Wot I Think: Postal III

By Alec Meer on January 26th, 2012 at 12:01 pm.

I’ve been playing the oddly quietly-released latest third person action’n’ urban psychopathy game from Running With Scissors, Postal III. Needless to say, I wish I hadn’t.

I have a large tumbler full of Scotch (I know, I know, you’re supposed to use a tulip-shaped glass for the full effect, but the only Scottish person currently writing for RPS is Craig and he says “it offends me” of whisky, so I think I’m safe). I have a vaguely misanthropic attitude towards life, the universe and everything. I have a deep distrust of conventional employment. I have a low attention span. Oh look, there’s a magpie outside. It’s all black and white and… oh yes. And I have a copy of Postal III installed on my personal computer. I AM READY.

Postal III is… well, any such encapsulation would entirely miss the point. Postal III is. That’s about the most accurate way of putting it. So, instead, let’s talk about some of the things Postal III simply includes. First, a warning.


WARNING!

Some of the things you are about to read may sound hilarious and amazing in description alone, and this drive you towards desiring a copy of this videogame. Please be aware that this is not the intended purpose of mentioning them, for they are dramatically different in practice than in concept, and you should not interpret them as recommendations unless specifically described as such.

WARNING ENDS.

Postal III includes these things:

  • Firing sperm-soaked tissues at Sarah Palin and her army of ultra-conservative ‘hockey moms.’
  • Killing people with an angry badger tied to a stick.
  • Urinating on anyone, everyone. Also, making the badger urinate on anyone, everyone.
  • Segway-based chases.
  • Parodies of public figures including Al Gore, Osama Bin Laden, Ron Jeremy, Uwe Boll and Gary Coleman.
  • Fourth wall-bothering jokes about the Source engine, GTA’s physics, branching storylines…
  • Boobs! Guns! Swearing! Cats! Machetes!
  • A clear and desperate desire to be controversial and thus notorious and thus successful.

LIST ENDS.

Oh, one more thing: constant self-reference. Basically, Postal III is Duke Nukem Forever if Duke Nukem Forever was third person and didn’t also hope to be a smash-hit action game that could be sold in shops. I admire it for that; it doesn’t let much stand in the way of including what it wants to include. The problem is… Well, this is what Postal III is like.

Postal III is like a friend telling you that you should go to Amsterdam because there is sex and drugs and booze and no inhibitions and the wildest time you can possibly imagine.

So you go. Because it sounds amazing. Then you get there, you stay in a poky little hotel, you awkwardly have a spliff or two in the company of shouting idiots and then go visit the sex district, where you discover it’s basically just a couple of streets where dodgy-looking old men or horrible drunk thugs creep into dingy rooms. It’s not impossible to enjoy yourself, especially if you’re of a certain mind and are immune to social discomfort, but in reality all this stuff that sounded so good on paper is tawdry and awkward and doesn’t really work.

So maybe you go to the wide range of interesting museums and galleries, or stylish and convivial bars, in Amsterdam instead, and even if you can’t make people’s eyes boggle at your tall tales of adventure upon your return, at least you had a decent, even illuminating time. By which I suppose my mixed metaphors mean you play something else, something less unhinged but something that works and that you feel good about.

I’ve looked inside myself, and I just can’t find any argument against a powerfully strong feeling that Postal III is simply a bad game. I don’t mean Postal-bad. I mean bad-bad. It is full of mad ideas and merry sociopathy, as Postal games are supposed to. It is bold, it is occasionally funny, it is gruesome, it is knowingly offensive, but it is a bad game. The shooting is bad. The punching is bad. The running is bad. The health system is bad. The aiming is bad. The mid-game choice of being sort of good or entirely evil is unrewarding, and bad. The quasi-open levels are cramped and non-interactive and bad. The attacking people with a mad badger on a stick is bad. It is bad. It is a bad game, but a bad game that just happens to be wrapped up in wild abandon and a willingness to be cruel to everyone it can think of.

It’s clearly been made on a bare and fraying shoestring, so I feel a certain guilt for savaging Postal III on the basis that it looks and feels cheap. But it does, and much as that’s probably not the creators’ fault (though for all I know they slept with their bank manager’s wives and had their loans cancelled, or spent all they had on vintage Meccano sets), the upshot is that Postal III simply can’t back up its madness with anything beyond perfunctory systems and interactions. So a gag lives and dies solely on the gag itself; the game can’t do much to realise it.

And, sadly enough, more gags seem to me to misfire than find their targets. Sarah Palin, Al Gore? Didn’t we run out of jokes about those guys months, even years ago? And even if we hadn’t, “Sarah Palin doesn’t like porn stars” and “Al Gore might be a bit of an eco-hippy” makes for pretty toothless satire. That’s a problem for anything that wants to make topical jokes but has a long gestation period. South Park, to which Postal III has more than a few things in common, gets away with because it turns its episodes around double-quick these days, as well as having essentially turned low production values into a fine art. Postal III is a lumbering beast of tepid satire, hung around an outdated-looking version of the Source engine and a cludgy conflation of sometimes genuinely funny meta-commentary about videogames with twatty boobs’n’minorities cop out humour.

