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Review / Postal Redux (PC)

 

From the very first screen, Postal Redux promises an unsettling experience. An ominous message is scrawled in in blood on some very macabre art; the music is eerie, off-kilter, and a little loud, and the lighting and colors are all dim to promote a scary mood. This is all on just the load screen. I was excited before I had even started playing! Unfortunately, it seems the first screen is where all of that effort stops. Once I had taken control of the Postal Dude, I had no idea what he was doing or why; just being crazy in a crazy world seems to be his entire motivation.

 

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Postal Redux is an isometric twin-stick shooter, a remaster of the 1997 original release. I didn’t play the original, but it was steeped in controversy for being so violent in a world desperate to blame video games for violence. Not to mention being basically poo-pooed by critics but loved by many players. But today’s gaming landscape is much different.

Almost no one is batting an eye at “violent” video games, and in fact, there are many that simply do it better already on the market. The entire point boils down to kill and try not to be killed, which can be fun for a little distraction from time to time, but doesn’t make for a fully satisfying game. You can only run around mowing down civilians and SWAT dudes while laughing maniacally for so long, but maybe that’s just me.

 

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There is a little bit of strategy in play as you decide which weapon to use against which foe. Should it be the submachine gun for this group of civilians who won’t get out of the way? Maybe a grenade for that rock-solid wall of SWAT? I didn’t say it took a lot of strategy, but variety is always a good thing. And to be sure, the sheer number of enemies and clogged exits will make it increasingly difficult for you to blast your way out and get dead, but I still struggled with why I should be concerned with blasting my way out. Why is everyone hell-bent on murdering me, anyway?

Mostly, I feel like Postal Redux is a game representing a bygone generation of PC games. It has some work put into the atmosphere, and the retro-style graphics have obviously gotten a facelift, but it’s just too shallow to have much replay value. It’s as if the developers don’t realize we’re not all running systems with Windows 95 anymore. I personally need more of a reason than “shoot all the things” to stay interested for more than 15 minutes.

 

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But what do I know? Someone somewhere felt that this game was loved enough to deserve a remaster, and it does have high reviews and ratings on Steam. There is definitely a type of gamer this is meant for, I just don’t seem to be it. There’s probably a horde of die-hard fans typing up some hate mail for me as you read this.

If you are looking for a fun and nostalgic game that lets you basically turn your brain off and just go, then Postal Redux may be just the ticket. I doubt it will become a must-have for anyone’s Christmas list or be on anyone’s top 10 list. It may, however, be a fun trip down a blood-splattered memory lane.

 

 

This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.

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