by Derk Bil
previewed on PC
Easily offended? Best you sit this one out
Postal III is not for those who are easily offended, or even for those with a weak stomach. If anything the game’s primary audience can probably be found along borderline maniacs, which – to be more precise – means most gamers. Prerequisites that will help you play this game include a sense of humor, a tendency to not take things too seriously and a fresh set of diapers to keep you from wetting your pants.
The game’s plot is as simple as one would expect from a Postal game: Postal Dude’s car broke down leaving him stuck in the quaint little town of Catharsis. Cars don’t fix themselves and the local garage wants payment for their services. With no money in his pocket and a burning wish to get the hell out of the dumphole, he sets out to earn some cash and get his car repaired.
Fans of the series know that Postal Dude isn’t the easiest person to be around. During his duties, he collides with all sorts of people and organizations like the Hockey Moms, the Ecologists, corrupt police forces and a Segway biker gang (patent pending). Even Al Qaeda makes an appearance, cleverly disguised as Mexicans and attempting to invade Catharsis. Fortunately Postal Dude is here to save the day, or at least his own day.
It will be up to the player whether Postal Dude will be going into the history books as freedom fighter or the biggest homicidal maniac the nation has ever seen. If you are not going for the latter, you can team up with any of the game’s factions to do jobs for them and possibly find them on your side when you’re in a pickle. As long as you’re not administering your Cat, Badger, Gun or Shovel to one of the friendlies there will be someone to work for and talk to. If keeping your finger off the trigger is too challenging to you, it will be you vs. the rest of the world. Plain and simple.
It should be said that consistency isn’t actually one of the biggest concerns in Postal. If at some point you want to kiss and make up with a particular faction, that’s quite possible. Amnesia is a wonderful thing like that.
The game doesn’t aim to be politically correct either. It is populated by people with a no doubt completely coincidental but striking resemblance to celebrities such as Sarah Palin (spokeswoman for the Hockey Moms), Uwe Boll, Randy Jones of Village People fame (the leader of the Segway biker gang) and Playboy hottie Jennifer Walcott. A colorful bunch, to say the least.
Here kitty kitty…
In action, the game is as whacky as you would guess from the description above. One mission, for instance, required collecting 6 cats for ‘scientific purposes’ and featured copious amounts of cat nip. The mission introduced to the catharsis street life with all its local color as we lured kittens into our… protective custody. This same mission illustrated a cause and effect mechanism too: the diminishing cat population made the local sushi place angry with us for hogging all their kitchen supplies. Imagine that!
Angry people make good targets: time to strike back. Here Postal III was a real eye opener for me in terms of the potential applications of a cat. Throwing one into some guy’s face is one obvious use and, naturally, a recipe for disaster. But cats can also be used as silencers when you jam them on top of your guns and, even better, as grenade carriers. Stick a grenade into a cat, toss it to your enemies and you will see some real fireworks. The only problem is that angry cats are rather unpredictable and they may come and chase you as well, severing some of your limbs in the process.
Speaking of severed limbs, they actually make a great bludgeoning weapon. They may not be as effective as a shovel or a spiked baseball bat, but nothing says poetic justice like beating a Sombrero wearing member of Al Qaeda to death with the severed limb of one of his brothers in arms (pun intended). Less poetic and even a tad less effective – but equally fun – is using beehives as either grenades or proximity mines. Quite a buzz…
To be continued…
Postal III is being built on Valve’s Source Engine which may not provide the most stunning visuals, but certainly does the job. The game was looking quite slick, especially considering the fact that it was demonstrated on a screen the size of a garage door that we sat less than a meter away from. We saw the game back in 2008 and are happy to report that the graphics have improved since. Better yet, more polish is being added still. An additional bonus to using the Source engine is that players can expect a post-release modding frenzy from the already strong fan-base that the series is rich.
If you are looking for storyline, consistency and political correctness, Tetris is a safer bet for you. If, however, you are looking for a mad challenge and wet underwear, then Postal III looks to be a fantastically fun game.