Maybe I should despise Postal 4 No Regerts. Maybe that’s the idea after all. It’s a sequel to “the worst game ever,” Postal 2, which is known for its obscenity and rough edges, according to developer Running With Scissors. If the intention was to develop one that was even worse, it was certainly accomplished, but that joke does not imply that it is ever enjoyable to play.
Even if I could accept the corny script, horrible visuals, awful gunplay, and numerous problems, any game that hard crashes every hour or so would be exceedingly impossible to enjoy. Whether you’re in on the joke or not, there’s only misery to be had here.
Postal 4 is a satirical open-world shooter that aims to push the boundaries with a bawdy, over-the-top design and a vulgar subject matter akin to South Park. The primary difference is that South Park frequently backs up its absurd ideas with clever writing and some sort of meaningful message or purpose, whereas Postal 4 virtually never does.
Its cringe-inducing language is largely made up of meaningless sexual puns and literal toilet humour, and it all feels like it was written by a fourth-grader who had just learned their tenth dirty word.
You have to unblock a sewer by hitting big heaps of poo with a shovel in one area, and you have to visit a vagina-themed amusement park for no apparent reason in another. To be honest, it’s painfully infantile material, but if the conversation was at least well-written or smart along the way, I wouldn’t mind. It isn’t the case. Instead, it has all the nuance and subtlety of an enraged ape hurling its dung.
Postal 4 No Regerts Gameplay Screenshots
If Postal 4’s messy chain of errands can be called a “narrative,” it’s a particularly depressing one. You play as The Dude from Postal 2, a ne’er-do-well in a bathrobe who looks for his stolen mobile home while attempting to make a living by performing a series of odd nonsequitur jobs for the townspeople. You’ll encounter a cast of bizarre individuals along the road, like a guy fascinated with bidets and a foul-mouthed gangster, and must complete a series of tasks for each of them before moving on to the next group.
After a narrative twist that fell flatter than my uncle thinks the Earth is, the finale weirdly tries to throw you a curveball and make you care about anything that’s occurred with a plot twist that fell flatter than my uncle thinks the Earth is.
It’s a shambles, and that’s before we get to the bits about delicate political issues. Unlike Grand Theft Auto 5, where the commentary is often superb, Postal 4 had me groaning for hours as it tackles serious topics with the elegance and grace of a grease fire. One task required me to use a gigantic slingshot to fling Mexicans over a border wall, while another required me to “reform” some prison prisoners by beating them senseless.
As someone who has virtually no boundaries when it comes to comedy, I’m not one to clutch my pearls simply because a game makes light of controversial topics for the sake of shock humour. However, Postal 4 irritates me by being extremely hilarious practically every step of the way. The fact that it so grossly misses the target while dealing with such serious subjects just adds to the “comedy’s” difficulty.
Playing Postal 4 is a total nightmare in every way.
To be honest, there are a few brief instances where I can see what Running With Scissors was aiming for. One section, in which I was forced to vote in a clearly rigged election after painting over a gang’s graffiti and was attacked by a group of Karens who accused me of cultural appropriation, caught me off guard and made me smile.
While another, in which I was forced to vote in a clearly rigged election, came close to making a point. These moments made me laugh, but they were buried behind jokes that made me cringe all throughout my body, so it wasn’t worth exhuming them.
If you were thinking that some crazy, larger-than-life FPS fighting would make up for the lack of humour, I’m sorry to inform you that Postal 4 is a complete disaster on every level. The open-world sections are lifeless and desolate, the gunplay is clumsy and unpleasant, and technical glitches and crashes are frequent. It’s a true sample platter of everything that can go wrong in a video game.
So, instead of starting with the worst dreams, let’s start with the weird combat as an appetiser as we make our way down the misery buffet. Gunplay relies on being utterly over-the-top to compensate for its lack of polish when it’s at its best. For example, you might put a live cat on the end of your rifle to act as a silencer, or you could dual-wield rocket launchers like a monster.
Even though it occasionally veers into eye-rolling territory, such as the notion that you may (and are sometimes driven to) urinate on foes instead of shooting a weapon, the wackiness has some appeal.
However, wonderful times born by creativity are nearly always stifled by sloppy basics that fail to provide. Enemies are so stupid that they merely stand about aimlessly waiting to be destroyed or caught in the environment while you shower them with inaccurate weapons that hurt to shoot.
And even if they do kill you, death generally merely respawns you a few feet away, ruining none of your efforts, so there’s no need to strategize during combat. That is, unless I discovered it dying and resurrecting, for some reason, causes major crashes and other experience-ruining issues, but that was more frustrating than inspiring.
The majority of the game takes place in the desert metropolis of Edensin, where you’ll commit multiple felonies, complete optional missions, and ride mobility scooters around relatively vacant places. The main entrée of this depressing meal is a sandbox that expects you to manufacture a lot of your own entertainment.
Yet Postal 4’s open environment makes this impossible owing to the lack of things to do or uncover. Even going on a GTA-style rampage has few repercussions because the cops patrol exclusively on foot and don’t do much to escalate their counter-attacks when you cause a commotion.
Countless times, I found myself crashing to the desktop.
The “Go Postal” tasks, which can be found around Edensin and require you to assault people in a specified manner on a timeframe, are a remarkable exception to the mainly aimless metropolis.
Before your time runs out, you could be urged to kill a bunch of people with a revolver or urinate on a particular number of bystanders, earning money that can be used to buy weapons, ammo, and other goods to fulfil your homicidal aspirations.
These tasks are a fun way to pass the time, but they aren’t extremely rewarding, and they aren’t particularly distinctive enough to merit going out of your way to locate and finish them. After all, you can pee on them whenever you want, not just when the timer goes off.
But the rotten mousse at the conclusion of the meal, and by far the most serious problem with Postal 4, is how badly it runs. During my 15-hour game, I crashed to the desktop dozens of times, often twice or three times in less than an hour. Even when it’s not crashing, there’s a never-ending parade of additional bugs that make your life more difficult.
Until I updated my save file, I witnessed individuals phase across the environment and critical objectives vanish. I was stuck in damaged portions of the map with no way out, and bosses were stuck in places they weren’t intended to be, glitching out until I completed the fight.
Because Postal 4 is so unreliable, I found myself panic-saving every few minutes, terrified of what may go horribly wrong next – which it always did. Even when there were no problems or crashes, performance difficulties caused it to run poorly. My PC has a GeForce RTX 2080ti GPU and a Ryzen 9 CPU, yet it couldn’t save itself from this unoptimized disaster.
Everything looks terrible (particularly the characters), travelling from area to area takes an unreasonably long time to load and autosave, freezing you in place, and the frame rate fluctuates drastically, especially when there’s a lot going on. You name it, and Postal 4 is certain to struggle with it.
Postal 4: No Regrets clearly aspires to be a wonderfully edgy so-bad-it’s-good sequel to its notorious predecessors, but it fails miserably. Even for those looking for some campy shock humour, the comedy is sloppy and humiliating, the fighting is messy and terribly unsatisfactory, and it runs so poorly on high-end hardware that it can barely be appreciated at all.
Edensin’s open environment also disappoints as a destructive playground due to its lifeless, uninspired places that make even self-driven devastation uninteresting.
When you layer all of that on top of a horrifying pyramid of bugs, glitches, and regular full-on crashes, you’ve got one of the most totally unenjoyable blunders ever made. You should not play this game, and I regret having done so.
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- April 23, 2022