"Games just aren’t what they used to be, are they?"
Games just aren’t what they used to be, are they? There’s probably a pretty good reason for that, technology is an alluring proposition for many developers to eke even more realism and shininess from their games. The days of having huge arsenals of ridiculous weapons and hordes of enemies doing little more than charging directly towards the player are pretty much over. So then, with the release of Serious Sam 3: BFE for Xbox 360, do the days of old come rushing back for a revival, or is this just another confirmation that games have moved to a whole new level as a media?
With the new generation of consoles and PC hardware, Croteam saw it necessary to add some new features that were missing from the original titles, including painful cutscenes that are animated like the character models are held up by strings and features a script that rivals Duke Nukem Forever for the most un-ironically lame and awkward writing award. It shouldn’t detract too much from the main gameplay, but cutscenes are unskippable and will replay if you die at certain points.
"Health drains fast and enemies hit hard…"
And dying is something that will happen a lot with the hardened old-school gamers needing something more than your babby shooters. Health drains fast and enemies hit hard and swarm the player pretty quickly with little room for error and constant saving and reloading being something more casual players may have to rely on. A new melee attack system has been added which is absurdly overpowered with most of the smaller enemies being killed with just a single button press that launches the attacks. They also have ridiculous range, so you can quickly take out a crowd of lackeys in seconds without even firing a gun. Other than that it’s the same circle strafing, running backwards FPS action you will know and probably still enjoy if you’re a fan of the series. Most of the appeal will come from ‘getting it,’ most people will see a bland uninteresting shooting gallery with too much of a difficulty spike and bland environments, but if you’re itching to see just a bit more of Serious Sam, this third game will be more than enough to scratch that itch.
Serious Sam is a series of games developed for PC primarily and saw a small success amongst its fan base that has eagerly awaited a new entry in the series. This new entry came and went last year for PC, but now the game is available via the Xbox Live Arcade and with it comes a few tweaks to controls and the graphics engine to accommodate its new host. Aiming acceleration is one of the biggest necessities with more urgent movements of the right stick making you turn faster, the problems come when you try and make finite movements and the sticks natural dead zone gets in the way and doesn’t pick up anything. There’s always one stray enemy in the distance that is more trouble than they should be because of this.
The graphics have also undergone a bit of change with the obvious hardware limitations. The ‘Serious Engine 3.5’ does feature bright colours, detailed textures and huge open environments, but this usually comes at the expense of those levels also being empty to host the hoards of enemies and also everything being square with no real variety to the level design. Pop-in and frame rate drops are a regular occurrence in the Xbox 360 version and usually kick in when mass amounts of enemies and explosions fill the screen.
An 8-player co-op campaign and a wave survival mode make up the main multiplayer options available with actual competitive multiplayer locked away in The Jewel Of The Nile DLC. The action just gets even more ridiculous when you add more players into the mix and it’s fun to blast through waves of enemies with friends and connecting to them isn’t a problem.
"…doesn’t do much to change the formula and that might be just fine and dandy…"
Is Serious Sam 3: BFE the second coming of the old school, tough as nails, ridiculous FPS? Not really, it doesn’t do much to change the formula and that might be just fine and dandy for those looking for a bit more of the o so serious shooter.
- Over the top FPS action that’s been missing from many modern games.
- Lots o’ weapons to play with.
- Some attempts at improving the formula and keep it fresh.
- Console controls aren’t awful and actually feature a few useful tweaks.
- Awful voice acting and unskippable cutscenes.
- Has a very niche appeal that only a few will buy into.
- Not quite enough was done to improve the formula.
- Console port contains weaker graphical capabilities with pop-in and frame rate drops.