That Postal 3 is a game of bad taste doesn't come as any sort of surprise, as this is a series which has always been hard for critics to digest. Nobody who wants to be taken seriously wants to admit they might have found any of the jokes funny; while I can admit to having enjoyed Postal 2, I forever want to follow that up with a written caveat - it wasn't because of the humour!
Postal 3, however, is worse. It pushes itself further than before and doesn't do it in the edgy, guilty-giggle-making kind of way. What was once done in bad taste is now just bad
as the developer, obsessed with the novelty of swears and sex, punctuates what might have been pleasantly mindless rampages with overtly sexist and racially offensive content.
The first mission, for example, involves Ron Jeremy hiring you to defend his adult entertainment store from a horde of hockey moms, the leader of whom looks like Sarah Palin. To complete the task you're given a souped-up hoover which can fire out the man-crusted tissues you've previously picked up off the floor. The level following that involves collecting HIV-infected cats before the local Korean gang can round them up and cook them.
Postal 3 - Click to enlarge
This isn't funny; partly because of the subject matter itself, but if you want to look at things properly then also because of how it's presented. There's no lead-in to the supposed punchline and the pacing is constantly interrupted by either cutscenes or voiceovers. Of these, the former is done in an over-bright and bombastic style which clashes with the rest of the game's B-movie style, while the other merely reminds you how reprehensible The Postal Dude is.
By this point, it shouldn't surprise any one that Postal 3 looks terrible. Valve's Source Engine has been around since 2004, so it's not exactly the spryest chicken in the shed at this point, but incremental updates have meant that other Source-powered games like Zeno Clash and the Half-Life episodes can keep pace with other titles.
Postal 3, on the other hand, somehow looks worse than even the earliest Source games, lacking engine-supported features such as lip-sync and sporting in-game models which would look more at home in the original Deus Ex. There are
flashes of artistic flair, especially when it comes to the hand-drawn style that's seen in some loading screens, but it invariably looks better in screenshots than in action.
Postal 3 - Click to enlarge
There isn't any. There wasn't any in Postal 2's original release though either, so this comes as no surprise.
(All The) Other Letters
It doesn't get any better for Postal 3; it's irredeemable and, frankly, I'm running out of synonyms to describe how utterly appalling it is. It isn't fun to play, it regularly breaks for those who persevere, it isn't as funny as it thinks, the graphics are bad and you can't even share the misery online; if you need more reasons to avoid this unsurprisingly terrible game then I don't know what to say to you.
Ultimately, the only surprising thing about Postal 3 is how utterly unsurprising it ends up being - it's as one-dimensional and crudely crafted as its predecessors would indicate and the obviousness of this deprives it of the shock value it needs in order to work properly. The result is that, like a cruder Duke Nukem, Postal has become the gaming equivalent of The Aristocrats
- as performed by fourth-rate and utterly self-indulgent comedians.