An interesting thing happened when I loaded my way into my first online match of Post Scriptum; I heard my teammates communicating to each other in the kind of direct and efficient way you’d hear in a Ubisoft gameplay trailer at E3, wherein your first reaction is something along the lines of “yeah right, nobody actually talks like that online”… They certainly do. Ripe chatter about left and right flanks and brainstorming strategies – I’d never heard such coordination in an online game. The overwhelming urgency and strategy that Post Scriptum’s realism demands is both its greatest asset and biggest shortcoming, catering to robust WWII simulation fans but not to gamers as a whole.
Post Scriptum’s Ambitious Multiplayer Lacks Mass Appeal
I could only find around 200 players online, and it’s plain to see why. Maps are dizzyingly large but empty and stale. Game modes are simple to grasp but not exceptional. The game itself looks passable, with textures and player models being particularly pedestrian. The UI is clean and simple but lacks basic information for newcomers and casual players. It’s all enough to leave the average gamer dissuaded.
In its quest to portray war as unforgiving and robust, the game does reach occasional moments of true greatness. In particular, the sound design of Post Scriptum is absolutely phenomenal. On the battlefield you’ll hear a perpetual bombardment of bullets, artillery, planes and tanks buzzing and growling – and it all sounds deafeningly intense. I’ve heard the iconic ‘ping!’ of a reloading M1 Garand in many a game, but in Post Scriptum it sounds especially crisp and lively. The unrelenting buzzsaw noise of an MG42 in this game is perhaps the best that the medium has ever seen. Even the starter rifles like the K98k or the Lee Enfield Mk1 sound like the killing machines that they are. Every weapon sounds impressively forceful, making ground combat feel sharp, visceral and a blast to play.
The Balancing of Gameplay and Teams in Post Scriptum
You may have to get used to the sound of those basic rifles since Post Scriptum delegates roles on a first-come, first-served basis. Not everybody can be a tank driver or a sniper, but everybody certainly wants to be. The balance that this creates means that communication is once again required to offset each role’s weaknesses. Unlike in Battlefield V or Call of Duty: World at War, you can’t run-and-gun your way around the map with a 10kg machine-gun; it’s up to your squad mates to be mobile while you stay grounded and lay down suppressive fire.
It’s just one of the many concessions the game makes in trading versatility and a fast pace for realism. On one hand, it made me feel like whatever minor role I held was equally important to even the squad commander, who could relay vital information to the whole team and call-in airstrikes. But the inability to play the way that I prefer, instead being pigeonholed into whatever the game had left over for me, felt a bit phony. If I buy a game, I should be able to take up the role that I wish. Doing otherwise simply isn’t fun.
The most baffling design choice however is that your stamina count and your health count are one and the same. Walking movement is traditionally sluggish and weighty, but if you want to live long enough to reach the action in Post Scriptum, you can’t sprint from base to wherever that may be. I didn’t know this going into my first match; my first death was from exhaustion, still many miles away from the battlefield. I had to spawn again and, this time, walk in order to conserve my vitality. It’s one thing to prevent your soldier from running endlessly for the sake of realism; fair enough. It’s another thing entirely to actively punish players for trying to merely reach combat by killing them. When one bullet can abruptly end your life anyway, making your trek superfluous, what’s the point in trying over and over?
Games that decide they want to be more of an authentic product than a rewarding experience don’t often find themselves achieving critical acclaim nor mass appeal, and Post Scriptum is no exception. I was reminded of playing Kingdom Come: Deliverance during my time here, a game so entrenched in realistic mundanity that I left myself puzzled as to why I wasn’t just playing Skyrim, or any other game that treated me like somebody who craved fun, instead. There is a lot to like in Post Scriptum, but there’s certainly even more that will alienate traditional FPS players. I have zero doubt that the 200 people playing the game right now have found riches amongst the clutter.
By Nick Whiting
Post Scriptum boasts some seriously impressive foundations for sophisticated multiplayer fun, with its terrific gunplay and immersive sound design. But is ultimately let down by its unremarkable modes, maps, and a dedication to realism that makes playing a chore.
This game was reviewed using a download code provided by Offworld Industries. The Beta Network uses affiliate partnerships, however, this does not influence reviews or any other content published. The Beta Network may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links that are on the website.