Postal 4 No Regerts PS4 Review. Running With Scissors‘ infamous first-person nonsense heads to consoles and aims to be as abrasive as ever. Find out if it rubbed us the wrong way in PlayStation Universe’s Postal 4: No Regerts review for PS4.
Postal 4 No Regerts Review (PS4): Shock and Awe Doesn’t Deliver in Thoroughly Underwhelming Shooter
I’m fascinated by media that goes out of its way to poke and prod you into a reaction. It’s a sub-genre unto itself. Like any sub-genre, the weight of bad representation and poor understanding skews the wider perception of its qualities. To most, these experiences are ‘bad’ because they don’t feed into the safe, warm tubes of conformity. Some at least are lucky and get reappraised years later, which is why I’m always striving to be open to divisive or downright despised media.
Of course, sometimes stuff is just bad. Subjective of course (as are all reviews), but when you can unfurl a comedically long list of genuine reasons to dislike something, it’s not doing it many favours.
Oh hello there Postal 4: No Regerts! I didn’t see you come in there. Please, make yourself comfortable. We were just talking about you!
Developer Running With Scissors makes no secret of its desire to live up to Postal 2’s wretched infamy with Postal 4. I genuinely appreciate the honesty. The aim is absolutely to raise heckles, shock, be a ‘bad’ game, and very little more. So Postal 4 is every bit the sequel to Postal 2 you’d imagine…on the surface.
Postal 4 is an open-world first-person shooter that sees Postal Dude return to spread less-than-merry chaos through the town of Edensin. Having previously trashed his home of Paradise, Postal Dude and his dog Champ seek out a new abode. Edensin is where they land. What follows are rivers of urine, vomit, blood, mean-spirited humor, and expletive-ridden tirades that would make Malcolm Tucker call for decorum. The essential ingredients for Postal basically!
The Story is in the Post
It’d be kind to call the story beyond that ‘loose,’ and I’m trying to be kind here. Postal Dude’s objectives are disconnected instructions for banal tasks gone wrong. If you could credit Postal 2 with anything, it was that it allowed for a level of freedom and restraint regarding its sicker side. You could actually build anticipation for it with mundanity. In Postal 4, a game with supposed freedom brought on by a sandbox open world, the middle man is cut out and the emphasis is always on being a sick little scamp. That’d be fine if that worked. Say what you will about the Goat Simulator games, but they make random nonsensical chaos sticks because they largely involve the player’s input.
Postal 4 feels less ‘free’ than its predecessor because it ferries you down pathways that have only one outcome; carnage. The setups are pretty much all lowbrow attempts at risque humor. That’s understandable in the context of what Postal is as a series. Less so when there’s no real structure to the delivery of Postal 4’s ‘jokes’. It’s not even like it’s ‘all punchlines’. Instead, it’s like a checklist of stale memes and bad taste takes from 2014 masquerading as a personality.
Running With Scissors claims satire with Postal 4, and that’s true in a sense. In completely missing the point of satire, Postal 4 becomes a satire of itself. I’d credit the developer with this meta-satire push, but it’s hard to sift through the grubby bits and stale crumbs that make up the game and come to the conclusion that it was in any way a deliberate choice.
A Sinner Shamed by Saints
Put it this way. Saints Row the Third came out nearly 12 years ago. It managed to provide a far better balance of questionable taste and chaotic fun than this. Budgets may not be comparable, but if there have been crude, lewd games set in sandbox worlds out for that long, that’s the bar that should be at least met by a modern-day Postal sequel, regardless of its intent to be ‘terrible.’
That’s not to say Postal 4 can’t amuse. The scattershot approach to humor means there’s ‘something for everyone’ in a way. I liked the line deliveries from the various Postal Dude voiceovers (Zack Ward’s especially). The instances where you’re not being dragged along for the boring repetitive ride are better representations of what joy there was in Postal’s humor.
But that feels so at odds with the original freeform attitude of Postal 2 (I’m comparing it to this game rather than Postal 3 because that game is an irrelevance). I felt a sort of pity anytime one of the ‘classic’ jokes cropped up in new nonsensical form here. Sure, the cat on the end of a gun gag can still raise a laugh, but those cats have got more legs than the joke does.
It doesn’t help that Postal 4, for all its risque, blunt humor, and absurdity, just isn’t that fun to play. Despite being the ‘superior’ version of the PC game, it’s still an absolute mess of technical issues and poor design.
Try Hard With a Vengeance
Even if every bug was squashed (which would genuinely feel a bit odd given what Running With Scissors is going for), the way Postal is designed to play would still require a massive overhaul in order to be entertaining on a consistent basis. And it’s tricky to see how you do that without fundamentally messing with the central ‘message’ of the game.
Running With Scissors appears to have caught itself in a trap of its own making. The desire to make a true Postal 2 sequel after the debacle of Postal 3 is an admirable mission. I fully respect that desire. Yet something was lost along the way, and that was structure. Even a game like Postal requires structure to function. Postal 4 just staggers about aimlessly with its trousers around its ankles, pointing at old memes on its phone and shouting insistently that you should be offended.
Postal 4: No Regerts is due out on March 21, 2023 for PS4 and PS5.
Review code kindly provided by publisher.