Publisher: Running With Scissors
Release Date: 06/09/2022
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I’m not the biggest Postal fan as I didn’t grow up with it. With Postal 4 being another turd in the series, I can easily say this is the best game in the whole series despite being a spin-off. It takes the meta-humor, gore, and whacky character designs of the main series, puts them into a Doom clone, and does it quite well. You are put into the shoes of the main protagonist who falls asleep on this couch and end up playing the levels of his nightmares. There are plenty of locales, fun weapons, and tons of enemies.
You start the game out like you do in the main games. You are in a lively neighborhood and go, postal because your TV is broken. The game ramps up the difficulty quite nicely as this first level has simple enemies like redneck shotgun MAGA hat-wearing enemies, dogs, and innocent people to slaughter. These people give you Wal-Mart bags that give you health. Later on, you run into floating fat enemies that chuck McDonald’s burgers and cups at you. Mind you they don’t use the actual names in the game, but you can easily tell what they’re making fun of.
Later levels bring on various enemies and there are three main bosses in the game. There are three different campaigns to play in. You eventually go through the desert, asylum, sewer, forest, and swap levels to eventually get to the F4 Expo campaign to take on Leon Dusk (har har) and his space program. Each level consists of mostly linear hallways to shoot through but there are many blocked doors that require certain items or colored keys. Finding these can sometimes be a bit of a pain as the levels can be quite long and labyrinthine and the level design overall isn’t the best among these Doom clones. I honestly felt a lot of the time that the pacing was off with arenas being way too large for the loadout you get (you frequently lose your entire arsenal and have to gain it back again) and it can sometimes feel overwhelming just in terms of getting your bearings. The enemy designs are well done as you know what enemies are weak against what types of weapons. You have enemies that mob you, strong enemies that stand back, and some with long-range weapons.
The humor in this game is a bit different from the main entries as it stays meta and makes fun of current global issues. Coronavirus (it’s literally a boss), various memes like Elon Musk, the toilet paper shortage, and various one-liners that poke fun at what’s been going on for the last five years globally. No racism, sexism, chauvinism, or anything like that is needed to be a fun game. The game pokes fun at things rather than promoting them. Anyone saying “Twitter will end this game” is just creating fake outrage. It’s funny no matter who you are and isn’t offensive. The developers got with the times and actually had to make an effort to be humorous. What a crazy idea right?
With that aside, the game does get really repetitive after the first campaign is over. Previous enemies cycle in, the same 8 weapons can only do so much, and most of them are pretty basic weapons, but a few are unique like the Pussy Blower that shoots cats out and you can recall them to do damage on the way back. Most other weapons are just clever or funny renditions of normal weapons with alt-fire modes. You do get items to use such as slowing down time, refilling a weapon’s ammo, and refilling health, and you also get a piss button. Peeing on things is useless unless you have fire or nitrogen bottles to burn or freeze enemies with your pee. Yeah, it’s pretty funny. There is also an Akimbo item which is probably the most valuable in the game.
Overall, Brain Damaged has excellent art direction and retro visuals that harken back to the 64-bit era of games like Quake II and Unreal Tournament. The controls are great, the game is fast-paced, the weapons and enemy designs are awesome, there is varied level design, and the humor is actually funny and not offensive just to be offensive. There are plenty of nods to video games, gaming culture, and world events from the last five years that everyone can relate to. If you can get past the repetitious design and so-so-level design problems then you will have a great 5-6 hours on your hands.