It is time again to write about several games that I want to talk about, but don’t have much to talk about. This time it’s POSTAL Redux, Oxenfree, The Room Two and Saints Row: Gat out of Hell.
POSTAL is not a nice game. You probably already knew that. It’s about a person who goes postal, and thinking that ᵗʰᵉ ᵍᵒᵛᵉʳᶰᵐᵉᶰᵗ is using some experimental gas on everyone and only he is immune, goes on a killing spree in a small town and surrounding areas. It’s not a dark comedic game with commentary on society like Postal 2 is. It’s just dark, disturbing… and fun. It’s so weird, but somehow this remade gem from 1996 doesn’t make you feel disgusted at the rather horrible, if you think about it, violence that is happening, and yet doesn’t really justify it. It’s not cringy, like some recent games, either.
And the Redux version makes things better. Original was a bit clunky to play, but the new version not just updates the sound and visuals, but also redoes the controls, adds new content, rebalances few things and even adds kind of a «real story» thing if you play on Hard mode, with actual diary of the character before each mission, whereas in the normal mode you get the original disturbed text about «earth being hungry». It’s cheap, it’s good and it’s definitely worth a play. The only thing that was «toned down» is the original ending mission, which, to be fair, now makes more sense.
Oxenfree is a very cool story-driven adventure game. It’s like taking the classic Maniac Mansion approach (something that The Cave attempted several years ago), but focusing on story and dialogue instead of puzzles. It’s surprisingly well written for the most part, has equal parts of mystery, fun and horror and several surprises that I simply do not want to spoil. It’s pretty clever in how it uses it’s own narrative and there are many tiny variations on how things can go. But, at the same time, I do feel like the story becomes much more… well, teenage horror story TV show from 90s by the end, whereas it builds up to being something more interesting before that.
Apart from it, the only other big misstep is how the radio tuning, as one of the main mechanics of the game, is quite underused. With there being a lot of potential to play with, but it being just «a thing to do» most of the time. Unlike very cool, yet much simpler approach in the wonderful Sylvio. Game is also designed for several playthroughs, also in a nice and smart way, but can’t say that I want to play it again right after finishing it once. Again, due to how slightly disappointing the ending was, how much rather pointless running around there is and how game saves pretty much only between locations, so if something happens and you want to stop playing, you might need to sit through 10 minutes of things again next time you start. Still, the game is definitely worth checking.
The Room Two is a sequel to the original mobile device game about interacting with intricate mechanical puzzle devices. Yet again, it got really nice looking upgrade for PCs, yet again it’s fun to play around with things and puzzle things out. This game also has more eldritch horror elements to it and is «darker» in tone in general. But at the same time, it’s kind of less fun and a bit more boring. With especially one puzzle being pushed a bit too often in one of the latter chapters. And one chapter being essentially a cutscene for some reason. Worth checking out, especially with the first one, but I heard good things about the third. So, hope that one drops to PCs eventually as well.
And finally, the disappointment of the bunch — Saints Row: Gat out of Hell. I liked Saints Row 3 a lot. I love Saints Row 4. Even the DLCs are fantastic, funny and fun to play. Gat out of Hell, however, is just 4+ boring hours of nothing important at all. It doesn’t even feel like an «epilogue» it’s supposed to be, and more like a pointless «oh and by the way», which is told very slowly and is not worth it in the end. It has about 3 proper story cutscenes, a teaser of what would become the Agents of Mayhem (the reboot of the series, essentially) as one of several endings and precisely one truly funny part — the intro.
The main content is just doing pointless things in a boring tiny city to unlock the final mission. With secondary characters being pointless and worthless, even when they are returning ones who were interesting before. Just a bunch of dumb stuff, few rather funny in concept weapons, ability to play as Gat or Kinzie (or and, since there is coop as always) and that’s it. Just watch the intro on YouTube or something and check the canonical ending and you’re done. Or go replay Saints Row 4, it’s a much more exciting experience even on replay.