The Steam page for open-world first-person shooter Postal 4: No Regerts markets it as, "The long-awaited true sequel to what's been fondly dubbed as 'The Worst Game Ever,' Postal 2!" If developer Running With Scissors' goal was to live up to this legacy and maybe even outdo itself, then it succeeded with aplomb. Postal 4 is an abysmal video game. It's mind-numbingly dull, its combat is unenjoyable and lifeless, its humor is unfunny, and it's plagued by myriad technical issues, glitches, and crashes. This is a series that gained traction by courting controversy at a time when pearl-clutching over video game violence was world news. Postal 4 can't even claim to be problematic, as its bloodshed is notably tame by today's standards, and any jokes that might be considered offensive are too focused on lazy stereotypes to be considered noteworthy.
Postal 4's basic setup sees the Postal Dude return along with his loyal canine companion, Champ. After taking a pitstop and forgetting to lock their car, the pair's vehicle, trailer home, and all of their earthly possessions are stolen, leaving them stranded at the side of the road with nowhere to call home. Fortunately, the fictional town of Edensin, Arizona is located just over the horizon, so the unlikely duo head there in search of employment and their stolen items.
Much like previous games in the series, you're given a different set of errands to complete each day, from Monday through Friday. These are mostly menial tasks like changing lightbulbs in the sewer, convincing people to sign a petition, and taking on the mantle of a prison guard for the day. Others are slightly more unusual, including one errand that tasks you with launching disillusioned Americans over the Mexican border using a makeshift catapult. The one thing all of these objectives share in common--and I can't stress this is enough--is that they aren't fun to engage with in any way, shape, or form. This is probably intentional in some cases, but to what end? Postal 4 doesn't offer a satirical critique of capitalism or anything like that; the game is just designed around dull busywork that proves more effective than any sleeping pills. Eventually, these odd jobs add more and more firefights, whether you're getting involved in shootouts with border patrol agents or an anti-bidet cult.
Combat would add a tinge of excitement if it weren't irredeemably bad. Enemy AI is the main culprit hindering Postal 4's first-person shooting, but it's far from the only one. Your foes have a tendency to run toward you in a straight line and suddenly forget you exist, or clump together in a group, motionless, waiting to be killed. The Postal Dude's arsenal consists of a familiar assortment of pistols, shotguns, and rifles, none of which feel satisfying to use outside of the revolver--because it lets you dispatch multiple enemies at once like Overwatch's Cole Cassidy. All of the weapon types lack the punch and sense of impact you would expect, which is partly due to the flaccid sound design, and aiming down sights feels overly clunky and stiff in a way not many shooters do. The boomerang machete and pigeon mine are the only weapons that veer away from your bog-standard firearms. The former lets you chop off limbs by chucking a machete that comes back to you, while the latter unleashes a swarm of pigeons that will rip apart any nearby foes in a feathery fury. The Fournicator sounds like it might be outlandish but it's essentially just a shotgun with four barrels.
Aside from being dumb and outright broken at times, the AI also soaks up bullets, making most of the weapons feel decidedly weak. Guns like the M16 alleviate this somewhat, but finding ammunition is nigh-on impossible unless the enemies you're fighting are using the same weapon themselves. You can purchase ammo at vending machines located around Edensin, but the game doesn't make finding them easy. The in-game map is awful, being both cumbersome to navigate and lacking in any relevant information. The vending machines aren't located on the map; in fact, the only icons that do exist are for shops that often serve no function outside of being set dressing. It's also rare that you'll ever find yourself drowning in cash, so purchasing just a small amount of ammo will empty your pockets in a hurry.
As a result of all this, I spent most of the game using pistols instead of anything more powerful, and each handgun's tepidness is only exacerbated by Postal 4's habit of artificially inflating the difficulty by throwing dozens of enemies at you at once. Dying is inconsequential because you don't lose any progress and can simply run back to where you were after respawning, but slowly killing all of the game's braindead enemies is still a monotonous chore.
Outside of running errands and shooting people, you'll spend the rest of your time traversing the town of Edensin. The map is large enough that getting anywhere takes a while, and Postal 4 ensures that getting around is purposefully frustrating. You can hop on a mobility scooter to travel slightly faster than the Postal Dude's running speed, but finding one isn't as easy as you might expect. There are plenty of mobility scooter rental stations dotted around the map, but hiring one costs $50, which isn't an insignificant amount of money. Charging for these vehicles is especially egregious when they usually disappear if you enter a cutscene or leave them alone for too long, so you'll spend much of your time simply trying to find an abandoned scooter you can commandeer for free.