That said, I persevered far longer than I thought I would, as I was genuinely curious to see what the hell it would do next. What ludicrous situation, what parodied celebrity, what group or cause will be baited, what mad weapon (hallucinogenic catnip, a laser pointer that drives your dog to attack people’s groins, cat-based landmines – all funny the first time, not so much the tenth, twelfth, hundredth). It is, I suppose, impressive in a way in its unpredictability. But I wish I hadn’t persevered, because while Postal III could be said to be conceptually imaginative, mechanically it’s beyond tiresome. Almost every scenario begins with the perma-wry Postal Dude taking on a thankless job, devolves into violent anarchy and ends with him not getting paid and thus seeking a new thankless job.

That’s part of the joke of course, but the problem is the meat of the levels, which more or less exclusively involve being attacked by waves of identi-enemies and holding out until an arbitrary number have been killed/neutralised. So, throwing spunky rags at Sarah Palin actually involves tediously hoovering up tissues from the floor, plip-plip-plip firing them at hordes of ‘hockey moms’ so that they perform an unconvincing vomit animation and then… No, there is no then. There’s just that, repeated ad nauseum, until the level ends. I laughed when the Dude muttered ‘I didn’t know Valve had a shader for that‘, but otherwise I was bored an annoyed. Throwing spunky rags at Sarah Palin shouldn’t be boring, should it?

That’s the sad truth: Postal III is a very boring game. All its levels are like that: a (sometimes) ingenious setup, and then a grind until it ends. All its madness, all its anarchy, all its controversy and all the fourth wall-breaking gags that did elicit genuine chuckles can’t save it from being a tedious, repetitive, clumsy experience that, if it weren’t for the decent performance from the Postal Dude’s actor, could be mistaken for a mod. I would enjoy seeing what the minds behind it could do with a big budget and a big team, but even the best bad intentions in the world can’t redeem this wilting, look-at-me misfire of a game and misfire of controversy-courting.

The Segway chase level was alright, though.

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105 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    So, Saints Row III?

    • Nick says:

      Not sure what you mean, unless its play something good instead, because thats nothing at all like SR3.

    • Orija says:

      This entire review basically what I thought of Saints Row 3.

    • Aemony says:

      Nick, it seems to me that the core of the review of the game sounds extremely similar to my own experiences with Saints Row: The Third.

      “That’s the sad truth: Postal III is a very boring game. All its madness, all its anarchy, all its controversy and all the fourth wall-breaking gags that did elicit genuine chuckles can’t save it from being a tedious, repetitive, clumsy experience […] the best bad intentions in the world can’t redeem this wilting, look-at-me misfire of a game and misfire of controversy-courting.”

      That pretty much sums up my whole experience with SR3. The game is nothing like its predecessor and extremely boring to play, even the story was a letdown and far from SR2’s quality. Playing alone I get bored and almost falls asleep after just 10-15 minutes of playing. I played it coop with a friend on VoIP and even then I only survived 30 minutes before I was bored out of my mind and had to close it down.

      The only thing it had going for it was, kinda, the japanese game shows. Those was fun, but that were about it.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorManiac says:

      If Saints Row did a ‘Throwing spunky rags at Sarah Palin’ mission. It would involve a sewerage truck, and you’d cover entire buildings.

      …And you could do it with a friend.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      I’m trying to think of another open world sandboxy type game that has a higher diversty in its main mission questline than that of SR3. I’m having trouble.

      Aside from core shooting and driving mechanics, each new mission will involve doing something completely new. Either a new toy to play with or a new type of side mission or a unique setpiece (or a previous setpiece marvelously lampooned or given a twist).

      SR3 doesn’t do feature ‘creep’, it’s more of a feature ‘feed’. A constant stream of discovery. If SR3 bored you then GTA4 must have made you catatonic.

    • Sentient Waffle says:

      I think that Alec means that the game is just plain bad, as in mechanics are implemented poorly, bug ridden, doesn’t work right, feels bad etc.
      Sounds good on paper, or at least fun, but the poor implementation makes them right bad.

      Saints Row was pretty solid, from a technical viewpoint. At least in my experience.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Nick: Yep, that was what I meant. SR3 sounds like this sort of rampaging, but well, good. (Note: I haven’t played either, but heard good things about SR3)

    • paterah says:

      I have to agree with Nick. My experience with SR3 was amazing, far from what Aemony described and I assume that was for most people seeing as the game got raving reviews and was included in many GOTY lists. On the other hand, Postal 3 was disappointing from the little time I gave it. Totally nothing like SR3.

