Developed By: Croteam Published By: Devolver Digital Categories: Shooter, Retro Release Date: 11.17.20
Are you serious about old school shooters? You should be very serious about them because Serious Sam is a serious game for people serious about old school shooters. There’s the original trilogy and expansions too, which makes this super serious.
You’ll get Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter, Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter, Serious Sam 3, as well as The Legend of the Beast and Jewel of the Nile expansions for TSE and 3 respectively. These are all old school style games, which can be easily defined by two things. Exploration and Med Packs. There’s always secrets to find, which include the fun weapons, bonus health, and even little neat shortcuts or big troves of ammo and armor.
Lets discuss all three games a bit, starting with The First Encounter. It definitely feels it’s age, though whether or not that’s a bad thing is up to you. Huge, wide open stages, and not even ten minutes into the game, a quite impressive number of enemies. You’ll start with a handgun and a knife, and if you want anything else, you better start looking for it. Luckily, at least initially, nothing is too hidden early on, as long as you pay attention. While the handgun has infinite ammo, it’s weak and does reload, so as soon as you find one, the shotgun becomes your best friend. My failure to actually find a good hunk of the secrets meant I did miss out on quite a few potential additions to my arsenal, yet even with the shotgun, I never really felt at a disadvantage. If you’ve ever played an old school shooter, you’ll probably be familiar with the strategy of “never stop moving”, Serious Sam as a whole lives by that. Enemies are fast, they almost all charge at you, with one even exploding when they come near you, those ones are constantly yelling, so you know when they’re coming at least. If you play like a modern, more Call of Duty esque game, you aren’t going to get far…at all. You’ll hear the lead Sam speak quite often, usually with quips, self aware references, and so on. It’s not often enough to get annoying, so when it happens it’s funny most of the time.
The Second Encounter feels like a proper sequel. It’s more of the same, but bigger and looking much better. There’s a new setting, stages are much wider, and there’s even more powerups like one that speeds you up, which in some stages almost feels mandatory. You also will get weapons much faster, and just playing the game, as opposed to hunting everything down. Sam was a bit quip’ey in the first game, but is much more vocal this time. The first game is fun, but I’d sooner play the sequel if only because it has improvements, while not changing anything up too big.
Then we get to Serious Sam 3. For all intents and purposes, this is a modern shooter inside of a Serious Sam game. There’s sprinting, there’s looking the sights, there’s melee finishers. The game starts out not in an exotic area, but in a war torn middle eastern city. None of this was quite what I was expecting initially, but I was willing to put up with it, if only because some of the melee moves were incredibly satisfying to pull of. Both of the first two games ran pretty well, and if you cared, you could change the game to either look or run better, but I never had to with either of those. This was not the case with 3. The mode prioritizing graphics was on by default and the game does not run well. Switching it to performance mode, helps, but it still doesn’t feel like a smooth 60fps like the previous games. Now, mix that with what Serious Sam is known for and it’s not quite a good look. Other issues arise with the game’s rather poor first impressions, with it being more enclosed spaces, some of which get rather dark, almost too dark. This all made for a lesser experience for me.
As mentioned before, there’s a setting for performance or graphics, but this is far from the collection’s vast settings. Blood color, from red to to Halloween, which makes the blood and guts pumpkin bits and candy. I will always love when ultraviolet games have enough of a sense of humor to let you play with the blood and gore to the point of it being silly. There’s a large number of crosshairs to use. The power to turn off Sam’s voice!
The game has pretty decent mulplayer aspects too. Want to play together co-operatively, maybe split up finding stuff in how big stages are, then you’re free to do so. You can play with lives, or just play as you would with infinite continues. You can start at any stages you’ve played in solo, or just to the whole campaign per game. On the competitive front, you have the standard multiplayer modes, Deathatch, Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch. You also get a few fun modes like a battle royal, a mode that has you competitively hunting enemies, a mode that has you holding on to an item as long as you can to get points. These are again, in stages you’d unlock in singleplayer. You’re not just playing as Sam though, as the game has a long list of skins to use. These include older versions of Sam, NPCs, monsters, Christmas skins, etc… You’ll probably see a lot of the same skins again and again, but there’s enough skins that it won’t be too big an issue.
Despite performance issues that I hope are solved with Serious Sam 3, I couldn’t find much issue with this collection. Especially if you’re a fan of the series, I can’t recommend it enough. The lack of Serious Sam 2 is a tad questionable, but you’re still getting three games and the expansions to two of them.
Buy Now: $29.99
*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes