Release Date: 11/22/2011
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The Good: Fantastic game engine, some awesome looking enemies, lots of shooting, fun multiplayer
The Bad: Boring and monotonous halfway through, boring art style, disappointing weapon arsenal, not enough enemies, no one is really playing online, Sam’s quips aren’t as funny as past games
Serious Sam is one of the original old school shooters where you just shot everything on sight. Forget about story, gameplay, cinematic events, or anything else. Serious Sam is one of the less popular FPS series which is shadowed by Doom, Quake, and Duke Nukem. BFE doesn’t really do anything new, or add anything new, except a spiffy new engine which is seriously wasted. The game is repetitive, lacks any awesome guns (except a couple), and the same handful of enemies thousands of times over. BFE is mainly for newcomers because only the super hardcore fans will truly enjoy this (if that).
The story is paper-thin with Sam trying to stop an alien invasion, that’s it. This is the prequel to First Encounter, but who really cares? The game tries to be a bit different by starting off slow with a sledgehammer and introducing awesome melee attacks to show off the new engine. You acquire a pistol then the shotgun, then more guns as the game goes on. There are dozens of secret areas everywhere (I couldn’t find a single one for some reason). You shoot thousands of enemies throughout the game but in extremely difficult waves that can be in the hundreds.
I honestly felt that my arsenal was underwhelmed by these vast amount of enemies the game throws at you. The most effective weapons were the cannon, C4, and Devastator, but the ammo for those are pretty rare (except C4). All the rest were pretty useless except the minigun which was good at reducing crowds in a wide area but ate up ammo quick. I can’t tell you how boring the game got by the end and it will really test your endurance. I played on the Easy setting and still got my ass kicked some times. For the hell of it I tried it on the hardest difficulty and it was impossible. I couldn’t get past the third level it was that hard. By the last level you are thrown probably a few thousand enemies with wave after wave that takes you about 45 minutes to chew through. The waves get so big that I back pedaled half the level to get some breathing rooms in some areas.
When it comes to looks BFE is impressive for a DirectX 9 game. This is the most customizable PC game ever made when it comes to graphics options. There are options here I have never even heard of! There’s about 45 options, but when you max the game out it looks amazing, but it sadly wasted on a bland and boring art style. Everything is brown and dead with nothing interesting to look at. Halfway through the game I couldn’t take it anymore, but finished it anyways. I do have to say that I am disappointed that Sam’s macho quips that aren’t as funny this time around as previous games. They just seem stale and are pretty mellow, oh well.
Multiplayer is where BFE shines, but no one is playing online. During my entire week of playing the campaign I logged in at different times of the day and night and maybe got 1 or 2 people playing if I was lucky. The server list is almost always empty which is sad. This is a game that you will have to get buddies to go LAN on. When I did get a tiny game going it was addictive and felt very old school with fast movement, lots of jumping, and twitch reaction shooting. There are some neat modes, but I never got to play most of them because this game is nearly abandoned despite Croteam releasing a patch about 2 weeks ago.
I can only recommend this to hardcore FPS fans and hardcore fans of past Sam games. The campaign is nothing special and gets incredibly boring and monotonous halfway through, not to mention freaking tough as nails. The weapon arsenal is disappointing and there are only a handful of different enemies. There isn’t enough new here to make it a true sequel, but the game looks damn good. For the low price it is worth a fun play through, but don’t expect tons of people to be playing online.