posted by Dezm0nd
The timing of Croteam’s latest and greatest release couldn’t be more fitting with the overall theme of the game. It’s Sam versus so many triple-A video games in the real world this winter, and yet it’s Sam versus thousands of enemies in the virtual world. Serious Sam is back and he’s fending off Skyrim, Gnarrs and Zelda all at once!
Serious Sam 3: BFE stands for “Before the First Encounter,” so before any of you get excited with the theory of it being a pun, I can tell you for sure it’s not a pun on any Doom gun. This game takes you back to a time when Mental’s alien race invades planet Earth for a reason I couldn’t explain to you — but who really comes to Serious Sam for the “narrative” (if there was one to begin with)?
Opening up from a cut-scene which sees Sam’s helicopter crashing over Cairo, you instantly feel a familiarity, but not with anything Croteam have done before. We have broken buildings, war-torn streets and even music which could have been ripped from any modern day combat war game of today’s world — but don’t let that put you off. It works extremely well, and throughout the entire opening of the game I was just waiting for it to start pulling wacky pranks like other Serious Sam games but it never came. For some strange reason, it felt right, it felt refreshing, and it was mostly the reason I carried on playing Serious Sam 3: curiosity.
The game still plays exactly as it did before, with literally hundreds of enemies swarming around you at any one time; all of this is handled brilliantly with the balanced weaponry you have in your inventory. There is no Halo-style two weapon mechanic here. This game is old-school in every sense of the term, making Duke Nukem look like the King’s jester, and if it could, it would probably moon Doom 3 and shout some expletive at the same time — something which Croteam do not shy away from.
Swearing in Serious Sam 3 is common and aggressive, but never fails to tickle the funny bone. The sheer contrast of the realistic environments, impressive visuals, and the shockingly serious soundtrack from the game against enemies with no heads who can still scream and even worse, explode, makes this game like no other. I couldn’t help feel that Croteam were just trolling me throughout the entire playthrough of eleven hours.
The overall tone isn’t the only change to the core element of previous Serious Sam games. Sam can now equip a stone mallet and crush enemies’ skulls in, or if you’re feeling rather brave, you can go hands-on and literally rip body parts off of enemies and use them as weapons when facing your next victim. While the melee attack feels slightly overpowered, it certainly doesn’t help during the latter stages of the game; there, you’ll find yourself fighting one of the most intense battles I’ve ever played in a video game before.
Iron sights and sprinting make their way into the game, helping it somewhat, but also affirming the tone of the whole thing as one huge Call of Duty parody. The sprint mechanic actually becomes incredibly useful from escaping the stupidly annoying skeletal enemies known as the Kleer, but the iron sights don’t offer any additional accuracy, from what I could tell.
Co-operative play, both online and offline, is featured for both the campaign and a new Survival Mode, which is essentially Horde Mode. Sixteen of you can play online, which makes for some of the most ridiculous gaming experiences I’ve had in a long time. Those sixty-minute levels are somewhat shortened by fifteen other lunatics with shotguns. It’s insane.
And yes, I did say offline co-operative modes for up to four of you. This is a rare feature for both PC and even console games today, so get some beer, hook your PC up to a huge TV, and get some friends round to help you blast your way through Mental’s horde of mental enemies. It’s insanely worth it, even if you do decide to rock it on your own.
Overall, Serious Sam 3: BFE is an incredible sequel to a game which is somewhat of an acquired taste. The new weapons work extremely well in the game, making it the best balanced single-player experience Croteam have ever created, and despite some levels approaching the sixty-minute mark you never feel tired from what feels like endlessly spawning enemies.