Review: Serious Sam 3 BFE
Serious Sam, for those who don’t know, originally spawned from a time in the mid-nineties, when the likes of Duke Nukem and Doom were fledgling games and when the Amiga, Mega Drive and SNES ruled the gaming world. Me, I was a Doom kinda guy. Sam never made my wish-list as I was too busy scaring my pants off in the dark, playing Doom with the stereo sound up, so I never got the play the original.
This version has been updated, and you can tell within the opening scenes, even before the menus, as Sam’s gravelled tones tell you all you need to know on the campaign mode’s background. The good thing about this, is, that it is literally all you need to know. Throughout the missions, your goals are quite clearly laid out. Kill the aliens, acquire something, activate something, and come home alive. Simple? Not by half.
The game starts off with Sam and Alpha team heading to 22nd century Cairo to recover the instructions on powering up the Time-lock and saving the human race. As is normal in these kinds of first person shooters, your team have to be killed off in order for you to become that lone crusader and this is no different, with your oddly 20th century-looking chopper taking a hit, you’re thrown from your seat and you end up several miles from your objective in very hostile territory.
This territory, in downtown ruined Cairo is well rendered, even if the cut-scenes are a little jerky. The visuals take you into a battle-ruined city which evidently hasn’t changed much in the past 200 years. Getting to grips with your controls is easy and you soon find yourself in need of your attack skills when you meet and greet your first enemy. The enemies themselves move well and very rapidly, as your first encounter is with the much-changed from the original, Gnaar. These are huge one-eyed beasts that shamble towards you at pace and frankly you might be forgiven for thinking you don’t stand a chance. A quick tap of the RT later and you’ve got yourself a nice souvenir as you pop his eye out with your bare hands. Welcome to Serious Sam. This is as far as any tutorial goes if truth be told. You’re pretty much left to your own devices when it comes to figuring the controls out. The left stick controls movement, you can jump with the Left Bumper. The right stick aims and looks around, while the Right Trigger shoots or hits. The X reloads and the A is an action button. The D-Pad allows you to select any other weapons you may have, and you can collect and carry all 13 that are available in the game.
There are plenty of glowing pick-ups for you to grab, and it’s usually a simple case of running over them to pick them up. Health packs are plenty to start with and you can also pick up the standard armour, ammo and other weapons. Collect as much as you can, as the action gets pretty hairy pretty quickly, with you often outnumbered and desperately looking for somewhere to reload so you can blindly empty another clip in and around the approaching enemies.
Enemies themselves are varied and plentiful. From the relatively small Headless Rocketeer to the huge Sirian Werebull, to the Dreadnought-esque, rocket firing, Major Biomechanoid, these inflict varying damage and are best taken out as quickly as possible. As you’d expect from a game set in the future and featuring aliens, your quarry comes in many shapes, sizes, strengths and potency. By far the most annoying, both in their uncanny ability to pick you out and finish you off and their sound are the Headless Kamikaze, who run at you, full speed while clutching two explosive devices and screaming at the top of their volume. Quite how they can scream with no head is a matter I’m going to leave to Dr. Christian. The only benefit I can see for this is that you know when you’re being attacked. Each alien hybrid has their own grunt, the Gnaar for example sound like angry bulls and when you kill them they let out a satisfying grunt and slide limply to a stop. The background music also lets you know when there are aliens nearby. The music goes from a slow, strumming electric guitar to all hell breaking loose from Slash’s fingertips. This makes a refreshing change from the usual Drum & Bass or worst still, Dubstep, that usually accompanies this kind of game and it suits it well. Take out the current wave of enemies and the music sedates itself once more.
Progress in the levels is as fast or as slow as you’d like, depending on how gung-ho you are feeling. Bearing in mind that you can get outnumbered very quickly and most likely get blown up by those screaming Headless Kamikaze, I opted for a more cautious approach and took my time over creeping forwards and getting killed rather than rushing forwards and getting killed. That said, it’s a lot of fun either which way you approach it and handy autosave points mean that if you do die, you’re never very far back from where you copped it, armed with a little more knowledge and hoping not to make the same mistake twice.
Also included in this edition are a couple of extra modes. Survival mode is great fun, if a little challenging. The whole point is to survive against a horde of aliens for as long as possible. There are a couple of arenas to choose from, each with a huge array of weapons to pick up and use. In truth, this is where I got used to the controls. The aiming can be a little on the jerky side from time to time, as a slight touch on the stick sends the crosshairs off on some quest over the other side of the creature bearing down on you, before a minute adjustment gets them just right, they turn green and its blammo, goodnight alien. Beast Hunt mode pits you against your companion in a normal campaign mode whilst tallying up your scores to see who kills the most and then there is the classic Deathmatch mode.
It goes without saying that fans of the original Serious Sam series will like this version. It’s harkens back to the original 3D release and takes it to another level, with the addition of up to 16 multiplayer co-op campaign mode, survival and beast hunt modes as well, this is a lot of game for your money and worth it’s 1200MS Points price tag. There are secrets to unlock and later weapons to find. Grab one of these and you’ll be well on your way from moving from Tourist difficulty to try easy. Once I’d got into it, I thoroughly enjoyed running away from the Headless Kamikaze, firing wildly until it exploded with a satisfyingly wet sound and looking around desperately to see where that Gnaar was coming at me from. This game will have you in fits of paranoia whilst playing it, and the more this happens, the better.
Review: Serious Sam 3 BFE Results
What we liked:
Lots of weapons
Easy to pick up and play
What we disliked:
Difficulty curve a little too steep
Slightly over-sensitive controls