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Postal III

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Postal III
Postal-3-box.jpg
Russian Postal III.jpeg
Postal-3-JP.jpg
"I couldn't disappoint the fans."
— The Postal Dude
Protagonist(s): The Postal Dude
Genre(s): Third-person shooter
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Release: CIS: November 23, 2011
WW: December 21, 2011
JP: July 20, 2012
Engine: Source
Developer(s): Trashmasters
Running with Scissors
Publisher(s): WW: Akella
JP: CyberFront Corporation
Country: Russia
United States
Series: Postal
Predecessor: Postal 2
Successor: Postal 2: Paradise Lost (chronologically after Postal 2, see trivia #7)
Postal Redux (release)


"Disclaimer of Shame: Postal III is a third-person shooter in which you... ehh... uhm...

Alright I'm going to level with you - don't buy Postal III. Seriously, you'd regret it. Hell, you'd regret playing it for free. It's a borderline-broken, boring, frustrating, unfinished mess, and there was nothing we could do stop it.

What happened is that we agreed to let a big Russian publisher develop and publish a third Postal game, which we would handle the design for. It was actually going well for the initial development time, but then the economy crashed especially hard in Russia and the project was handed to a smaller, less experienced team that didn't have the skill or resources to make the game we designed, and they were forced to rush development to meet unreasonable deadlines. Corners were cut severely, dramatic changes to our design were made, and the game was put out in an unfinished barely-Alpha state. The game is simply unfinished and broken. And when it does work, the game is just boring and frustrating to play. The sad part is that the publisher made little-to-no effort to fix it themselves, nor did they ever give us access so that we could try patching it up for them. We are stuck with Postal III as it is.

You're a responsible adult (we hope), so I'm sure you're capable of making your own purchasing decisions. I just want you to consider all of the above, before you make the leap of regret into paying real hard-earned money for this title. We don't own the game, we can't support it and we don't get anything from its sales, so if you decide to risk the purchase - you're on your own.
"
Actual disclaimer from the game’s webpage on Running With Scissors' official website [1]
"I regret everything"
A Steam review of the game

Postal III is a third-person shooter game developed by Trashmasters in association with Running with Scissors and published by Akella worldwide and CyberFront Corporation in Japan.

