit like J.C. Denton from Deus Ex (was that deliberate? It certainly looks that way). Each day you’re shown a map of the locality and your individual missions are listed on a Post-It note on the side of the screen. As you go about your business and complete your tasks they are crossed off your list. Some tasks require payment of money so you’ll need to accrue some by either finding it or killing enemies who drop it. When all your day’s tasks are complete you then return home. Cut scenes punctuate the story and these indicate new events taking place that open up a new route or introduce a new problem to the mix.
Postal 2 has weird environments and open-ended gameplay and there are various different factions to piss off and make enemies of as you progress. You can try to take a pacifist route through the game if you like, or you can go crazy with the wide variety of different weapons the game gives you. Combat is fairly basic, but decent enough for a first-person shooter, and the game is packed full of visual gags, ridiculous dialogue, jokes, drug references, and political, social and racial satire. Postal 2 is really not a subtle game, but it is at least an interesting sandbox of death and destruction that is fun to play in a number of ways.
Police are everywhere you go so if you go around just killing people randomly then you’re going to get shot at all the time, or even arrested and put in jail. There’s an on-screen badge meter that shows how badly you’re wanted by the police and that will reduce slowly if you hide and let it cool off. If you’re okay with hassle from the cops then knock yourself out – the game at least allows you to do that. If you’re boring, like me, then you’ll only want to shoot those who deserve it. Like protesters (various kinds), terrorists, rednecks, skeletons, and bad guys in general. Your health is indicated by a pumping on-screen heart and if it reach zero then you die. You can supplement it with health pickups, by smoking crack, or by wearing armour.
Even pulling out a weapon in the wrong place, or walking through the wrong door, can cause people to become hostile to you. You’ll often get recognised and ambushed or shot at by enemies and if there are police around when someone is attacking you then the cops will shoot at your enemies, so you can use them to your advantage. Most fallen enemies will drop weapons, which top-up your ammo, or give you new ordnance to use. There are Magnum Desert Eagles, shotguns, M16s, petrol bombs, grenades, knuckle dusters, machine guns, and a variety of other killing devices.
Postal 2 – for all of its ultra-purile sensibilities – is genuinely funny in places, but I guess it depends on your sense of humour. Some people I know have no sense of humour; some have a very base and juvenile sense of humour, while others have a cruel, psychotic sense of humour, but what made me laugh in this game were the more subtle moments, like having to queue (aka wait in line) for various tasks, just to tick a box on your mission list; the people laughing at you wearing a gimp suit with the back end missing; the Gary Coleman scenes (I think you have to be of a certain age to understand this); dismembered people crawling along the ground in agony (or even walking along calmly, with no arms); the chaotic street battles; the kids in ghost costumes, and some of the social satire. Borderline outrageous are the Arabic suicide bombers (which some might say are Islamaphobic), the pissing ‘ability’, and the overt animal cruelty. The gore and violence are no worse than in any other FPS, but the surreal ‘cartoon’ setting does make it seem even more over-the-top.
Postal 2 has received several DLC expansion packs, and in December 2003 a multiplayer expansion was released, titled Postal 2: Share the Pain. A new single-player expansion pack, called Paradise Lost, was released in April 2015. Paradise Lost takes place eleven years after the original game, when The Postal Dude awakens from a radioactive-induced coma to find his dog Champ is missing. So he returns to his home town, which is now a post-apocalyptic wasteland, to find him.
Postal 2 was followed by a pseudo sequel, Postal III, made by a Russian developer and first published in December 2011, but this has since been disowned by Running With Scissors.