    • Maktaka says:

      Good rule of thumb: when someone says they almost fell asleep playing a game, you know they’re making stuff up. No, you didn’t, and relying on trite hyperbole as your mechanic for debate is worthless. If you can’t “prove” your point without it, you don’t have one.

      SR3 is quite fun. Not as tight plot-wise as SR2 (there’s too much that is implied or happens off-screen), but the gameplay is much more varied, and technically the game is far, FAR better than SR2’s 3rd party port. And compared to the fully realized but utterly bland world in GTA4, it’s out-GTAd GTA.

    • Aemony says:

      @Maktaka : I’m not making stuff up. Sure, there were environmental matters that were also behind it (middle of the day, warm room, bad air flow), but the minigames of the game did contributed to me falling asleep. Did one of those boring helicopter minigames and the music combined with the boring gameplay made me literally fall asleep in my chair. Have happened before in other boring parts of the game, but merely because you don’t believe it happened doesn’t make it any less true. Overall the game is more boring than fun, as everything you want is given to you on a gold plater with hardly any progression required, which makes it all seem rather pointless. Not to mention that the game is so over the top that it isn’t funny.

      Watch Angry Joe’s review of the game, as he pretty much hits the nail on the head a couple of times. To me SR3 is a disappointing game. SR2 had a finely tuned balance which SR3 lacks.

      And heck, I haven’t even gone into how useless the bonus skills you unlock makes the rest of the game feel. There’s hardly any incentive to try stuff out, and well… even that man shooter thingy DLC that came with the limited edition was a single time fun, after which it just became useless yet again.

      For those interested, I’ve completed the whole story-mode with both endings, all Genki minigames (the only minigame I really liked), a bunch more when I tried to find some other fun in the game by conquering the various neighbourhoods, as well as having played it for a total of 32 hours, most of which weren’t exactly SR2 kind-of-fun.

      And, well, I’ve put at least 50 hours into GTAIV, most of which I enjoyed more than SR3. Though that doesn’t really matter, as it is quite the ignorant comparison since they don’t try to compete against one another.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Seems to me you wanted another GTA IV clone. Gritty urban jungle plot and all.
      Trouble is, not touching the port quality issue of SR2 PC (which is terrible, IdolNinja’s work – which deserves unending praise – made it nearly playable. “Nearly” being the important part), is that a lot of criticism aimed at SR2 focused on the cognitive dissonance between plot and gameplay; the first being gritty urban-jungle style, sort of like GTA with an unrepenting psychopath at the wheel, and the second being silly and over the top – in the exact same way that SR3 has.
      And besides, cutscenes featuring a girl locked in a trunk and crushed by a monster truck do not sit really good with activities featuring spraying shit on a yacht club. SR3 just embraced the silliness of the gameplay all the way, and it’s awesome.

      (besides, it’s my entirely personal opinion that you may have a dead and rotten soul – j/k)

    • DrGonzo says:

      I agree again. This read like a Wot I Think of Saints Row 2 or 3. I would describe is as brutally unfunny.

      I imagine the creators of it are quite aware, as they went through all of the Saints Row games and removed all the funny bits and replaced them with aggressively in your face annoying bits instead.

      No it isn’t yearning for another GTA. For a start, GTA 4 isn’t gritty. Not sure what you are getting at there. I remember running over prostitutes, parachuting out of buildings, dick jokes left right and centre. Far, far from gritty, it was a silly over the top comedy.

      It’s just GTA was actually funny. That’s what I was wanting from Saints Row. Not just, “oh dildos are funny right? So massive dildos are even funnier!”

    • Aemony says:

      I don’t want another GTA. What I do want is a silly yet still serious take on the action-adventure open world genre. I recognize that pure over the top humour with no constraints will only make the final product silly and merely repetitive rather quickly, which is what Saints Row: The Third is. I thought I was clear on this but my major gripe isn’t exactly with the story itself, but all the minigames and the gameplay in general. Except for the Genki games, the story was the only reason I actually kept playing. Practically everything else was dull.

      I don’t know why, but Saints Row 3 managed to make even driving around in a tank laying waste to everything unfunny.

      What I did also briefly wander into is how everything is handed to you on a gold plater, especially regarding character customization. Saints Row 2 had 10 different clothing stores offering an extreme variety of clothes, which made me change apperance regularly. Exploring the stores and what they had was a sense of achievement in and of itself. However in SR3 the number of stores have been reduced to merely 4, all of which carry the same uninteresting stuff (there’s only a single store of 3 of those 4, all the rest are of the 4th kind). The customization part of the previous game which I actually liked a lot has been completely reduced to nothing, and no sense of achievement can be felt after you’ve gotten your preferred look merely hours (or even minutes) into the game.

      There’s basically no incentive at all to play the game, except for finding out what next silly thing the story will throw at you. As there’s no sense of progress, there’s no sense of achievement either.

