I knew this game was going to be bad. I knew this game was going to be unpleasant. I was fully aware of this game’s bad reputation going into it, and yet I still played it. I wanted to be a “completist” and experience the POSTAL franchise to its fullest. I wanted to play something “Funny Bad” to commemorate my 100th post on this website. I wanted to show gratitude towards my readers for checking me out and to myself for doing this for so long. So, why am I not happy? Why am I not smiling?
Let me tell you something. POSTAL III is without a doubt, without a hint of sarcasm and hyperbole, the worst thing I have ever played for the purpose of this website.
When Running With Scissors, the creators of POSTAL and POSTAL II has to make a public announcement telling people to not buy this particular game you know something is wrong. Let me repeat that. RUNNING WITH SCISSORS, THE CREATORS OF POSTAL AND POSTAL II, TWO OF THE BRASHEST, BRAZEN, AND UNCOMPROMISINGLY VIOLENT AND POLITICALLY INCORRECT GAMES I HAVE EVER PLAYED TELLS YOU NOT TO BUY THIS GAME. Why would they say that? Why? I’ll tell you fucking why.
POSTAL III is a barely functioning bundle of coding that was duct-taped together by Russian developer Trashmasters and published by equally Russian game publisher Akella with assistance from Running With Scissors. RWS chose to outsource the development of POSTAL III to Akella due to both companies not only having a prior working relationship as Akella published POSTAL in Russia, but Akella was (keep that word in mind) much larger and was able to make the game higher production values. While I certainly won’t go into TOO much detail about the development and how troubled it was and all that, I at least want to say that I don’t blame RWS or even the developers at Trashmasters and Akella for how this game turned out because of the trash fire whirlwind that ended up surrounding it.
The game was being developed during the 2007 global financial crisis which hit Russia HARD. Budget cuts, funding issues, and even several team firings plagued the game and it was almost guaranteed to fail, not helped by the fact that Running With Scissors practically lost control of the game and had almost no say in anything. If you want to learn more about the development, I highly recommend this video by YouTuber Matt McMuscles. It does a great job chronicling this game’s history and does a far better job telling it than I ever could. I’m only here to review the game as-is.
Speaking of which…
This game wants to be Gears of War so bad it’s almost funny. POSTAL III forgoes the first-person perspective of the previous game in favor of a third-person style which isn’t…a bad idea? I guess? You don’t necessarily need to be in first-person or anything but this new perspective brings a whole slew of new problems that weren’t present in the previous game. For starters, your melee attacks don’t work. Like, at all. Postal Dude’s animations are tied to where his model is facing so it doesn’t matter if your crosshair is DEAD CENTER on your target, if the Dude isn’t facing that direction, it’s not going to hit. You’re weak as HELL in this game anyways so it’s not even viable to hit people with your fists, your boot, a nightstick, a machete, a shovel, or…half of the weapons in this game, for that matter.
The next problem that this stupid ass design choice brought to the table is that POSTAL is a cover-based shooter now! And the cover system doesn’t work! See, in a normal game, you magnetize to your cover and can aim accordingly, either above cover or to the side of it. The Dude doesn’t do that. Sure, he’ll aim to the side I GUESS, but he won’t go back behind it easily and he won’t aim above cover at all! Your bullets will always get blocked. It’s not even worth using. Lastly, and this is important, your movement feels like absolute DOG SHIT.
The Dude moves so fucking slow, you guys. You can’t jump, you can’t strafe that well, you can’t even RUN for more than two seconds because you have an invisible stamina meter. This makes combat and general traversal an absolute slog and good god the way the game shakes when you walk and run is nauseating. Not to mention, they completely butchered the weapons. Not only do you have far less interesting ones than in POSTAL II, but they all feel worse. The Machete doesn’t instantly chop limbs off anymore, the guns hardly do any damage, Explosives Flat Out Crash The Game, it’s insane to me that a game that came out 8 years after POSTAL II can feel this bad and unsatisfying. There’s almost no charm to it.
Which brings us to the worst part of this game, in my opiniong.
THEY PUT A FUCKING JANK-ASS MORALITY SYSTEM IN POSTAL.
You cannot play POSTAL III the way you want to. The game only wants you to play by its rules. Do you want to go postal? Do you want to cause chaos in this game? Too bad. This damn near completely betrays the idea of POSTAL and ends up making the game feel far more restrictive than its previous entry. While you could choose how to approach each mission in POSTAL II, it doesn’t punish you and locks you out of a specific ending for choosing to do it a specific way. The “best ending” in the game not only requires you to play it as safely as possible, but you can’t even do anything OUTSIDE of story missions. Do you want to piss on someone because it’s funny? You get a mark against you. Get too many and you are locked out of the good ending. What the fuck.
There is a way to get a “neutral ending”, but you have to make sure to carefully balance doing good side and bad side missions so everyone hates you equally and that’s just. THAT’S NOT FUN. THAT’S NOT POSTAL. Well, you know what? I got it. I got the “Good” ending. And it sucked. It wasn’t worth it. I didn’t even bother going through the game again to check out the other routes in full. I couldn’t fucking bring myself to do it.
You want to know what I think this game’s biggest sin is? I wouldn’t have cared if this game barely worked or was more restrictive or any of that shit if it got one, simple thing right. All it had to do was make me laugh.
It failed. Miserably.
It got me to chuckle once. For a game that took me maybe 5 hours to beat, that’s pathetic.
POSTAL III isn’t a good bad. POSTAL III isn’t even “so bad that it’s good”. POSTAL III is a buggy, dull, confused, unfunny mess of a game that has almost no redeeming qualities. I honest to god can’t think of a single thing I liked about this game. I originally wanted to pair this up with my Duke Nukem Forever review because of how infamous they both were, but you know what? Duke Nukem Forever at least had some decent ideas. POSTAL III has nothing. I’m glad Running With Scissors has a full handle of the franchise now and am looking forward to playing Paradise Lost and POSTAL 4 (which I have a signed copy of, thank you), but even then, this game is purely insipid.
I Regret Playing POSTAL III.