Maybe I’m supposed to hate Postal 4: No Regerts. Maybe that’s the goal. Developer Running With Scissors describes it as a sequel to the “worst game ever,” Postal 2, which is renowned for its vulgarity and rough edges. If the goal was to make one even worse, that’s certainly been achieved, but that gag doesn’t mean it’s always fun to play. Even for the novelty of a guilty pleasure, like watching a really bad movie for a laugh, Postal 4 never disappoints – if I could somehow forgive the cheesy writing, poor graphics, game horrible shooting and constant bugs, it would still be incredibly hard to enjoy any game that crashes hard every hour or so. Whether you’re into the joke or not, there’s nothing to offer here except pain.
Postal 4 bills itself as a satirical open-world shooter that wants to push the envelope with a raunchy, over-the-top style and crude subject matter in the vein of South Park. The main difference is that South Park usually backs up its outrageous ideas with clever writing and some sort of coherent message or meaning behind the madness, while Postal 4 almost never sticks on the landing. His cringe-worthy sophomore writing is mostly pointless sex gags and literal toilet humor, and it all looks like it was spewed out by a fourth-grader who just learned his tenth bad word. There’s a part where you have to unclog 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. Sure, it’s embarrassingly juvenile stuff, but if the dialogue was at least well-written or smart along the way, I wouldn’t mind. This is not the case. Instead, it has all the subtlety and nuance of an enraged monkey throwing up its feces.
If you even consider Postal 4’s botched shopping chain to be a “story”, it’s an absolutely miserable story. You play as The Dude from Postal 2, a bathrobe-clad scoundrel as he searches for his stolen mobile home and tries to make a living doing a series of bizarre, non-sequential chores for the townspeople. Along the way, you encounter a cast of unbalanced characters like a man obsessed with bidets for some reason and a rude gangster and must complete a chain of quests for each of them before moving on to the next set. After seeming not to care about telling a cohesive story for the first 14 of its 15 hours, the ending weirdly tries to throw you a curve ball and make you care about everything that happened with a twist of the plot that fell flatter than my uncle thinks the Earth is.
It’s a mess, and it’s before we even touch the parties that are looking at sensitive political topics. Unlike the generally excellent commentary found in Grand Theft Auto 5, Postal 4 left me cringing for hours as it tackles big problems with the finesse and grace of grease fire. One mission had me throwing Mexicans over a border wall via a giant slingshot and another had me “reform” some inmates by beating them for no reason. As someone with next to no limits when it comes to comedy, I’m certainly not one to grab my pearls just because a game sheds light on hot-button issues for shocking jokes – but Postal 4 Is offend me by how painfully unfunny it is almost every step of the way. The fact that he misses the mark so much while using such heavy subject matter makes the “comedy” much harder to bear.
In all honesty, there are the tiniest slices of moments where I can see what Running With Scissors wanted to do. One section where I painted over gang 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 that forced to vote in a clearly rigged election came close to doing something resembling a dot. Those moments made me laugh, but they’re so buried in jokes that made my whole system cringe that it wasn’t worth digging them up.
If you were hoping that maybe wacky, larger-than-life FPS combat could make up for the shortcomings of comedy, I’ve got terrible news: by any measure, playing Postal 4 is a complete horror show. Open-world areas are empty and lifeless, the gunplay is clunky and unsatisfying, and technical glitches and crashes are nearly constant. It’s a veritable sample board of everything a video game could go wrong with.
So, going down the buffet of suffering, let’s save the worst nightmares for dessert and start with the zany fight as an appetizer instead. When at its best, the shooter relies on being completely over the top to make up for its lack of polish. For example, you can stick a live cat on the end of your gun to use as a silencer or dual-weapon rocket launcher as some sort of monster. This madness isn’t without merit, though it sometimes strays into eye-rolling territory, like the fact that you can (and sometimes have to) pee on enemies instead of shooting a gun. .
But the good times born out of originality are almost always bogged down by janky fundamentals that just don’t hold up. Enemies are so dumb that they mindlessly wait to be killed or get stuck in the environment while you spray them with imprecise weapons that mostly feel terrible to fire. And in case they kill you, death will usually reappear at you a few yards away without canceling your progress, so there’s no reason to think at all during combat. That is, except for the fact that I found that dying and respawning also tends to cause serious crashes and other experience-ruining bugs for some reason, but that was more infuriating than motivating.
Most of this frustrating action takes place in the city of Edensin, a desert area where you’ll commit numerous crimes, complete optional challenges, and ride mobility scooters through mostly empty spaces. The main course of this miserable banquet is a sandbox that expects you to create a lot of fun, but the open world of Postal 4 tends to make that quite difficult as there is so little to do or discover. . Even going on a GTA-style rampage has very little consequence since the cops patrol exclusively on foot and do little to step up their counterattacks when you cause a disturbance. I ended up going through mostly new areas on my way from one story mission to another because going off the beaten path rarely seemed to reward me. The only remotely fun part of Edensin’s roaming is that your selection of emotes is quite loud and often accompanied by music cues, so at least I had fun twerking all over town.
A notable exception to the largely aimless town are the “Go Postal” challenges, which can be found throughout Edensin and ask you to assault passers-by in a specific way on a timer. You might be told to kill a group of people with a gun or urinate on a number of passers-by before your time runs out, earning some money which can then be used to buy weapons, ammo or weapons. other items needed to further your murderous desires. These challenges can be a fun way to kill a few minutes, but aren’t particularly rewarding, and certainly aren’t unique enough to justify going out of your way to find and complete them. After all, you can pee on people anytime, not just when a timer tells you to.
But rancid mousse to finish this meal, and the biggest problem with Postal 4 by far is how terribly the thing works. I found myself crashing into the desktop dozens of times in my 15 hours of gameplay, sometimes two or three times in less than an hour. And even when it’s not crashing, there’s a parade of other bugs that almost constantly make your life more difficult. I saw people moving through the environment and important objectives disappearing until I reloaded my save file. I fell into broken areas of the map with no way of escaping, and similarly saw bosses end up in areas they weren’t supposed to be, sliding until I end the meeting. Postal 4 is so unstable that I found myself panicking every couple of minutes, living in fear of what might go wrong next – which it then did, without fail.
Even during the rare times when no bugs or crashes occurred, performance issues still meant it performed absolutely terrible. My PC has a GeForce RTX 2080ti GPU alongside a Ryzen 9 processor, but it still couldn’t save this unoptimized disaster on its own. Everything looks awful (especially the characters), moving from area to area results in abnormally long load and autosave times that leave you frozen in place, and the frame rate jumps high down, especially when a lot is happening on the screen. You name it, Postal 4 probably has a hard time doing it.