      I also think it’s worth to comment that while SR2 had “cutscenes featuring a girl locked in a trunk and crushed by a monster truck”, SR3 have you deciding between the rescue of your companions or personal revenge, all while “Holding Out for a Hero” plays in the background. While I personally found this extremely funny because of the irony in it, I know some whom just found it offending and stupid. My point is: You can’t please everyone no matter what you do.

      But whatever. You enjoyed SR3 while I didn’t. Fair enough, but that doesn’t contradict the fact that Alec’s review reads almost exactly like one for SR3.

    • bjohndooh says:

      “when someone says they almost fell asleep playing a game, you know they’re making stuff up”

      The only game that literally put me to sleep was Xenosaga – the first one. I always tried to play it late at night – I clocked 30 or 40 hours just due to having to save when I woke up before I called it quits.

    • metalangel says:

      Interesting that both SR2 and Postal 2 were much more open, freeform games while SR3 and Postal 3 are all about the setpieces….

  2. Eclipse says:

    Still getting it on day one, this is a game I waited for too long and I’m a big Postal 2 fan, so it’s anything like that one it will be fun for me.Reviewers talked badly about Duke Nukem Forever too and that was a great game imo

    • John Walker says:

      You’re aware day one was in December, right?

    • Premium User Badge

      Keymonk says:

      It was missable because it was in the middle of the Steam sale.

    • D3xter says:

      What the hell happened here? :/ I can’t find it on Steam searching for Postal in either the German, US or UK store… nor can I find under the “New Releases”-Tab. Did they remove the game or something?

    • Eclipse says:

      It’s not on my steam store, didn’t know it was released

      edit: seems like there’s a “it’s on Steam but also it’s not” situation going on http://www.runningwithscissors.com/postal-3-steam-keys

    • Kdansky says:

      HOLD IT!

      Duke Nukem Forever a good game? Really? Sure, most reviews completely missed the point why the game was bad, but let me help out by linking this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS7PCcvVoPI

    • terry says:

      Yeah, its registerable on Steam but you can only get keys from the devs. Saves Valve removing it from the store when it deservedly tanks, I guess.

    • Schnapple says:

      Yeah the order of events here went:

      1. Steam quietly adds a Postal III page, says it’s coming December 20th.
      2. December 20th the “coming December 20th” message goes away but you can’t purchase the game through Steam. Also doesn’t show a price.
      3. The listing in the “New Releases” list on Steam doesn’t give a price and does not link to the Postal III page on Steam. Links instead to the page on the RWS site where you can buy a key or boxed copy.
      4. Valve removes the Postal III page from Steam. The Postal III Steam page link goes to the home page of Steam

      It’s bizarre – it’s like Valve really doesn’t want to acknowledge that Steam carries the game. All the more strange since it uses the Source engine.

      Also I remember RWS claiming there would be a Linux port which would be interesting since the Steam engine has never run on Linux before. I wonder whatever became of that.

    • qrter says:

      It is on Steam, but you can’t buy it through Steam – you can buy a Steam key through Running With Scissors’ website. No idea why this is the way it is.

      I feel kind of strange knowing this, as I have no interest in the game myself. To me it looks utterly awful.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      qrtr:

      “No idea why this is the way it is.”

      “To me it looks utterly awful. ”

      That’s pretty much it right there. There have been games that Valve have regretted allowing on Steam but were stuck supporting them for contractual reasons (or whatever). This isn’t the first game they’ve treated this way, but it may be the first time they’ve dropped a product this fast.

  3. Khemm says:

    Postal 2 has its fanbase and apparently is a solid game in its own right, but what really sparked my interest is the first Postal which I’ve noticed on gog.
    Is it worth buying?

    • Zeewolf says:

      Nah. Postal 2 is better.

    • Premium User Badge

      lhzr says:

      No, go with Postal 1. It doesn’t try to be funny and it’s isometric(always a plus!). The second is the same as the 3rd.

    • Mechorpheus says:

      Not sure about the GoG version, but the version of Postal 1 which is on the Postal ‘Fudge Pack’ disk REALLY doesn’t like windows vista/7. Something went a bit awry with the keys, so the dude kept walking left and I couldn’t dissuade him from his mission.

    • sinister agent says:

      The Postal demo was one of the first games I ever played on PC, before I even had one of my own. I watched some videos on youtube recently, and I can’t say whether it’s great fun as I haven’t played it since (though I remember it being a decent enough budget shooter for the time). It’s entirely about shooting rather than hijinks, but it goes for “extremely mentally disturbed man goes on rampage to ‘cleanse’ the world” rather than “LOL I R RANDIM VIOLENZS”, and as a result I’d say it’s a more interesting game.

    • noodlecake says:

      whoops edited to get rid of comment

    • BillyIII says:

      Postal 2 is waaay better imho.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The best bit about Postal 2 is that you can complete the demo by patiently waiting in a queue to buy milk, then going back home.

      Now that was political commentary about violence in games.

  4. D says:

    Tempted getting this for the Segway chase level. Good review!

