Maybe I should hate Postal 4: No Regerts. Maybe that’s the point. Developer Running With Scissors describes it as the sequel to the “worst game ever”, Postal 2, known for its vulgarity and rough edges. If the goal was to make an even worse one, then it certainly achieved that, but this gag doesn’t mean it’s ever fun to actually play. Even for the novelty of a guilty pleasure, like watching a really bad movie for a laugh, Postal 4 never fails to disappoint – if I could somehow forgive the cheesy writing, poor graphics, horrible gunplay, and constant bugs, it would still be incredible difficult to enjoy every game that crashes hard every hour or so. Whether you like the joke or not, you’re not offered anything here but pain.
Postal 4 bills itself as a satirical open-world shooter that aims to push the boundaries with a raunchy, over-the-top style and a stark South Park-esque theme. The main difference is that while South Park usually backs up his outrageous ideas with intelligent writing and some sort of coherent message or meaning behind the madness, Postal 4 almost never makes the landing. His sophomoric, chilling writing consists mostly of pointless sexual gags and literal toilet humor, and it all feels like it was spat out by a fourth-grader who’s just learned his tenth naughty word. There’s one part where you have to clear a sewer by hitting huge piles of feces with a shovel, and another where you visit a vagina-themed amusement park for no apparent reason. While it’s embarrassingly juvenile stuff, if the dialogue was at least well-written or clever, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. It is not. Instead, it has all the subtlety and nuance of an angry monkey throwing its crap.
If you consider Postal 4’s shoddy supply chain a “story” at all, it’s an absolutely abysmal one. You play as The Dude from Postal 2, a robe-wearing good-for-nothing looking for his stolen RV and trying to make a living doing a series of bizarre nonsequitur chores for the locals. Along the way you’ll meet a cast of wacky characters, such as a man who’s obsessed with bidets for some reason and a foul-mouthed gangster, and have a series of quests to complete for each of them before moving on to the next set. After seemingly not bothering to tell a coherent story for the first 14 hours out of 15, the ending bizarrely tries to throw a curveball at you and make you care about everything that happened , with a twist that fell flatter than my uncle thinks the earth is.
It’s a mess, and that’s before we even touch the parts that deal with sensitive political issues. Contrary to the generally excellent commentary in Grand Theft Auto 5, Postal 4 had me cringe for hours as it tackles serious issues with the finesse and grace of a fat fire. On one mission, I threw Mexicans over a border wall with a giant slingshot, and on another, I “transformed” some prison inmates by knocking them unconscious. As someone who knows virtually no bounds when it comes to comedy, I’m definitely not one to pick up my beads just because a game takes lightly sensitive issues for the sake of shock jokes – but Postal 4 does does offend me how painfully unfunny it is almost at every turn. The fact that it so wildly misses the mark while using such heavy subjects as a theme only makes the “comedy” that much harder to stomach.
To be fair, there are the tiniest of moments where I can see what Running With Scissors was getting at. One section in which I painted over gang graffiti and was attacked by a group of Karens who accused me of cultural appropriation surprised me and made me smile, while another forced me to cast my vote in a clearly rigged election came close to making something resembling a dot. Those moments got a giggle out of me, but they were so buried in jokes that a body shiver went through my body that they were hardly worth exhuming.
If you were hoping that maybe some insane, larger-than-life FPS combat could make up for the comedy shortcomings, I’ve got some terrible news: playing Postal 4 is a complete horror show by every measure. The open world areas are empty and lifeless, the shooting is clunky and unsatisfying, and technical issues and crashes are near-constant. It’s a true sample board of everything a video game can go wrong.
So, as we work our way down the ailing buffet, we’ll save our worst nightmares for dessert and instead start with the shaky fight as an appetizer. When it’s at its best, Gunplay relies on being completely over the top to make up for its lack of polish. For example, you could put a live cat on the end of your weapon to use as a silencer or dual-wielded rocket launcher like some sort of monster. That weirdness isn’t without merit, though it does occasionally stray into eye-rolling territory, like the fact that you can (and sometimes are forced to) pee on enemies instead of firing a gun.
But good times born of originality are almost always overshadowed by pesky fundamentals that just don’t work. Enemies are so dumb that they just stand around mindlessly, waiting to be killed or get stuck around while you spray them with imprecise weapons that mostly feel horrible when fired. And in case they kill you, dying will usually spawn you just a few feet away without reversing your progress. So there is no reason to think at all during the fight. That said, apart from the fact that I found dying and respawning for some reason also tended to cause severe crashes and other bugs that ruin the experience, but that was more annoying than motivating.
Most of this frustrating action takes place in the city of Edensin, a desert terrain where you commit numerous crimes, take on optional challenges, and drive mobility scooters through mostly empty areas. The main course of this miserable banquet is a sandbox that expects you to create plenty of fun of your own, but Postal 4’s open world tends to make that quite difficult, as there’s so little to do or explore. Even a GTA-style rampage has very few repercussions, as the cops patrol solely on foot and don’t do much to speed up their counterattacks if you cause a disturbance. I mostly drove through new areas as I made my way from one story mission to the next, since going off the beaten path rarely seemed rewarding. The only fun part about roaming Edensin is that your emote choices are pretty strong and often come with music cues, so at least I enjoyed twerking through the whole town.
A notable exception to the largely aimless city are the “Go Postal” challenges found throughout Edensin, which ask you to attack passers-by in a specific way with a timer. You might be asked to kill a group of people with a revolver or urinate on a certain number of bystanders before your time runs out to earn a bit of money that you can then use to buy guns, ammo, or other items buy what you need to advance your murderous desires. These challenges can be a fun way to kill a few minutes, but they’re not particularly rewarding, and certainly not unique enough to justify making every effort to find and complete them. After all, you can pee on people anytime, not just when a timer tells you to.
But the rancid mousse to end this meal, and by far the biggest problem with Postal 4, is how horribly the thing runs. During my 15 hour playthrough, I crashed to the desktop dozens of times, sometimes two or three times in under an hour. And even if it doesn’t crash, there’s a parade of other bugs that make your life harder almost constantly. I saw people wandering around and important objectives disappearing until I reloaded my save file. I’ve fallen into broken areas of the map with no way of escaping and similarly saw bosses end up in areas they shouldn’t be and fall out until I finish the encounter. Postal 4 is so unstable that every few minutes I would panic and live in fear of what might go horribly wrong next – which it did.
Even on the rare occasions when there weren’t any errors or crashes, performance issues still caused it to run absolutely horribly. My PC has a GeForce RTX 2080ti GPU alongside a Ryzen 9 CPU, but it still couldn’t save this unoptimized disaster from itself. Everything looks awful (characters especially), moving from area to area results in unusually long loading and auto-save times that freeze you in place, and the frame-rate jumps wildly, especially when there’s a lot happening on screen . You name it, Postal 4 is probably having trouble with it.
https://www.ign.com/articles/postal-4-no-regerts-review Post 4: No Regerts review