Why It Regrets Everything

  1. Executive Meddling: If you haven't caught on from the first quote, the issues below were caused by Akella switching development teams thanks to the extremely severe economic downfall Russia was dealing with from the 2008 rescission that was going on at the time of this game's development; they initially went from Running With Scissors, the original developer of the series working alongside with Akella, to a very less experienced development team (see Trivia #1 for more).
  2. Low-budget graphics, with noticeably pixelated skyboxes on 512x512 resolution on each sides when looking closer and when screen resolutions are set to highest possible, and poor usage of lighting and bloom, even when compared to its predecessor released eight years prior, or even any prior or other then-released Source engine games, including Portal 2 (not to be confused with Postal 2) which was just released a few months earlier using latest Source engine branch at the time which have better graphics.
  3. Unbelievably large amount of game-breaking bugs.
  4. Very long loading screens, despite how most Source engine games (including mods) only took at least average 6-18 secs to load depending on hardware and how many props or entity are in the maps. Even Sonic '06 has faster loading screens than this game.
    • Also on the loading screens, most of them are made but are unused by default, due to game development being rushed and/or not coded properly (see trivia #5), unless you copied everything from "p3_english\materials\vgui\loading" folder and paste all of VTF & VMT files into "p3\materials\vgui\loading" folder
  5. Every cutscene contains an annoying film-damage filter that attempts to make it look like something out of a Grindhouse trailer, as well as a lack of anti-aliasing (which makes jagged edges visible).
  6. Awkward and obtuse controls. Jumping is not possible and you have to taking cover (pressing SPACE 2 times) to vault over any obstacles.
  7. Bad collision detection, which, coupled with the bad controls, makes the gameplay a chore.
  8. Kicking anything, something that is perfected in POSTAL 2, is a chore because of the bad hit detection and the fact that it has a one-second delay.
  9. The game is completely linear, and feels like any modern FPS games during the late 2000s to early 2010s (particularly Gears/Gears of Wars series), in contrast to the previous game's open-world structure.
  10. All missions play practically identical. You generally do some random stuff depending on the context, and then immediately got caught in a crossfire.
  11. The game itself was poorly optimized and laggy, to the point that its has an extreme tendency to crashes easily (even worse with unofficial DRM removal patch which causing grenade crash), even more than it's predecessors.
    • The main reason for poor optimization is possibly due to the game intentionally using single threaded mode to avoid problems with PhysX physics engine, aswell most likely the game engine originally based off Beta version (according to leak build which also contains HL2 EP2 & TF2 Beta) of Source 2007, which originally didn't fully support multi-threads at the time until after Left 4 Dead release which Valve later backported the multi-thread feature to older Source engine branches. This Beta Source 2007 build was probably later updated with few new patches (from Source 2009) applied rather using the latest branch available at the time (such as Portal 2 version of Source engine), which the beta engine was less optimized. Even after manually enable multi-threaded mode and disabled PhysX, the game still suffers from performance issues, although less.
  12. Shockingly awful script, even for POSTAL standards, with an otherwise pathetic and downright offensive attempt at edgy humor. It's somehow even worse than Uwe Boll's POSTAL film.
  13. Besides the edgy humor, this game's take on politics is laughably outdated compared to its predecessor (which was developed and released around the time when the War on Terror broke out and George W. Bush's presidential term), referencing stuff that were already out-of-date when this game was released, such as the Great Recession, Sarah Palin, and Osama Bin Laden being alive despite being killed 7 months after this game came out.
  14. Horrendous physics, despite the fact that it was made on the Source engine (which uses the Havok physics engine), where games got considered as revolutionary for their physics, like Half-Life 2 and Portal which they were made in, however, this game also comes with Nvidia PhysX physics engine, which was poorly optimized and implemented. Not to mention, setting people on fire doesn't spread anymore as it did in POSTAL 2.
    • Most of the physics problem are probably caused by some of the models/props made for the game wasn't optimized to work with physics engine, combined with bad collisions, as the Half-Life 2 default props (when pasted/mounted into Postal 3 using Hammer Editor and manually copying the models/textures file, the props made for HL2 would work perfectly in Postal 3 with it's physics engine), enabling multi-threaded mode and play the game in 1080p with uncapped framerates on some PC may even break some physics or jigglebones[2] (even the Dude's coat detaches) without disabling PhysX via console.
    • The PhysX physics engine was poorly implemented, and like the latter above, it's causing weird flappy jigglebones and the above coat detaches bug in Postal Dude's jacket above, and also causing some performance problems together with the default single-threaded mode.