  5. woodsey says:

    Sounds like it met my expectations.

  6. Premium User Badge

    lhzr says:

    So it’s basically Saints Row, with a lower budget and crappier gameplay? It seems so, at least.. desire to be controversial, unfunny jokes, sounds better in theory than in practice, dull, repetitive objectives, made up to be something more than go there and destroy that, nonsense plot, lame characters, etc. and just like Saints Row it will probably appeal to all the 13 year old kids in the world.

    edit: dammit, Gap Gen

    • Nick says:

      Except none of those things are true for Saints Row 3.

    • Premium User Badge

      lhzr says:

      SR3 had alright shooting and driving mechanics, besides that it didn’t feel much different to me.
      But hey, that’s just like, my opinion, man.

  7. JuJuCam says:

    Back to Saints Row 3 then…

    EDIT:: I guess that’ll teach me for commenting before refreshing the page.

  8. asshibbitty says:

    “cat-based landmines – all funny the first time”

    What kind of a fucked-up asshole are you?

    • mrwout says:

    • Premium User Badge

      Fede says:

      Depends.. how does it work?

      I mean, it might be funny at least once if it’s a cat hidden below the surface that jumps up and eats a leg of whichever NPC passes over it. Or any other combo as long as no cat is harmed.

    • MD says:

      I will never ever understand people who are fine with the infliction of horrific violence and suffering on fictional human beings (and would probably mock anyone who wasn’t as some sort of wowser) but are profoundly offended by the thought of harm being inflicted on fictional non-human animals. (Or maybe I will if you explain it to me — I’ll keep an open mind.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Keymonk says:

      …Postal 2 had you using a cat’s ass as a muffler. So it’s not like there isn’t a precedent for treating animals terribly. But yes, MD has the right of it. If it’s okay to harm fictional humans, it’s okay to harm fictional animals.

    • Matt says:

      It’s not a real cat, ergo horrific violence is funny.

    • asshibbitty says:

      It’s simple. Being unfazed by violence against animals is a sign of mental issues. Therefore, my comment

      VVVV Yes. That’s the bloody point.

    • Chris D says:

      But being unfazed by violence against people is fine?

    • Premium User Badge

      Snidesworth says:

      @MD
      I think it stems from the difference of harming someone that could feasibly defend themselves (another human, likely armed) and something that clearly can’t (a cat, a skittish fluffy critter). Even in fictional cases the sense of unfairness and helplessness of the thing on the receiving end can unsettle people. It’s why killing kids in games is taboo.

      That said, I think how comical the violence is affects peoples’ reactions more than who or what the victim is.

    • BoZo says:

      IF WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE PIXEL ANIMALS RIGHTS WHO WILL?!

      Further more, sound cinema will corrupt our youth to be killers.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      Those 1’s and 0’s had feelings goddamnit!

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Better game, better cat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53NxnVqvOyI

    • MD says:

      @Snidesworth: Yeah, it’s probably something along those lines.

      My problem isn’t with people’s feelings though, it’s with them expressing those feelings as moral laws that are binding on everyone else. If they’re going to do the latter, they’d better be reasonable and consistent about it. Otherwise they come across as morally arrogant to an almost solipsistic degree, or simply blinded by the strength of their emotion.

      My own emotional responses to potentially-offensive humour certainly aren’t always consistent with any reasonable system of morality; but they don’t have to be, if I leave them as personal emotional responses, understanding that they don’t constitute a universal moral law or the correct answers to a psychopath test.

      edit: @Matt (“It’s not a real cat, ergo horrific violence is funny.”) I don’t think you honestly believe that’s even a vaguely accurate paraphrase of the point I’m making. If you do, and you care about this discussion, let me know and I’ll clarify.

    • MD says:

      @asshibbitty, I’m not sure who you were pointing at when you said “that’s the bloody point”. Regarding the first part of your comment, though, would you also agree that being unfazed by violence against humans is a ‘sign of mental issues’? (You might have already answered ‘no’ to this, if you were referring to Chris D’s comment.) If it isn’t, how about if we replace humans with, say, ‘non-threatening humans’? ‘Innocent humans’? ‘Helpless humans’? You could apply all sorts of qualifiers, but for any of them that you could reasonably choose, there are going to be popular games enjoyed by a shitload of people who, in order to maintain consistency, you’re going to have to be appalled by.

      Given that you post comments on a video-game website, I’m going to guess that you either play some of these games or at the very least are aware of their existence. You’ve had ample opportunities to comment on them, if you read RPS. But this is the first time I’ve seen you accusing other gamers of having ‘mental issues’. Why?

      Whatever justification you have for the enjoyment of fictional depictions of acts that would be horrible and wrong in real life, why does it not apply when animals are involved? Or, to put it another way, whatever your reasons for condemning people who can enjoy fictional violence against animals, why does this not apply when we replace ‘animals’ with ‘innocent, helpless humans’?

