Postal: Classic and Uncut
What with the whole hullabaloo about Hatred, I got the urge to g̶o̶ play Postal, the game that was mostly compared to it.
Postal is an isometric shooter, in which you control the Postal dude who has just received an eviction notice and has decided to go on a rampage because of that. Each of the game's 20 fast and short stages takes you to a different locale and offer a good amount of challenge (which can be further adjusted by the multiple difficulty settings) but in the end, your objective remains the same in each one; kill X% of hostiles. To accomplish this endeavour, you'll have to rely on the typical shooter hallmarks™. Machineguns, shotguns, grenades, rocket launchers and of course, the flamethrower, because what kind of villain would you be without one? There are also health packs and body armour to help you withstand the attacks of the hostiles and make no mistake, they are not merely barking, but they'll bite you well.
One of my first impressions for a game where you allegedly go in a rampage against unarmed people, is that there seems to be an overwhelmingly higher amount of armed people (with only a few levels providing an exception). They'll hunt you down with everything; pistols, machineguns, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, molotov cocktails. Especially those guys with the rocket launchers can be very annoying, as being hit by them knocks you down and if you weren't far enough from them, their next rocket will hit you before you get a chance to recover and knock you down yet again, sticking you into a loop till your health runs out. The game's isometric view can make them even bigger assholes by hiding in places that are not viewable from the game's perspective and the game's transparency feature only works when your character is near a structure/object that would normally hide his model. Speaking of models, it's a very strange choice to be featuring a game with 2D backgrounds, but 3D models for the characters. While the backgrounds look good and varied enough, the models themselves look really poor. I'd prefer it if everything was in 2D.
Another of my first impressions of the game was that the controls weren't really the best. It turns out that they really weren't. Unlike other isometric/top-down action shooters like Alien/Zombie Shooter, where you use the movement keys to move up, down, left, right and the mouse to aim around the stages, in Postal they did it a bit like a FPS. Specifically, regardless of your orientation, pressing up or down, will always move your character forward/backwards, pressing left/right will make your character turn around left/right, while holding alt and pressing left/right, will make your character strafe left/right. Again, regardless of orientation, which can make strafing pretty confusing if your character is not looking upwards. There is no real mouse-aim in Postal, as all the mouse does is just turn around your character (like the left/right movement keys). There is a pointer to signify if you are aiming at someone, but that only appears when you have lined yourself up with the target in question, making aiming more of a pain in the ass than it needs to be.
In the end, Postal was an entertaining, fast and short isometric shooter that is let down by frustrating controls and isometric transparency issues. They aren't enough to break it, but they can certainly scare away those who have gotten used to other isometric shooters.
P.S.: I know that it's a more serious game than its sequel (those level transition screens), but even then, I couldn't help but laugh at one of the quotes that you hear when you shoot unarmed civilians: "Stop shooting me you sick bastard! I'm already dead!" List updated