Postal 2: Share the Pain full review

If you're easily offended or prefer to see the best in people, don't read on. Postal 2: Share the Pain, by Running With Scissors, is not for you. It is, without question, one of the most violent and politically incorrect games I have ever played. (It has actually been banned in some countries.) Consider yourself warned.

That said, I have to admit that I liked this game. I couldn't help but laugh out loud – not only at the sick, and often stupid, jokes and vile behaviour, but also at the pure outlandishness of it all.

Postal 2 is more or less a standard first-person shooter. You must complete a series of mundane missions – such as going to the bank, getting milk, and having your venereal disease treated. Entertaining cinematic sequences introduce you to each new mission and the storyline's twists.

Although you can accomplish most of these tasks without ever resorting to violence, the game strongly encourages you to let loose your dark side. That's where the guns come into play. And the hand grenades. There's also a shovel you can use to decapitate your foes, and an anthrax-ridden cow's head that makes anyone within its explosive radius vomit blood uncontrollably. Oh, and did I mention that you can pour gasoline on people and set them on fire – then kick them square in the nads?

Unfortunately, the twisted fun can't mask some basic flaws that mar the game's execution. The game is set in a sprawling town. But each area is zoned and must load separately – which often leaves you tapping your fingers on the table for a few moments. And the interior level design is also a bit plain and unfinished in places.

The game's physics engine supports “rag doll” physics, which offers some entertainment value as corpses get blown hither and yon. The occasional pyrotechnic will send cars and trucks into the sky, Hollywood-style. However, the computer characters are often dumb as bricks – running into walls and doing other stupid stuff.

In addition to the original, single-player version of Postal 2, the Mac release includes the Share the Pain multiplayer add-on, which was released separately for the PC. This is good because you'll get barely a dozen hours of play out of the single-player mode. The Share the Pain add-on includes 14 multiplayer maps, a server browser, and a variety of dedicated multiplayer game modes such as Grab (where you grab bags that make you stronger), Deathmatch, and Team Deathmatch.

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