      That question is both rhetorical and genuine. As is probably obvious from my tone, I doubt that you have a reasonable answer. But if you do, I am genuinely interested in hearing it. Likewise if you actually are, say, an anti-GTA campaigner, and believe that anyone who has ever enjoyed running over fictional pedestrians in a game is some sort of real-world monster.

    • MD says:

      (And to anyone who’s wondering, no, I’m not some sort of bloodthirsty maniac myself, even in games. I’m probably more sensitive to fictional suffering than average, though less so than some. I can enjoy games like Saints Row 3, which is so gleefully ridiculous that its inhabitants don’t trigger my ‘real people’ neurons at all. Anything convincing enough that part of me sees the people (or animals) as real, though? I’m going to be disturbed by violence and suffering in that world.)

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Tom and Jerry must have be traumatizing for some of you.

      KG

  9. Flint says:

    This writeup kinda makes me want a (good) game where the entire weaponry was based on creative uses of the animal kingdom. Maybe drawing the line at cat landmines, but moreso badger sticks, laser-guided dogs and such.

  10. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    I wish to protest the defamation of sex and drugs and Amsterdam generally as expressed in this article and will write a sternly-worded correspondence to the editor.

    On a less serious note -and I mean it- , the second Postal was a surprisingly solid game with rather nice graphics at the time, a compelling open environment, glorious petrol physics and a remarkable variety of levels and mayhem. Then again, it’s no shame that this is terrible.

  11. faelnor says:

    So, like Postal 2 then?

  12. ankh says:

    Sounds good. Is it on Steam?

  13. Jorum says:

    It’s a sad day when someone manages to make attacking people with a badger on a stick not fun.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      A tragic waste indeed. :(

    • Premium User Badge

      jimbobjunior says:

      Just like Michael Bay made giant robots fighting each other the dullest thing ever.

    • 2late2die says:

      Indeed! This also makes me wonder, why aren’t there more games where you “[Can kill] people with an angry badger tied to a stick”?? After all, it is the best thing ever!! :D

  14. Danny says:

    Give it another 5 years and there will be no more sex in Amsterdam. At least not in semi-public.

    The days of anything goes are long gone in The Netherlands, I’m afraid.

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    Makariel says:

    You’ve never been to Amsterdam I assume? Judging by your inaccurate description of the red light district.

    • Premium User Badge

      UW says:

      I dunno… the Red Light District does seem that way during the day, it’s at night that it really comes to life.

      That said, I found central Amsterdam to be quite a boring place once you’ve got the weed smoking out of the way and checked out the Red Light District. I visited some really nice places a little ways outside for some of the days and had a great time. Zaanse Schans and Haarlem for example.

    • Premium User Badge

      Makariel says:

      Amsterdam is a surprisingly boring place indeed. In terms of going out Rotterdam has better things to offer, apart from the odd concert which happens to be only in Amsterdam. But back to the red light district: last couple of times I showed some visitors around, there weren’t any weird looking old guys. Mainly young Americans straight from the airport looking for weed and plenty of tourists with their cameras.

  16. Casimir Effect says:

    the only Scottish person currently writing for RPS is Craig and he says “it offends me” of whisky

    I’m sorry Craig but you’re gonna need to go down the street and hand over your ‘Scottish’ card… and your penis.

    • Prime says:

      Whisky is fucking horrible. Not every Scot has to like the stuff to be Scottish, you know, just as not every Englishman has to own a bowler hat.

    • Prime says:

      Whisky is fucking horrible. Not every Scot has to like the stuff to be Scottish, you know, just as not every Englishman has to own a bowler hat or play cricket.

    • thegooseking says:

      I must concur with my countryman on this. I only ever drink whisky to be polite, mostly at the behest of displaced Englishmen who want to partake in Scottish tradition.

      Or if I have a toothache. Then its offensiveness is actually useful.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    I really enjoyed Postal 2, but I have to say that I agree with Alec on this one.

    Where Postal 2 had some interesting sandbox elements and reasonably solid combat, this abandons all of that and unfortunately ends up feeling tedious. Enemies spawn out of nowhere in seemingly never-ending waves, there’s next to no interaction with the environment and combat feels wishy-washy. On top of that, where Postal 2 didn’t really have levels as such, Postal 3 is divided up into small, dull sections.

    The morality system also feels out of place and a poor imitation of the fun to be had in Postal 2 from trying to avoid killing anyone unless it was completely necessary. In Postal 3 it seems to come down to shooting people no matter what, but with the “good” choice being a painfully slow-reloading taser and everything else being evil.

    I don’t know, that may change later on, but I gave up after getting to the Al Qaeda Wetback stage on the Police branch, which thanks to the bad shooting and lack of feedback was just a frustrating mess.

    I wanted Running With Scissors to succeed, and I was prepared for there to be some bad reviews purely because of the content, but unfortunately I feel let down and those reviews are justified. It’s just bad, with none of Postal 2’s funny systems or even charm.