  15. All the weapons feel awkward and janky to use, with the melee weapons all have pitiful low damage, and with the horrendous hit detection, you won't want to use them anyways. In fact, the only weapon you would actually use throughout most of your playthrough is the M16 because it does the most damage and the fact that the ammunition for this weapon is plentiful.
  16. The Free Roam mode (which was added in patch 1.12) is a complete joke. The only thing you can do there is killing people, wandering around the map and that's it. POSTAL 2 has an open world, but it was also about exploration when you weren't focusing on the errands.
  17. Often times during cut-off points in cutscenes, a very loud, low-quality clipping sound of Ron Jeremy screaming plays before going to a different cutscene. It gets very annoying and possibly would jumpscare the player if they play using headphones maxed out at 100% as it happens a lot.
  18. The game introduces a new mechanic known as the Karma Meter, which, while awesome on paper with the ability to influence the story depending on how you perform and also get three different endings, doesn't accommodate really well with the POSTAL franchise at all, especially considering that the Postal Dude doesn't like everyone regardless of their race or gender, and only cares about himself and his dog companion, Champ. It also strongly urges you to pursue the Good path and not slaughter anyone by joining the Catharsis Police Force, where you'll be required to use the Stun Gun to stun them instead of kill them most of the time. If you kill enough people and deplete your Karma Meter, you'll be permanently fired and transferred to the Insane route. What really doesn't help is that civilians has a tendency to get in the way of combat due to their stupid AI, causing you to accidentally kill them.
    • The Insane path, while interesting, isn't really worth your time, as it's apparently shorter than the Good path, so the game pretty much forces you to play it as the devs want!
      • There's also some inconsistency when it comes to the mechanic. Primarily, in the first mission of the Good path, YouTuber Civvie 11 discovered a bug, where for some reason (which, the reasons is that due to rushed development, the game used the wrong cutscenes file, renaming the both 2 .bik file [pa_3.bik and pa_4.bik in p3_english folder] or editing the map with Hammer Editor and renaming the cutscenes entity filename there would fix the issues), the game plays the wrong cutscenes for the wrong criteria; so if you messed it up with killing police officers and depleting your Karma, it will play the Good path cutscene, making you think that you got through the mission normally, and the next cutscene is from the Insane path. Same applies for vice versa; do it as the game wants it, and the game will play the Insane path transition cutscene, before going to a Good path cutscene.
  19. There's no point in even buying this game because Mike Jaret (VP of Running With Scissors) will give out product keys for free if you nicely email him asking for one (outdated, Mike says he has no more keys to give), or alternatively, you can buy POSTAL XX from the Running With Scissors website (a 20th-anniversary box that includes all POSTAL games, the movie and some other goodies).
  20. Some of the achievements are broken, such as "CHAMP WHISPERER" and "MEGA-SADIST".
  21. The game shamelessly lies regarding how the Karma Meter works, most likely because of the possibility that it was rushed, which led to the mechanics not working properly. In the Krotchy's Korner cutscene, where Krotchy introduces the mechanic and describes how it works, he says that using Non-Lethal force would replenish your Karma, but in reality, it accomplishes nothing (until this unofficial fix is implemented) and is only supposed to keep it from diminishing. In reality, if one chooses the Good path, they only get one chance to get it right; otherwise, there is no turning back, and the only alternative is to start over.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. The art style is admittedly decent and fits perfectly well with the franchise's tone, especially the opening cutscene at the beginning of the game (serving as a recap of the events from POSTAL 2 and referencing a bit of the original POSTAL), which is done well and shows off what they were going for, some of that art style was returned in later sequels (such as POSTAL 4: No Regerts).
  2. Corey Cruise's voice acting is alright, and he returns in Postal 2: Paradise Lost expansion pack as "The Alternate Postal Dude". Meanwhile, Postal 2's Steam release features Rick Hunter's unused lines recycled from the fearful horrors of this game... Regarding Corey Cruise, he also voiced the psychiatrist at the end of POSTAL Redux, a voice option in POSTAL 4: No Regerts, and the Dude again in Brain Damaged, making him the "favorite kid" in Running With Scissors due to his fitting voice for the Dude.
  3. Good soundtrack, with an excellent remix of "Goodbye Almond Eyes" by Tokyo Rose and "Going Postal" by Secondhand Child.
  4. Although most of them were not released yet, there are some mods that make the game play like it used to be, such as Catharsis Reborn, Controlled By POSTAL, and the POSTAL III Improvement Mod. Heck, this game even have a mod which mutes literally all of the hellish screams Ron Jeremy made inbetween cutscenes.

