Over the past few months it has seemed like all the gaming world cares about is Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, at least for shooters anyway. With their huge marketing budgets and fanbases it is hard for any other title to compete for space but that didn’t stop Croteam from trying with their latest Serious Sam title- Serious Sam 3: BFE. Bucking the trend of the realistic war titles BFE is a game with a less serious take on FPS, stylistically and thematically it is a throwback to earlier gameplay offering us a nostalgic yet modern Doom-style shooting experience.
Set in Egypt this is a prequel to Serious Sam: The First Encounter and takes place at the beginning of Lord Mental’s invasion of Earth. Our job is to get to the Cairo Museum and secure a scientist who thinks he has the key to saving Earth. Needless to say our helicopter gets shot by down some of the pesky Alien invaders and we have to make our way on foot to the scientist battling through various types of alien enemies as we go.
In Serious Sam 3: BFE we play as Sam "serious" Stone either as a solo campaign or as part of a 16 player co-operative campaign or 4 player splitscreen. We spend the game kicking alien kicking ass all over Egypt trying to stop the numinous and varied legions of Lord Metal from taking over the Earth. The game is an unashamed no thrills FPS, it does this very well and has a tongue in cheek style that is all its own.
Combat is the main aspect of our gaming experience with just enough cut scenes to keep the plot tenable. The combat, which can be viewed from first or third person perspectives, is all about the firearms… there are no air support of artillary strikes for Serious Sam, no gadgets either with the exception of the NETRICSA (NEuro-TRonically Implanted Combat Situation Analyser), which serves as an in-game, catalogue of enemies and weapons.
Keeping things fun ammunition, weapons and even enemies are plentiful; the game frequently fills the wider open spaces with endless amounts of all three and as a result the gameplay very straight forward, shoot everything that moves. And keeping in the same, pick up, play and have fun theme the controls are standard too. Mouse looks and shoots, keyboard moves, runs jumps and ducks. The games play is best summed up the game tag line "ALL MAN. NO COVER".
Graphics and Audio
Serious Sam is a good looking game, the environments are well rendered and the vast majority of objects are destroyable with the many weapons that we can carry in our extra-large pockets. Each of these weapons has a unique visual and audio effect and the enemy forces are also clearly individual with highly detailed visual and audio characteristics.
The enemy movement, as well as our own movements, both in first and third person perspectives are smooth and in general the graphic are extremely detailed even if this isn’t the most photorealistic game ever.
For audio we found that the sound track is massively obtrusive. It bursts into life when we are near some enemies are fades away once all the work is done. When we encounter a boss this unsubtle audio clue is ramped up a level by playing the bespoke Serious Sam 3 BFE theme tune by Croatian heavy metal outfit UNDERCODE. Overall nothing spectacular but it does the job.
Serious Sam 3 BFE is what Duke Nukem Forever should have been. It is fun, enjoyable gory gaming with not so humorous witty one liners thrown in for extra cringe (or enjoyment) factor. It was always going to be a "retro" style game but to its credit takes advantage of modern technology by adding graphics quality past the level of its predecessors. The levels are a real surprise though, they have the reassuring feel of an on the rails FPS but are actually quite expansive and conceal a large number of secret areas, frequent ammo, armour and health caches and numerous pockets of monstrous resistance for us to blast.
The only down side to it all is that replay value is pretty low for the campaign, this is not a game which will be played through again and again. That said the 16 player cooperative gaming mode and the 4 way split screen mode really amplify the fun, helping Serious Sam 3 stand out from the crowd and in our opinion the cooperative gaming mode is the best way to play so be sure to grab a few friends and purchase together.
There is also a nice selection of bonus content available in packages such as the Deluxe Edition… additional characters and weapons, making of videos, giftable versions of the first two Serious Sam games etc.
Serious Sam 3 BFE is a nichè game, ideal for those that like the over the top humour, loud soundtrack and a turn the brain off action. 75%