    As Alec says, the concepts are good, offensive fun. The execution is downright terrible.
    Avoid Postal 3 like the plague, even if you’re a fan of Postal 2.
    Don’t even pick it up if it appears in a future Steam sale for pennies. It won’t be worth it.

    • The Question says:

      I love Postal 2 to bits. It’s still installed, and I still play it occasionally – the tasteless yet self-aware slaughter can be a great destressing exercise. Postal 3 is the most disappointing game I’ve ever, ever bought. More disappointing than Deus Ex: Invisible War, or GTA4, or Return of the Jedi. And after the mess they’ve made I doubt there’ll be a Postal 4.

  18. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Throwing spunky rags at Sarah Palin shouldn’t be boring, should it?

    Hey, as long as at least one is having a good time… >_>

  19. jjujubird says:

    I’m confused as to why so many sites are bothering to make Postal III articles. It’s been pretty clear for a few weeks that it’s a terrible game, and was its release really THAT big of a deal? Is the Postal franchise that major? Good article, but I would have preferred a review of something that people might actually be on the fence about buying, rather than something that could be easily ruled out by a quick visit to any major gaming or review site.

    • Khemm says:

      Speaking of “WOTs” I’d like to read: Oil Rush is apparently out.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      jujubird, RPS is the only game news site I read regularly, and I wanted to know about Postal 3. So I might be the only one who cared about this article, but that means there was at least one RPS subscriber who did.

      Besides, this game sounded like it needed a proper thrashing.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nogo says:

      Speak for yourself buddy.

      Postal 2 gets some deserved love from people who could look past the distinct lack of taste or subtly, and I for one was looking forward to inciting anarchy in a surrealistic desert town once again, but thanks to RPS covering the thing they cover now I won’t buy it and be disappointed.

  20. MadTinkerer says:

    Well I highly suspected I was going to skip it, and this clinches it. I enjoyed Postal 2 for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that it’s technically in the same genre as Deus Ex, despite that not being the intention of P2 at all.

    However; this: “Postal III is Duke Nukem Forever if Duke Nukem Forever was third person”

    Oh. Oh my. Postal 2 is one of very few games to try and combine FPS with adventure game elements and semi-sandboxy levels. It was so interesting in it’s implementation that it’s good parts distracted from it’s flaws and offensive bits (mostly). And then they go and do this.

    Why do I object to the third-person thing above all else?

    “The shooting is bad. The punching is bad. The running is bad. … The aiming is bad.”

    That’s why. If Postal 2 did one thing right (other than giving you reasons to do adventury things in a mostly shootery world), it was getting the controls pretty much perfect. I’m guessing a huge part of the reason why the controls in 3 are bad is directly related to the fact that it’s a third-person shooter.

    It’s far easier to do the controls for a 3D first-person game than for a 3D third-person game, especially if any kind of precise aiming is required. They should have at the very least stuck to the FPS controls of Postal 2.

    “Postal III is simply a bad game. I don’t mean Postal-bad. I mean bad-bad.”

    Sure seems like it. I’ll definitely skip this one.

    • McCool says:

      This! I was rather shocked to be honest. Third person, what are they thinking? Their game is now a different genre. If I wanted to do horrible zany things to people in third person, there is GTA or Saints Row. Postal had an entire, um market (is that what marketing people say?) cornered and now they have nothing.

      Oh well.

  21. Shooop says:

    In short, just play Saints Row 3 instead?

    Got it. Thanks for suffering through this to warn us.

  22. noodlecake says:

    I remember playing the demo for Postal 2 when i was about 15 and feeling pretty disturbed having run into a house and decapitated a screaming panicking family and then been attacked by a dog which I didn’t want to kill but ended up also decapitating with a shovel. Once I was over the shock of that I found it quite amusing. Plus it had ragdoll physics and not a lot of games had those back then.

  23. Theodoric says:

    The Rijksmuseum is highly recommended, and the Hollandse Schouwburg is something everyone needs to visit.

  24. Jim Dandy says:

    Great article from Mr Walker on what sounds like a horrible game, though I’m thinking Running With Scissors will pull ‘bold’ ‘genuinely funny’ and ‘impressive’ and quote RPS on their PR material.

    The point made about the difficulty of staying topical in a medium with such a long gestation period gave me an idea – one that would probably result in a soulless cash-in game, but hey, what’s new…

    It’s based on the ‘same shit, different bucket’ principle. In any given year you’re going to get the same types of celebrity scandals: someone’s married to someone but they’re boffing someone else, a politician is caught armpits deep in nazi hookers, some vapid bimbo whilst completely out of her gourd crashes her Hummer into a kindergarten for deaf kids. It’s always the same kind of stuff.