Trivia

  • Continuing WIS #1. As stated by RWS themselves in one of the quotes above, the reason why this game is so terrible is due to the fact that RWS outsourced this game to a game studio from Russia named Akella. Because of the economic downfall Russia was dealing at the time thanks to the 2008 recession, as a result, the game was transferred to a shovelware developer owned by Akella fittingly named Trashmasters, and development of the game was rushed (see Trivia #5). It didn't help that they had no money to pay for any kind of quality control whatsoever.
  • POSTAL 2 was later updated to have a boxed copy of the game hidden in the grass of the junkyard. If you pee on it, you'll get an achievement for it called "SCREW that game!" and has a picture of Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes peeing on the game.
    • In fact, in a similar manner to Sonic 06, the game actually traumatized fans of it's predecessor and RWS to the point where they pretend that the game doesn't exist (due of RWS not being involved in the development and disowning the game).
  • Sometime in 2020, the beta version got leaked for unknown reasons during that time, presumably because Valve's Source engine license at the time, contained the beta content for TF2 and Half Life 2: Episode 2 (June 2007 build, 4 months before the release of The Orange Box, which both of the games mentioned was featured in.)[3][4]. The leaker was later identified themselves as the lead developers (NEXER/DOKA) of Postal 3 Amnesia mod and the reasons for the leak are mostly due to depressions and some criticisms that developer gets[5].
  • Rick Hunter, the voice actor of the Postal dude in the first two games, wasn't present to voice the Postal Dude in this game. In a 2017 interview, he claimed it was because he was depressed after breaking up with his girlfriend at that time.
  • The game was released early during mid development by Akella. As such, many promised features (such as the multiplayer) were never implemented, most of the game's loading screen are unused, the YES/NO dialog (possibly unused, but can be enabled) which tells you if you wanted to join the Police forces or not[6] that can lead to neutral ending, the consoles port (see below), and the game tends to crash in many ways and areas, especially in the areas where NPCs and Gunfire is used, or by simply throw a grenade/cats/other throwable objects which sometimes happens (most likely related to bug from the unofficial NODRM patch, which is required to play the game on Windows 8 and later, as the ActControl DRM was incompatible with later versions of Windows, there is a grenade crash fix available on ModDB as part of Postal III Sourcemod Template, which may or may not work for some users). Many players reported a common crash while playing with the final boss, which Akella yet has to patch.
  • There was originally gonna be ports for Mac OS X, Linux, and even the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (which would’ve marked the Postal series’ true first time on a console before Postal Redux on the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch), but they never surfaced, however, the above beta version was demonstrated on the X360 console[7] (indicated by the Menu UI, showing the game running on modified consoles version of The Orange Box/Source 2007, with it's console UI and another footage showing developers testing the game with X360 controller with real X360 devkit).
  • The game developer company Running with Scissors retconned the game with Postal 2: Paradise Lost in 2015, claiming that the game (regardless of ending) took place within a dream the Postal Dude had during an eleven-year coma.
  • Clicking on "POSTAL 3" on the Running With Scissors website brings you to "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. A previous archived website used to show the actual Postal III page, with the disclaimer.
  • Osama bin Laden and Uwe Boll make appearances.

Videos

References

  1. Archived from RWS's Postal III page
  2. Postal III PhysX multi thread & 1080p uncap FPS bug. YouTube
  3. https://twitter.com/valvenewsnetwor/status/1271154230645178371?lang=en
  4. Category:June 11th, 2020 Postal III Beta Leak. TCRF.
  5. V-DOKA: P3A and a confession.... ModDB
  6. This is one of the variant of this (possibly unused) YES/NO dialog UI:
    An (possibly) unused Postal III Yes/No dialog for joining Police forces.

    To enable this dialog UI, type gameui_show_p3_yes_no_dialog on the Console. There are 10 variants of this UI according to the p3_english\materials\vgui\yes-no inside of the game folder.
  7. WARNING (NSFW): The last video of the playlist "Making of POSTAL 3" may contain NSFW content at around 1:05:03. The dev footage is linked below.
    Most of the early/beta gameplay footage can be found here: Postal III Alpha/Beta footage (YouTube Playlist)

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