To make matters worse, Postal 4 is riddled with technical issues, particularly when traversing the open world. It's an ugly and dated-looking game, yet even on a powerful PC the frame rate struggles to keep up. Quick-saving is also a necessity because it constantly crashes to desktop. Some of these crashes are completely random, but there are others I could easily replicate. One errand, for example, takes place in a theme park and tasks you with disabling all of its power boxes. I used the game's cumbersome platforming to turn them all off without alerting the gun-toting staff, but the last one was located halfway up a rollercoaster. I assumed that riding the 'coaster was the only way to reach it, but every time I interacted with the cart, the game would immediately crash. The same thing happens with the other two rollercoasters in the park. In the end, I resorted to shooting the power box, which then alerted all of the nearby enemies. You can feasibly complete the game as a pacifist, but it's difficult to do so when the non-lethal approach is broken.
The same is true during your aforementioned shift as a prison guard, as you're given a baton with an optional non-lethal mode if you don't want to mindlessly kill everyone. I tried subduing all of the prisoners using this, but at some point it stopped having an effect, forcing me to switch to a lethal option instead.
One of the more frequent issues occurs when entering a new area of the open world. There are loading screens between these areas, and the game has a habit of placing you inside a mountain when passing through them. The only way to escape is by reloading a previous checkpoint, but even this doesn't always work as intended. On multiple occasions, I spawned into a broken version of the world where most of the environment had vanished. The only thing you can do in this instance is keep reloading until it eventually decides to work. Even this might not be enough, though. At one point I managed to load back into the game, only to find that I had shrunk down to about two feet tall.
There are many more issues besides these. There was one errand where the game broke and wouldn't let me pick up a mission-critical item; on numerous occasions bullets will just stop doing damage; and at one point the game crashed at the end of a level and then locked me inside the closed-off environment after I loaded back in. It's a mess, and many of these shortcomings have been present throughout Postal 4's tenure on Steam Early Access, with no fixes in sight.
According to the developer, a number of changes are being made to improve performance and add features. These range from new meshes for some characters and subtitles for different languages, to a physics pass and improved car models. Maybe squashing bugs is also on the agenda, but at this point it's far too late, considering their frequency and severity.
Whenever you're not bashing your head against your keyboard because of Postal 4's numerous crashes, you'll be doing so because of its awful attempts at humor. Here's a quick rundown of the main topics Postal 4 finds hilarious: Poop, male and female genitalia, sex, animal cruelty, and Mexicans. Now, I enjoy dark humor, and there's plenty of toilet humor that tickles my funny bone, but this is bottom-of-the-barrel stuff for the lowest common denominator. To give you an example, "That's a lot of shit," is the punchline to seeing a lot of shit. Jeff Goldblum already delivered this joke with better execution 29 years ago.
One errand revolves around hosing away piles of poo to stop a group of Mexicans from using them as a secret ingredient in their tacos. Never mind the fact that Mexican food is amazing, this is just unfunny, racist, and trite. There's another gag where some angry white women run over two Mexicans--notice a theme here?--in their truck, just so they can attack me while yelling about cultural appropriation. Obviously, this isn't enough to even induce a smirk, and is just outright bad. Most of the humor in Postal 4 would still feel at home in Postal 2, a game that came out in 2002, and it wouldn't have been funny then either.
Even the most recent pop culture references in the game are still fairly dated, with nods to the likes of Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, and Twin Peaks. There's one out-of-the-blue boss fight where you have to kill a Peter Dinklage facsimile who starts by sitting on a Game of Thrones-esque throne that's also a toilet. Why Peter Dinklage, you might be asking? Presumably because it's easy to change his name to "Tinklage." That, and the fact that the series has a precedent for making fun of little people. Somewhat surprisingly, the voice acting is fairly decent for the most part, especially considering the material the cast has to work with.
Postal 4: No Regerts is devoid of humor and anything close to approaching fun or engaging mechanics. The only things it has in spades are constant technical issues that only compound the game's lengthy checklist of egregious shortcomings. Running With Scissors might consider this review a badge of honor, considering that the game being bad is seemingly part of the gag, but don't for a second think that Postal 4 even touches the realm of "So bad, it's good." There's nothing redeemable about this game. It's a genuinely awful experience that should be avoided at all costs.