Launched in November 1997 and followed in February 1998 by the add-on Special Delivery and in April 2001 by the compilation Postal Plus, Postal wasn’t a huge commercial hit, scoring just 250.000 copies. This wasn’t because it was a poor isometric action game but because it was forbidden in many countries (Germany, Australia, South Korea and partially in USA) due to its excessively violent scenes being considered, today also, one of the most disputed games of all times. This fact didn’t convince Running With Scissors, true to “The Postman Always Rings Twice” quote from James M. Cain’s (1934) novel and also from the two movies, 1946 and 1981, to give up the idea of making Postal 2.
Like in the first part, the main character is not the prototype of the hero whose only purpose is to save the world or to survive in a hostile surrounding. All he has to do is to fulfill different tasks during five days from Monday to Friday. These represent his daily necessities or his wife’s wishes (buy a Christmas tree, cash a check, stamp a vote bulletin, get an autograph) with who he is sharing a trailer in a small town, Paradise, Arizona.
These objectives are either presented to you at the beginning of a new day or they appear later when some new events take place like the exploration of a new area or the encounter with a certain character. Wanting to simulate real life, this is an aspect which tries to deliver some unexpected content. Unfortunately, its impact is seriously diminished by their linearity. Even if some of the objectives are situated in areas found at a greater distance one of another forcing you to explore the city as much as you can, the purpose of this action is usually to find some weapons, objects or money which can really help you finish the level.
Money is the most important because you’ll always need them for successfully finishing a mission like buying a toy or paying a fine. Just few objectives can be fulfilled without using your weapons. The rule “Postal 2 is as violent as you are.” proves its viability just when using weapons. You may not reply when you are attacked by NPCs: you can run or avoid their bullets until cops kill them. As money can be obtained either by killing NPCs or by braking into houses and stealing them and as Postal 2 is not a stealth game and the sum of money doesn’t save for the next day you still must kill and steal even if you can be careful not to be seen or even if you can stop NPCs from getting to close to the cops.
The police hostility meter towards your actions is shown by an indicator much like in Driver. When it gets to the max you’ll get all the cops behind your back trying to get you to their HQ. Even if you can escape and recover all your weapons and objects it’s advisable to run and hide because, unfortunately, the Postal 2 universe is not a persistent one. Running to another area is a good choice because no one will ever follow you there and the value of the indicator will show zero once again. What’s weird is that when you go back to the previous area you will notice that all the corpses are missing and that cops’ attitude is again a neutral one as nothing ever happened.