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Thursday | December 8, 2016
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Serious Sam HD (PC)

Serious Sam HD (PC)

If you are as old as me you will fondly remember many nights spent mindlessly shooting a bizarre array of aliens in Serious Sam. This game was so much fun that it was really hard to put it down, even when you beat it, several times. Croteam have recently released the ‘HD’ version of the game using the updated Serious 3 engine but is it really worth revisiting?

When you look back at Serious Sam the graphics while outdated, still have a certain charm and quality that only the finest games of their generation are able to pull off. Serious Sam HD looks great and Croteam have really done a great job in updating the character models and environments.

Serious Sam isn’t about a complex and multi layered story, you simply just shoot the hell out of everything you see on screen – ‘if it moves, gun it down’ is the simple premise that attracted so many gamers almost a decade ago. You have on hand a plethora of weapons to get the job done, from simple pistols and shotguns to devastating miniguns and grenade launchers. Blood and giblets will fly in all directions and Sam will pepper the proceedings with witty and snappy one liners which are reminiscent of the good old days of Duke Nukem.

The game performs very well and we tested it on a simple 2.5ghz Core 2 Duo with an Nvidia GTX 275 and we could max the settings to ultra on our 1920×1200 panel. The environments really are massive and while there is a complete lack of sophistication with the game design, it really is still so damn addictive to play. You fight wave after wave of enemy creatures and they get more intense as you progress while sucking you into the “ok, just one more wave before I stop” mentality. The graphics are still cartoonish in nature but without this the game would lose its considerable charm …. the developers have the game balancing really finely tuned. You think you have reached the absolute limit of enemies you can deal with in one sitting when you head into the next room and find an even bigger wave just appearing!

As this is basically just a remake, all the enemies we know and love make an appearance, from the simple headless bombermen to the charging mutant wildebeast that take a lot of punishment before being dispatched.

This leads us into the biggest issue with the game, and that is the fact that it is just a remake and while I appreciate that Croteam wanted to remain true to the Serious Sam mythology I still feel they could have done something with the game to bring it kicking into 2009. There are no secret levels, no new weapons, no extra campaigns and no new units or items. Sure the game isn’t a huge outlay at £16 but I am unsure as to whether the old Serious Sam purists will really feel that slapping a new engine on their game will warrant the outlay.

Those of you who have been praying for a new multiplayer mode will be sadly disappointed because there is still absolutely no multiplayer at all. A downside of the new engined version is that none of the available mods will work with SS HD either. We find it a hard pill to swallow to just expect people to pay again for the same game with new graphical effects.

Negatives aside Serious Sam HD is still an amazing game and the fact that it uses Valve’s Steamworks means that it has a strong back end interface for organising cooperative matches through. Cooperative gameplay is a strong point for a purchase because the enemy count automatically scales when two players are in the mix, if you thought there was an overload of enemies in the single player, then hook up with a buddy and we can safely say your jaw will be resting on the table. There are no shared backpacks or weapon hordes, you play the game with a buddy but you work independently with only a teleporter being any true concession to a team based setting – if one of you wanders off track too much, this keeps you in the same location. Playing Serious Sam in cooperative is one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had in a shooter all year – and yes that even includes Left4Dead2 and Modern Warfare2 !

The overall difficulty levels in the game are great, with all skill levels catered for – on tourist mode you are basically indestructible and your attacks will do double the damage and your health also will regenerate, but crank it to Mental level and the situation is almost reversed, with the enemies turning invisible as well.

So is it worth buying Serious Sam 2? If you are a fanatic of the franchise (and there are many) then I would say yes, but it is hard for me to blindly recommend a game which is exactly the same as the original with merely a new engine on the top. It looks amazing and plays great and the cooperative mode is a blast, but I just wish Croteam had went that extra step and done something different with it, even if it meant adding a new game mode or new levels.

Gameplay
90

It is still a massively addictive game, nothing has changed.
Graphics
90
I really like the new Serious engine, its very detailed and runs great on a huge variety of hardware
Sound
85
Great one liners from Sam and the weapon sounds are awesome
Value
80
If they had included something new then it would score higher. In fairness £16 isn’t a huge outlay.
Overall
85

Great fun, just like it always was.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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