Like the game’s atmosphere, Postal is a title that rings a dark, but flamboyant tone throughout classic PC gamers the world over. Those that started their gaming habits on the personal computer may recall many games that made them into gaming enthusiasts, designers, and programmers. Among the dozens of ground-breaking titles, such as DOOM, Quake, and Wolfenstein, there was Postal by Running With Scissors. In a gaming age, where pure violent mayhem was a theme, Postal was a game that stood out. The original game was released to PC platforms in 1997, a time where violent shooters were coming of age. Titles, such as Duke Nukem, were in full three-dimensional views, and often featured extremely graphic content. At this time, the Electronic Safety Ratings Board, what we all know today as the ESRB, was already established, which did give gamers a notice of what title they were getting into. When Postal arrived on Computer, nobody had seen the level of realistic chaos before. Where most games dealt with science-fiction, Postal had the players destroying neighborhood, cities, and hundreds of people in the process.
Postal left its mark on gaming, but was also the subject of controversy, most particularly in the Columbine Tragedy of 1998. Postal, as well as other games, were under scrutiny for enabling mass violence in the real world. However, that didn’t stop the studio from making several installments of Postal, including Postal 2 and various expansions. Celebrating the nearly 20 year-old installment, Running With Scissors has released an updated look to the original game, Postal: Redux.
The original Postal was an isometric twin-stick shooter, where the players shot and destroyed absolutely everything. Cops, soldiers, civilians, mutants, were all targets in this game, as the game encouraged you to slaughter absolutely everything in sight. The sequel switched to a 1st person perspective, which is the version most gamers are familiar with. Postal:Redux takes the original game and adds a new presentation to the game. The end result is a fun, quick twin-stick shooter, that feels like a take into a piece of history.
The game places you as a nameless protagonist, who is fed up with life. Having just been evicted from your home, you pick up your nearest firearm and decide to take revenge upon society. Back in the 1990’s a crazed individual would be described with the term “going postal.” Naturally, here, you are a character that has, like the title says, gone postal. There is no story or over-arcing narrative to the game. It is simply a shooter, through and through. Your objective is slaughter people left and right. When all targets are eliminated, the exit opens up to the next level.
Your character will have access to a variety of weapons, including shotguns, revolvers, flamethrowers and rocket launchers. Each level is presented differently from the next, as you make your way through towns, a carnival, and even a military base. While civilians will run around aimlessly, anyone with a gun will be ferociously intent on stopping you. Of course, you have to make them pay. Each level adds a new level of challenge, as the enemies get tougher. However, the game places a lot of power in your hands, making the difficulty not as challenging as expected. However, increasing the difficulty will definitely put up quite a challenge.
The game evokes the frenzied, old-fashioned chaos of early PC games. The levels are all hand-drawn and brushed, evoking the kind of style seen in games at the time. Effects, such as explosions and fire, are also reminiscent of visuals from late 1990’s PC gaming.The fire effects, in particular, clearly evoke that sensation as well. The mixture of sounds and haunting music also serve the tone of complete, dark chaos as well. Along with a good number of control options, Postal Redux becomes a solid experience.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to the game. The title is simply meant to be a remastered “throwback” title, going back to the simplicity and basics of the original without bloating it with other content. There is no multiplayer, co-op, or other campaigns to mark. This is likely due to the fact that Postal 2 was re-released on Steam in 2011, and has been continually updated with new content ever since. That being said, it would make sense to continue supporting Postal 2, the most popular and most-played game in the series.
What you get with Postal: Redux is a new remastering of the original game, a campaign filled with several dozen missions, and an arcade, rampage mode, where you fight to stay alive and get the highest score, before getting gunned down. the rampage mode is fantastic for quick, short bursts of fun. Heavy metal plays as your character utters deadpan statements and hundreds of enemies fall before you.
As for the performance, the game was played on an ASUS laptop, with 12 gigabytes of RAM and no dedicated video card. With the settings set to “high” the game ran well. However, on Ultra, the game did slow down. On lower settings, the game is fluid. Users with more higher-end machines should have no problem running the game on Ultra. A mouse is recommended for aiming as well.
One other challenge with this title is the fact that the game is arriving in an entirely new generation of gamers. When the original was released, such violence was considering to be shocking and repulsive, hence the controversy it had received at the time. Twenty years later, gamers have experienced the likes of Grand Theft Auto, Red Faction, Call of Duty, and most recently, DOOM (2016). The violence of those game, among many others, The shock value of Postal: Redux is there, but isn’t quite as impacting as it once was before.
This doesn’t make Postal: Redux a bad game to play by any means. In fact, the game can serve as a reminder of how far gameplay content has come. It is likely that many of the top designers of games today drew their inspirations from the maniacal chaos of the original Postal. In that sense, Postal: Redux is a piece of history.
While Postal: Redux doesn’t add any new content, it is a nice throwback to a simpler time in gaming, as well as a small historical landmark in the world of computer gaming. The action is fluid, the shooting is chaotic, and the style is still there. For those looking for a nice throwback title, Postal: redux is your game.