Postal 4: No Regerts has been a frustrating game to review given the dreadful performance issues. Developer Running with Scissors have attempted to return the series to some semblance of past glory for its niche fanbase since the disastrous Postal 3. It’s the self-proclaimed “long-awaited true sequel to what’s been fondly dubbed as “The Worst Game Ever”, POSTAL 2!” but never hits the point of being entertainingly bad.
Postal 4 will regretfully not harken a new age for the Postal series and fans will be better off staying with Postal 2. Underneath the performance problems there’s not a whole lot of enjoyment to be had. The gameplay is pretty basic and the jokes are too lame to make up for it. The game is just plain old bad. Not so bad it’s good like The Room, just straight up bad.
Disclaimer: Postal 4: No Regerts is intentionally vulgar and crass, because of this the following review will contain curse words and some offensive imagery/topics.
Postal 4: No Regerts is available on Steam for £30.99 or $39.99
Story – Regertfully Bad Writing
Postal 4 has a loose story, mostly being a vehicle to the weird characters and groups of the town, but for review this is what the plot is. The game follows the events of Postal 2: Paradise Lost, with the Postal Dude and his dog, Champ, leaving the nuked town Paradise for the town of Edensin. Shortly before arrival your trailer is been stolen and so you head to town to make money and find your missing home. From there you are given errands by a different wacky character at the start of each day of the week, from the mayor, to an Italian mob boss, to a Bane look-a-like, all of whom get you to do their, quite literal, dirty work.
The errands are your missions, but really they just feel like chores. Chores like cleaning piles of shit with a shovel, cleaning piles of shit with a hose or changing lightbulbs. Some more bizarre jobs have you slingshotting Americans over the border wall and hallucinating that you’re a cat. There’s no real sense of a progressing story, just a day of either boring chores or unengaging shooting before going to bed and doing it again.
The world doesn’t react to what happens in the story. One mission ended with part of a dam bursting only for it to be intact regardless. It plays like a series of time filling errands that serve as vehicles to dick, vagina and shit jokes. Things come together somewhat in the end as you’ve worked your way up to meet the top dog of the town, but it never feels like there’s a satisfying story going on.
The Humour – More Obnoxious than Obscene
The Postal series is known for being vulgar and crass with it’s humour. It takes pride in being irreverent and engaging in over the top obscenity. The game fails to deliver anything other than shock value grossness, but even then it’s bland.
Maybe I’m just not the target audience, but for review I think Postal 4 won’t entertain those into the series edgy humour. The humour feels more juvenile, maybe achieving an exhale out of the nose at best. Poop and genitals are treated as funny just by virtue of being there. “Grab em by the pussy…cat” is as close as it gets to satirical, when on a mission to catch cats. Vulgar and edgy humour can be great. South Park, The Boys, Grand Theft Auto have all thrived in this area. Good writing can be crass but Postal 4 never really engages with anything.
There are numerous penises and vaginas around the map, including collectables. But that comes across as 95% of the games humour. One mission has you going to vote wherein you pass by a political debate. The jokes are pretty tame and fall flat. The democrat says things such as “sometimes, I dream about cheese”. The Republican gives his support to illegal aliens, including their intergalactic brethren which is odd.
For a game that wants to be considered satirical it shies away from doing anything of note. I think even the niche audience into gross out humour and deliberate attempts to be offensive will be disappointed. Even when it tries to be offensive it’s just dated and dull. You can pee on yourself when playing the game, and that’s kind of how it feels to play. Maybe the point is the absurdity, but absurdity is more entertaining when there’s a point.
Gameplay – A Crisis of Creativity
The gameplay is hampered by the performance issues. Whilst these are frustrating these issues are fixable. Bare this in mind when reading the gameplay section, as it is possible it will be improved in the future. Running with Scissors have tweeted that “a lot more content, improvements and optimization coming in upcoming patches”. So let’s briefly cover what’s wrong before we look at the gameplay underneath.
Performances Issues – How was this deemed ready to release?
Here’s a quick rundown of the issues I had. The frame rate consistently drops below 20 FPS, often going below 10 FPS. Character and terrain models often do not fully render. Interactable objects will simply not let you use them. Some enemies are randomly invincible (or the gun damage doesn’t work) for a while.
Every hour to an hour and a half the game would crash. However most annoying of all is the load times which are abundant and long. The open world map is unnecessarily large. It’s quite sparse but there are lots of drab rock faces to stretch it out. This comes with the problem of a load screen as you go from area to area. Before moving the game between HDD and SDD I was looking at 20-30 minute waits as the game loaded, after moving it the wait times were between 10 – 15 minutes. Each mission requires you to go through at least 2 of these screens. It really makes the game drag as you have to wait such long times between missions. It’s a shame it’s in this state at launch but it’s hardly the first game to have a problematic start.
So how does the gameplay fare? At best it’s mediocre, at worst it gets pretty boring. The game is an open world shooter, which encourages you to interact with the world in messed up ways. In reality this plays like a janky version of a GTA rampage. The AI doesn’t react competently to threat. This makes the game feel like a shooting gallery, with enemies just standing still or running straight at you. There doesn’t seem to be many creative ways to cause havoc. The weapons are just standard guns with no strange and twisted designs to have fun with. There are consumables that have effects such as slowing time but nothing particularly fun.
The gunplay just never really feels satisfying. It’s somewhat entertaining to blast NPCs away with a shotgun, but most guns feel underpowered and the gore is underwhelming. The combat only got challenging because the vending machines were broken so I had little ammo, armour or health items. There may be some guilty pleasure to be had once the game is fixed. However the variety of what you can do feels limited. The gameplay for most levels is run around a level with no direction (other than a character yelling the same few lines of dialogue on repeat), find an interactable object, hold E, then shoot the enemies that spawn right next to you. Rinse and repeat.
There are a couple of levels that stand out. There’s a level set in a VR world with some passable puzzles and a decent Pac-man enemy that chases you. The voting level also has some amusing gimmicks on the voting machine as it forces you to vote republican. The ending portion where the town descends into chaos actually plays well with the gameplay style.
Traversing the world on a mobility scooter is a pain as well. There are numerous cars dotted around the map that are unusable, and the scooter is painfully slow. But maybe that’s the point. Ultimately, Postal 4 doesn’t do anything you can’t get from a better game like GTA.
Graphics and Audio – Decent Artists but Bad Direction
Given the performance issues, I had to play on the lowest settings just to keep the game playable. The guns and cutscenes are decent. There’s some nice cell shading and there’s a sense they are going for a Rustic Americana comic style not too dissimilar from Borderlands. For the sake of review, it’s worth noting that higher quality screenshots of Postal 4 do seem to show the game being slightly more pleasant to look at.
However the world itself is for the most part, bland and dull. The buildings don’t do much to draw the eye and most the map is just brown cliffs and rocky outcrops. There may be some talented artists on the team but I think they got bored after being asked to draw their thousandth pile of poop.
The audio as well is pretty average. It’s hard to understand some characters through the over the top accents and there are no developed characters to deliver any kind of compelling dialogue. They managed to secure Jon St. John (Duke Nukem) and the original voice actors for the Postal Dude but there’s not much for them to deliver other than lame jokes.
The soundtrack only once got a chuckle out of me when they did the bad recorder version of Rains of Castamere. The game could really use a soundtrack or music like Saints Row where it adds charm. There is a radio on the phone that can be used, but this was amongst the many features that just didn’t work. It’s okay but there’s nothing memorable about it.
Postal 4: No Regerts was played on Steam with a key provided by Running With Scissors for this review.