GAME REVIEW: ‘Postal: Redux’

Postal Redux Gameplay Screenshot
Image from IGN

Postal: Redux is a recreation of sorts of the first Postal game, which was originally released by Running With Scissors in 1997. Although now, perhaps, the Postal series is known more for it’s brilliant sequel, which has been supported by it’s creators way passed the release date. Postal Redux is a lot more than a simple reskin, as the game was recreated from scratch, with Running With Scissors stating that the only thing reused is “the script and some sound effects, though we have also done our best to stay faithful to the original game’s style and art direction.” Postal: Redux was controversial upon release, and many more recent games such as Hatred pay obvious homage to the original Postal.

Compared to it’s sequel, Postal: Redux isn’t a linear story based game. The Campaign option feels like a liberal interpretation of the game mode, and it mainly consists of running through different areas and gunning down civilians and armed authorities. This is essentially the whole substance of Postal: Redux. If you think a top down shooter will be enjoyable to you, then keep on reading. If not, however, there’s nothing groundbreaking here that will convert those who aren’t loyal to the gameplay style. Once The Postal Dude leaves his house, he dives head first into the action. There’s not much of a tutorial, but players who are new to the game type will quickly pick up and it’s rarely confusing after ten minutes as how to properly eliminate your foes. There is a learning curve as you progress, but it works well, with challenges being slowly introduced so you’re not overwhelmed each level.

Postal Redux Carnival Mayhem
Image from Ps4 Blog

After completing Postal: Redux I couldn’t help but feel that I wanted to like it more than I actually do. Running With Scissors is a fun and edgy developer, but many of the problems that I had with Postal: Redux were problems that I couldn’t overlook and would start hindering on my gameplay. Often enemies would start firing at me outside of my field of vision, and this ultimately meant that running and gunning served in favour of the enemy, rather than being a brutal rain of bullets upon my foes like I hoped. The AI of the enemies also ranged from terrible to not-quite-terrible. Often foes would be casually standing while I fired at them from a distance, only occasionally moving out the way and trying to engage in combat with me.

The foes are varied among a handful of kind. Some throw projectiles like Molotov, some have assault rifles, some with missile launchers. It’s all variations of the weapons you have, and other than turrets you rarely have to change your strategy. When the game does vary, it does so with a smirk. Gunning down clowns at a carnival felt oddly therapeutic, as if I was getting back at Pennywise for all those childhood scares. Postal: Redux is more fun when you appear in a civilian environment and quickly dispense chaos. There’s something oddly satisfying about throwing Molotov cocktails onto an oncoming marching band, as the music stops and everybody tries to flee. The level designs are often one of the most refreshing thing about Postal: Redux. It can be boring with going through military bases, but when it’s a park, a town or a circus, for example, it feels refreshing to be fighting in such creative places that not many games cover, and helps refresh the backwards and remote America vibe that the game portrays.

The weapons are simple: Shotgun, missile launcher, handgun, machine gun, flamethrower, and a few variations of these. Ammo is rationed well, but the biggest issue I had when using most of these weapons is that there is no logic what parts of the environment bullets go through and what they don’t. This means that enemies often have the advantage as they will start shooting you through a wall. Depending on the angle you can return fire, but this runs the risk of a rocket getting caught on the object and injuring you. Enemies are often known to hide in the backgrounds of environment, and often, without explanation, will be obscured by trees, ledges of buildings, shadows and anything else that may not garner your attention while going postal. Rather than being blanketed by the explanation of hiding from a gunman, it often feels cheap. As if instead of difficulty we’re instead combating pettiness.

Postal Redux Bridge Scene
Image From Youtube

Another gripe is that due to the nature of the game, there is less room for humour. The only dialogue comes from the occasional one liner from The Postal Dude, and while they feel natural, they offer very little, and will rarely garner more than a smirk. It’s a world away from Postal 2, so fans who are expecting an earlier version of the game should look elsewhere, and instead it should be encouraged for fans of old fashioned shooters.

Fans of a challenge will love Rampage mode, in which there is a score multiplier and players are encouraged to go for brutal combos. The campaign is admittedly short, but fans of a challenge, as well as gratuitous violence, will love coming back to Rampage mode to set high scores and see what they can get. Postal: Redux is a game that is worth following, as Running With Scissors are known for supporting their game well after their release. The developers, who are active within the Steam Discussion Groups for their game, have spoken about the features that they will incorporate if sales are strong, which will exponentially increase the replay-ability and value of the game.

Ultimately, Postal: Redux is a conventional game that was ahead of it’s time, but has since been dulled down by the games it has influenced over the years. It certainly has it’s shining moments, but the restrictions and frustrations quickly start to hinder the experience. It’s never infuriating enough for us to go postal, but instead, just to pull out our ultimate game weapon, alt+f4. Running With Scissors deserve the support of many people, but unless you have nostalgia to an earlier era of gaming, you may want to join them with Postal 2. If you want a challenge that doesn’t always work in your favour, then pick it up. But if you’re working backwards in the Postal franchise from 2, then you might realise how much of a difference there are between the two games.

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