As part of the Steam Early Access program, POSTAL 4: No Regerts (This title is going to annoy the hell out of my poor autocorrect) is very much a work in progress. Running With Scissors has taken an honest and open approach to developing the game in Early Access while putting the money earned right back into the development process and using player feedback to make the best POSTAL they can. POSTAL 4 is an open-world sandbox FPS that is structured around The Dude completing errands over the course of five days. With the new Wednesday update, players now have access to three out of the five days (Monday to Wednesday). In terms of length, you can expect around 7-8 hours of gameplay in the current build.
Since the events of Postal 2 saw the city of Paradise undergo a slight...apocalypse, The Dude (now voiced by Jon St. John of Duke Nukem fame) took to the road in search of a new place to live. During a brief gas station pit stop, The Dude’s car/mobile home is stolen. Broke and stranded, he wanders into the nearby town of Edensin to make some cash and hopefully track down his car with nothing but his purple bathrobe and his dog, Champ. Mondays, am I right? There isn’t too much story to go on after that, and NPC interaction still needs to be fleshed out more. You do get a cutscene every so often, though they’re usually short. The premise is to go to a certain spot and get errands assigned to you for the day. The game is non-linear in this regard, as you can complete the objectives in any order. Once you complete them all, you can explore and mess around more or go to your lodgings to start the next day. As the game starts, you only have a limited area to explore but as the days go on, more of Edensin opens up to you.
One of my peeves is how boring it can be when you have to travel a long way across town to get to your objectives. There is a fast travel system in place right now but its use is extremely limited. Since The Dude is too white trash to use a car, he resorts to zipping around the map on one of the many scooters that can be found around town. Navigation can be a pain sometimes as I find myself opening the map and turning down the wrong street regardless since your character icon is always pointing the wrong way. In No Regerts current state, the world feels a bit empty, but there are supposed to be more shops and sidequests in the full release so bear that in mind.
If you are unfamiliar with the POSTAL series, it is famous (or infamous, if you prefer) for its heavy use of comedic satire, violence, and crude humor. This is definitely not a game for those easily offended by poop jokes, as more than one errand has you deal with literal mountains of shit. Running With Scissors takes shots at anyone and everything, with references to people like Joe Exotic and real-life events like Covid-19, spoofed as a pigeon-based disease called Pivid 20 and the Pigeonavirus on posters around town. If you ever wanted to go around flipping people off and peeing on them like an ace degenerate but never wanted to endure the social repercussions, then you’ll feel right at home here. Of course, Edensin is not totally lawless. Police patrol around and if you get caught doing the dirty, you’ll gain a wanted meter and they will immediately resort to using lethal force. As long as you stay out of sight, the meter goes down pretty fast.
The gunplay leaves much to be desired and the difficulty can be very unbalanced in places. As of the current state, there is only a small selection of weapons, most of them being basic archetypes like pistols, shotguns, and assault rifles. There are also melee weapons, such as a stun baton, mop, and shovel but enemies further into the week will tear you up before you can get close enough to use them. The combination of a lack of ammo and imprecise aiming can be frustrating, especially when you run into a bullet sponge enemy. I don’t know if it was a glitch or intentional, but one of the Kunny theme park mascots soaked up most of my bullets from multiple guns, plus all my grenades before kicking the bucket, but only after killing me three times since I had no way to restore health at the time.
And the glitches, hooo boy the glitches! I know the game describes itself as a “Playable janky alpha state” but two glitches I’ve had are doozies. Number two on my shit list is the glitch that forces your camera to slant at a 90-degree angle and doesn’t correct itself, even if you die and reload the checkpoint. You have to either restart the day from the menu or jump into a scooter to fix your perspective. The worst glitch was when I beat Tuesday, watched the Wednesday intro, and promptly fell through the map and died when it ended. Reloading saves and checkpoints ended with the same results. I had to start a new game to fix it; luckily, you can choose to start your game on whatever day you want.
Normally I would place a final score here, but considering the state of the game being incomplete I don’t think that would be very fair to the developer. The question is: do I recommend it as-is? As long as you understand the fact that it is a true work-in-progress, then pick it up. It’s a glitchy, turd-covered mess of goofy fun and I can’t wait to see the fully finished product. The Dude is back.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of the review.
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