Serious-Sam-3:-BFE-XBLA-Review Serious Sam 3: BFE XBLA Review

   17/10/2012 at 16:38       ALex Vaughan       1 COMMENTS. - Score 5/5
 - Serious Sam 3, XBLA, Shooter, Aliens, FPS

The latest ‘not just a HD remake’ game in the Serious Sam series really breaks new ground not just on PC but on its new home, the Xbox 360. For 1200 space points you get yourself a unique, never before seen shooter fresher than milk sucked straight from the udder.

Alright alright maybe not, but what we do have here is the same brilliant ridiculousness the Sam series is known for. Anyone who knows what I’m talking about when 30 guys with fucking bombs for hands, come charging at you going AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH, as you desperately try take them down with whatever ridiculous weapons you’ve got at your disposal, this is more of that. If you like that, love it even, just go buy it and get that grin plastered on your face sooner rather than later.

The game brilliantly introduces its actual new mechanic with the very first enemy you encounter. With no weapons, a classic (but spruced up) Gnaar enemy comes charging at you while you’re prompted to ‘melee’ by pressing A. Upon doing this Sam grabs this things huge cyclops eye and rips it from its head in a spray of blood and goo. Holding it in his hand like a trophy, you’re free to chuck it over the rooftops. It’s gory and satisfying, and instantly tells you what kind of game you’re playing from the off.

This is not Call of Duty.

Most enemies of relative human size (which is to say, a few, as Serious Sam loves to chuck its building high rocket toting beasts at you too) you can one-hit-kill melee attack in a gruesome or amusing way. The only caveat is that you must be up close and personal, and endure a second long cutscene to pull it off. In a game like this with 30 enemies on you at once, it’s not the safest thing to do, but a satisfying mechanic none the less. (For Sam veterans, you can do this on those bastard skeleton ‘Kleers’ too).

Another mainstay of the series are its secrets. Levels are packed with them, to secret items tucked away, secret weapons, shortcuts and new areas, exploration is thoroughly rewarded. A tip for you guys, while holding the eye just discussed, face the direction the enemy came from, look up at the sky, and chuck it as far as you can. You know what comes flying back at your face? A fucking shotgun that’s what. BOOM. Sam is a game which lets you have end-game weapons in the first few levels, lasers, rocket launchers, the best double shotgun in a game ever, because you did something stupid and got rewarded for it. Sam is a game that gives you a CANNON as a weapon and lets you fire FLAMING CANNON BALLS at the mass of enemies which come your way. If all of this sounds hugely familiar, as in exactly the same as all the other games in the series, you would be right. It is. The same weapons, the same enemies, the same ol’ Sam, but somehow it hasn’t gotten tired yet. It’s like Team 17 manage to keep Worms alive and exciting after all this years, Croteam do an amazing job of keeping the grin on your face after all this time.

Admittedly it does get off to a bit of a slow start. Stuck in dusty Arabic towns, reminiscent of every shooter what seems like the last 500 years, you trundle through with a couple of exciting moments, but spend far too long turning off enemy turrets and taking pot shots at guys with your rifle scope. It doesn’t take long for the game to open up though, and with the expanse of the Egyptian desert once again your battlefield, you’re quickly back in the groove. Wide open areas, hundreds of enemies, endless ammo and weaponry to take everything down, this is why we play these games and Serious Sam 3 certainly delivers. With the new beefed up graphic engine, which looks great on 360 (absolutely stunning on PC if anyone is wondering, with the game out on Steam too since 2011), this is Sam in new clothes. Okay he’s humming the same tune, but so what? It doesn’t have to be new and unique to be great fun, and this is simply what this is. When you’re mowing things down left right and centre along with the frankly brilliant soundtrack, you’re not going to be disappointed.

It does get a fair few things wrong to be fair. Many of the secret areas require precision platforming, and any attempt to simply jump on a barrel sends Sam doing anything but other than looking up at the sky and leaving you bewildered. While the many times I was left wandering around in circles with no map, radar or indication of where you need to go can be frustrating, it doesn’t happen too often to take away from the experience itself. 
At the beginning of the game a helicopter comes into view toting your traditional military soldiers, and Sam. He’s sitting there wearing a stupid t-shirt, stupid sunglasses, and speaks in a stupid voice, while somehow radiating the epic cool of the hero that he is and will become. This is a prequel game of sorts, if you actually care why the world is full of aliens to destroy, but any back story is left from Sam himself. He’s simply the hero guy and you don’t need an introduction; you see him and you know this guy is going to kick some ass. That’s all you need too, you’re the hero come to save the world and that’s that.

Croteam manage to give the world you’re in enough life, with the graffiti covered walls which translate into interesting little messages and Egyptian mythology strewn about, that the world you’re in it’s actually a believable place to be where this character fits in perfectly. Despite all the ridiculousness that Serious Sam brings to the table, it’s well detailed and fleshed out and believable in its own way.

You should play this if you want a fun shooting romp through Egypt against hordes of alien beasties with great weaponry, blood and explosions. It has a healthy co-op mode for the entire game for up to four buddies, which is a great laugh especially if you crank up the difficulty. The enemy count increases too for each additional member of the team, creating serious mayhem in the process. There is a bit of tearing on the 360 version and the framerate can occasionally dip, so if this bothers you go for the PC version, but this is a valuable and great addition to the XBLA line-up.

Call of Duty is just around the corner if this isn’t enough for you, but as a somewhat budget release on 360, this should fill the gap nicely if anyone wants some mindless shooting entertainment.

Also you get a freaking CANNON BALL GUN.

Stars
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