I first played Serious Sam DD XXL WTF BBQ when I was drunk. Like really drunk. And it didn't make me laugh.
Now, obviously, if you can't make a drunk idiot laugh you've got a problem and this is a game that tries *really* hard to be funny. Oh god does it try to be funny.
At first I thought it was me. Did I not get the jokes? Did I really not find flying monkeys hilarious? So I decided to sober up and when I did, I realised that no, it wasn’t me. It was probably something that was lost in translation. Which would also explain a few weird spelling errors.
So without the humour, what do you have? Well, SSDDXXL is a contra-em-up where the aim is guide a jerky, sexless mannequin through a series of Serious Sam staple levels, shooting down progressively more 'wacky' enemies and solving rudimentary shooting puzzles. Along the way you pick up a mountain of extra guns, health and, hidden in the nooks and crannies, a particular powerup that forms the meat of the game and the main focus of all these shenanigans. In most games, if you pick up a weapon, you swap it for your current one. In this game, you stick it to the current one.
Veering off piste allows you to find, basically, Space Meccano. Meccano that allows you to stack one gun on top of the other, on top of the other, on top of the other. Im sure there is some kind of tactical methodology behind this but throwing everything into the stack along with a chainsaw for the grunts who get too close seems to work fine. After wandering around for a while and picking up enough stacky things, you end up with a gun that is as tall as you are and fires a million bullets a second which is cool, right?
The problem is that, at least on the default difficultly level, this makes the game an absolute piece of piss. Added to checkpointing literally every thirty seconds and levels that you can just run through without killing anyone and you can finish this in one sitting. I do get the impression that this is almost deliberate and the game is meant to be played through again and again to wring everything out of it, so if you are into that kind of grind, you may be OK.
So, to boil it down to its elements, you have a comedy game that isn’t funny, a central mechanic that makes the game desperately easy and graphics that actually look kind of good close up but appear to have been hand animated out of cardboard in play. It’s a shame, really, as the shooting is decent, the weapons are good and the levels are actually quite well thought out but when a spawn portal opens and you direct six guns at it, just sitting there motionless until they all die, it gets kind of boring.
*NOTE: I didn’t play co-op which, to be fair, is the games main selling point over the old PC version. It actually looks like it could be a really good laugh, so if you and your friends love a bit of Serious Sam, you could probably do worse than take a punt, I suppose.
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