    So, you build generic. Maybe a stealth game. The player character is a paparazzo/a who has to infiltrate a series of increasingly complex and well-guarded levels to get their shots: a yacht in the Carribean, Hollywood parties, a British conservative politician’s estate, etc. You spend the dev-time on gameplay, lunacy and peripheral detail. A few weeks before release you see what celeb’s are currently up to the shenanigans your levels are themed around, drop some caricatured models over your 90% animated generic placeholders and whip up a few lines of relevant voice script and specific animation. Voila, a twelve year dev-time AND topicality.

    • Skabooga says:

      Heh heh, the “I’m a misanthrope” line through me for a loop too, but apparently it was sweet, gentle Alec Meer who had to suffer through this experience and not cold, hard John Walker.

    • Jim Dandy says:

      Oops, my sincere appy-polly-loggys to Mr Meer.

  25. Shortwave says:

    Hilariously depressing.

    The first moment I glanced at the screenshots on steam I knew this was going to be a flop.
    Nevermind being in third person.. Not that I hate third person games but.. I mean it’s portal..
    It’s a mindless shooter… Why wouldn’t it be first person!? COME ON.

    I waited so many years for this game, I’m not even going to bother with a demo.

  26. El_Emmental says:

    Loved how Alec is openly making fun of all the stupid american/european young men going to Amsterdam just for “lolweedz lolhookers” :D (same with NZ)

    Everyone knew Postal 3 was going to tank, so thank you Alec for enduring such a bad game for us, someone had to see how bad it was. You deserve a healing beer for your hard work :)

    Speaking of Amsterdam, one has to be pretty dumb if he’s going there just for the legal drugs and brothels (and alone on top of that), there’s so much more interesting things to do. Tons of interesting places, museums, parks, original meals… and the bike lanes ! it’s so awesome to be able to ride endlessly in the middle of nowhere so easily

    * If you really want to go in coffeeshops, don’t go in tourists-shops for god’s sakes, go in smaller town, you’ll get much better prices, diversity, quality, friendliness and the % of the price going to the mafias (who control coffeeshops and distribution) will be smaller.

    * If you’re looking for the womenz, don’t go to the red hot district… go in parks/museums and work on your skills : there’s hundreds of foreign young women in a “travelling abroad/adventure/doing something new” mental mode wandering around. Really. That’s breathtakingly amazing. And that’s one of the most easiest situation to try, if you can’t succeed there after a week (or even 72 hours), something is terribly wrong.

  27. pipman3000 says:

    I didn’t ask for this.

  28. wodin says:

    I have to say that after the initial amusement of SR3 I too got bored very quickly.

    This not only sounds boring but also sounds like it’s also poorly executed which SR3 certainly wasn’t, SR3 (apart from the truly awful draw distance and a distinct lack of variety in the districts) look sexcellent (that was a typo but seemed appropriate for some reason)and it’s production values are first class.

  29. dmastri says:

    You’ve never been to Amsterdam.

  30. frosty216 says:

    I hate this game for a completely different reason than every single reviewer.

    From what I remember, Postal 2 was novel in the fact that among all the ludicrousness was that you simply had “things to do” and freely went about doing them.. postally. It’s self-defining. Even if the shooting mechanics in Postal 3 were downright awesome and left COD players drooling in special effects, muzzle flash, and amazingly true-to-life *snicker* weapon recreations, it still strays from the whole premise (albeit, I suppose my personal interpretation) of what the game should be.
    The game was far from perfect, but it had a fan-base because of the niche it created. Postal 3 is just a third-person shooter with artificial lunacy mixed into it. I thought that it’s predecessor was HORRIBLE from a technical point of view, but I still moderately enjoyed it and subsequently looked forward to this release for the simple fact that it did something properly different than other games.

    Alas, this is also coming from the guy who was caught up in all the “WOW!!!” of Skyrim, but now thinks it’s so watered down he can’t finish the main storyline anymore and is back to playing Morrowind. I just hope the next Elder Scrolls release doesn’t have care packages.

    • metalangel says:

      That’s correct. The blue collar jobs in Saints Row 2 were a great example of this. You were just there to tow a car. That it might turn into a huge gun battle, you’d enlist your friend to run interference on a motorcycle while you hooked the car up, and you ended up crashing over a verge and through a fence trying to escape the owner’s irate buddies was just stuff that emerged at random from the scenario.

  31. chimpychimp says:

    Anyone play the original postal?

    There was nothing cutesy or humerous about that game. Gunning down women and children in the street, and listening as a little girl slowly crawls away, leaving a bright scarlet trail. She croaks in what is barely a whisper “Help…I cant see….I cant breathe”

    • metalangel says:

      Ah, imagination. In many ways older games are more powerful for it.

      In the demo level, there’s no ‘little girls’, but the policewomen you shoot say exactly those things, and it was no less chilling at the time.

      The ‘execution’ move to be merciful had a canned ‘evil’ music sting that really felt comical when you’re surrounded by a dozen locals and cops dying of the wounds you’ve inflicted.