Having never played the original Postal I went on to try the REDUX version without knowing exactly what to expect or how I should feel about a remaster of a game that’s almost two decades old. As it happens, I’m happy to say that for the most part I enjoyed my time with Postal REDUX, a title that brings us a back to a simpler age when video games were designed to be fun above all else and didn’t take themselves too seriously. That’s not the case with all the games of that time, mind you, but it definitely applies to most shooters from the 90s, which were all about senseless carnage and making you feel like a total badass. But while id Software went to great lengths to bring DOOM into the modern era, developer Running With Scissors took the alternate route by making sure that Postal REDUX is as similar as possible to the original while still improving upon the formula in order to make it more appealing to current audiences. Whether or not that’s a good thing is up to you to decide, but personally, I think the developers succeeded in their endeavor.
Postal REDUX is an isometric shooter that seems deceptively simple at first glance as the main objective of slaughtering everything in sight is pretty straightforward and there are no complicated mechanics to speak off. Each area of the game contains a certain number of enemies and your goal is to kill most of them in order to proceed to the next level, of which there are a total of 17. Having said that, Postal REDUX has a tendency of getting pretty difficult pretty fast due to the fact that health is usually in limited supply and there are various hazards that can lead to your untimely demise. It might be shameful to admit but I found myself replaying one of the early levels several times before I was able to kill everyone without taking fatal damage. And yet, the game also seems to lack consistency because instead of throwing an even more challenging level at me, the next area was fairly easy and I was able to breeze through it with very little trouble in spite of the fact that there were more enemies to kill.
The levels themselves are what you’d expect from an isometric shooter conceived back in the 90s, though Postal REDUX does feature a new area called The Carnival. While there is a bit of variety here and there when it comes to level design, it is ultimately of little consequence in the grand scheme of things as there are few opportunities to use the environment to your advantage aside from occasionally luring enemies into an explosive barrel and blowing them up.
Luckily, there’s enough weapon variety to make you forget that you are basically doing the same thing over and over again every level, which allows you to focus on what really matters here – getting you adrenaline fix by killing everything that moves. Well, there’s no actual need to kill absolutely everyone, especially since there are innocent civilians just running for their lives, but I mean, it’s pretty hard to stop once you get going and the announcer keeps encouraging your epic kill streak. In addition, people who like to go out of their way and explore every nook and cranny will be rewarded for their perseverance because there are plenty of secret areas to find in Postal REDUX. Although these areas are mostly optional, it’s always nice when you come across one because they usually include much-needed health packs, ammo, and even weapons.
Speaking of weapons, you have seven of them plus a number of explosives to play around with. There aren’t a whole lot of changes to the weapons since the original, however, Postal REDUX does introduce a very awesome new revolver. Although firing rockets and throwing grenades is always fun, I found the revolver to be the most satisfying to shoot of all the weapons thanks to its high damage output that allows you to kill most enemies with just one shot. That said, the other weapons are also fun in their own way and the fact that you’re always scrambling for ammo means that you will eventually have to learn to use everything in your arsenal to progress further as the default submachine gun can only get you so far.
Levels and weapons aside, we also have to talk a bit about the elephant in the room, which comes in the form of the graphics. This is probably going to be a deciding factor for most people so it’s worth pointing out that Postal REDUX features some pretty archaic visuals that are very much reminiscent of late 90s isometric shooters. In all fairness, the game is powered by the Unreal Engine 4 and is certainly an improvement over its predecessor, however, it’s hard not to feel like Postal REDUX looks more than a bit outdated by today’s standards. On the other hand, those looking for a trip down nostalgia lane will definitely get what they were looking for with this game as it does have much of that undeniable charm we’ve come to expect from the genre.
Long story short, Postal REDUX is a faithful recreation of the original complete with remastered sound effects, voice acting, visuals, and levels. You can also expect much better controls this time around and just enough new content to make REDUX seem more than yet another old game with a fresh coat of paint slapped on top. The game costs $15 or your regional equivalent, which is a fair price to ask all things considered since you’ll be getting at least 10 hours of bloody entertainment out of this game. Sure, this isn’t a big budget masterpiece and Postal was always a bit of a niche franchise but if you’re looking to kill a bit of time with another installment in the wacky series Postal REDUX may very well be what you are looking for.
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- Fun and challenging combat
- Nice weapon variety
- Can be funny at times
- Tends to get repetitive a few hours in
- Looks and feels very old despite running on UE4
- Gameplay lacks any form of complexity
- Not enough content to keep you engaged until the end