Review: Postal Redux

With the recent surge of interest in Running With Scissors' controversial Postal series, especially with the original game getting closer to 20 years in age, it only made sense for them to take players back to where it all started. Remaking the first game in high-resolution graphics seems a very easy choice, what with Postal having inspired 2015's equally-controversial Hatred, but the question now is whether or not the original has aged well with Postal Redux.

Title: Postal Redux (Review Copy Provided)
Publisher: Running With Scissors
Developer: Running With Scissors
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Players: 1
MSRP: $14.99

Image courtesy of Running With Scissors

The main game still plays out as it did back in 1997 – you play as the man who would become known as the Postal Dude, forced to defend yourself against everyone breathing near you as both you and the world go insane with violence. The original excuse for the infamous plot had been that there was a violence-inducing plague striking just as the Postal Dude got evicted from his home. Oh lord, what an excuse! Plot has never fully mattered with the Postal series anyway, what has always been important is the gameplay.

The gameplay remains true to the game's roots as an isometric third-person shooter. Each level is an enormous (and well-drawn) 2D map populated with tiny 3D characters, and you have to navigate through each one killing whoever gets in your way. The sheer size of each map means lots of exploring, which in turn is quite rewarding with plenty of goodies stashed away in the farthest corners and hidden nooks of each location. Your standard machine gun has infinite ammunition, but you are also given a nice variety of extra weapons to use, from the wide-spread shotgun to the new high-powered revolver, land mines and a rocket launcher with either normal or heat-seeking rounds. All of this is backed up by a remastered soundtrack evoking gradual insanity as well as the Postal Dude's quips amidst the constant slaughter.

Image courtesy of Running With Scissors

Even on easier difficulties the game does not let up, as nearly everyone you encounter wants you dead and will fire on sight unless you hide your weapon. Amazingly enough, cover is one of your most effective means of defense as every logical obstruction is accounted for in the 2D space, giving a surprisingly-functional pseudo-3D effect in the gameplay. You can take advantage of that in every level to gun your way through with the greatest of ease (unless you're playing on Hard – ducking is also your best friend there). Additionally, in what seems to be a nice little nod back to Hatred, Running With Scissors added a new mode to Postal Redux in the form of Rampage. In this mode, you go for the highest score possible in each of the game's levels by chaining together kill after ridiculous kill as quick as you can. High scores are tracked automatically with the online leaderboards utilized through Steam, and even achievement support has been added with a few specialized challenges thrown in to make the whole experience feel more updated. Controls are even better as well, with full controller support built in to give the full twin-stick arcade shooter experience that Running With Scissors envisioned with the original Postal.

On the downside, due to being remade entirely in high-resolution using Unreal Engine 4, Postal Redux turns out to be really memory-intensive. Before the game even starts, it does an automatic check of whether or not you have DirectX10 drivers installed, and you will need a recommended 8 gigabytes of RAM on a multi-core processor (with 1 gigabyte dedicated entirely to loading the graphics) to get the game running completely smoothly. Deviating from that causes long loading times when not playing the stages, including loading up the title menu. If you the patience to deal with that, however, then you should be able to enjoy playing at the minimum requirements. Additionally, the original game's Special Delivery DLC has not been implemented (at least not yet), but currently 2 extra levels (including a replacement for the original game's final level) have been made entirely from scratch for this release.

Image courtesy of Running With Scissors

To sum things up, Postal Redux is proof that the original game holds up decently after nearly 20 years (fun fact – the loading screens are all dated 20 years later than they were in the original), but it's still just a tiny bit lacking. Given proper technical support, it could be the perfect way to capture the first Postal's uniquely unhinged experience. As it stands though, a purchase now depends entirely on whether or not you're interested in seeing the series' start for yourself. Beauty (and insanity) is in the eye of the beholder.

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I am a game development college graduate and lifelong gamer. I am looking to use my knowledge however I am best able. As it so happens, that makes for great game reviews.
Port Saint Lucie, FL