Way back in 1997, when the modern game industry was just getting started, rebel developers Running With Scissors released the original Postal game for the PC. GiN was just getting started back then as well, and Postal was one of the first games that we reviewed. Mechanically speaking, it played really well, especially compared with some of the other mouse-and-keyboard games of that era. And we found some of the over-the-top humor to be pretty funny too, like earning a trophy for taking out an entire marching band with a Molotov cocktail. Unfortunately, not everyone got that humor, and this began an all-out assault on the game industry by those who wanted to censor or restrict it.
To be fair, Postal was not the only game targeted by those anti-video-game and anti-violence groups. Other titles like Carmageddon also made their list. I personally attended a Senate hearing in Washington DC where government officials were seriously considering trying to ban most video games. It was a pretty scary time for gamers, and for a while, it looked like the anti-gamers might actually win. Most of the state and local bans were overturned in court, and the Supreme Court eventually affirmed that video games were protected media, like books or other creative endeavors.
All of those memories came flooding back to me when I heard that publisher MD Games had ported Postal Redux over to the PlayStation 4 platform. The original Postal Redux was the HD remake of the original game for the PC, and now it is coming to consoles.
On the PlayStation 4, Postal Redux is a twin stick shooter. That means that you move your character with the left stick and aim with the right. If you have ever played twin-stick games before then you will have no problem jumping right into this version of Postal. It’s a lot smoother and more natural feeling (at least after you get used to the mechanic) than the original game was back on the PC. Two free-flowing joysticks are a lot better than a mouse and keyboard for games like this.
Postal Redux was already remade for the PC back in 2016, and that version of the game is available for under $10 on Steam. Incidentally, the original Postal game is free to play through Steam if anyone is interested in seeing the unadulterated classic. Because the console version is based on the Redux remake, all of the graphics have been updated to HD-quality. Comparing that to the original graphics is like night and day.
That said, even with the massive visual upgrade, we are talking about a 25 year old game. Things look good and you can tell what everything is now. You can even clearly read all the signs and find a few little funny things the developers put in there that might have gotten lost in the original due to the low resolution of the graphics. But it’s not something you will be really blown away by.
The PlayStation 4 has probably got about as much or more horsepower than PCs did back in 1997, so of course Postal Redux runs smoothly. It’s a top-down shooter with a static world, so nothing to really push the CPU. In fact, when we played Postal Redux on the PlayStation 5, we didn’t notice anything different from the PS4 version, so the older console can easily handle everything the game has to offer. It’s hard to remember playing the game back in 1997, but the smooth gameplay of the modern console remake makes it easy to dodge slower moving projectiles like missiles and also allowed us to poke around a corner, take a few shots, and jump back before an NPCs could get a shot back at us.
I should probably address the violence, since that was quite the hubbub back in 1997. Honestly, the level of comical violence present in Postal Redux is almost nothing compared with the kinds of things we see in games today. It’s hard to imagine a game like Postal causing much of a stir these days if it were a new release. Most of the violence is almost comical, like getting a trophy for burning an entire marching band with a Molotov cocktail, something you can still earn on the PlayStation. I smiled just a bit when I was awarded that again after so many years.
In fact, there are only two occasions when Postal really pushes the line in terms of violence. The first is actually during the static cut scenes in-between levels, where we get to hear the Postal Dude talking about how the Earth is thirsty for blood and things like that. It really does sound like someone who is deranged, and that is a little bit frightening and even a little sad. The other time is when you have wounded someone and they are not yet dead, you have the option to stand over their body and execute them. It’s still uses the cartoon graphics of course, but seems a little bit too intimate at that point, a little too serious. As least you can avoid that part of the game by simply not executing anyone. Honestly, I could live without either of those elements and enjoy the game a lot more, but in any case, the violence in Postal for the most part is simply humorous in an over-the-top kind of way.
It was fun to revisit the craziness that was and is Postal. A game that was totally scandalous back in the day is merely kind of a fun diversion today. And it does play really well on the PlayStation. Postal Redux has all of the original levels from the core game plus a few that were added later as part of various DLCs or expansions. So if you are ready to binge on all things Postal, then Postal Redux for the PlayStation has got you covered.
Postal Redux for the PlayStation earns 4 GiN Gems for letting us replay a classic game, warts and all, for better or for worse.
Developers: Running With Scissors
Platforms: PlayStation 4