Serious Sam 4 Review – Serious Sam’s Successful Return
Serious Sam 4 is a new part of a series of cult “meat” shooters about Sam Stone from the early 2000s. The first two games – The First Encounter and The Second Encounter – were remembered for the huge number of enemies on the screen and the incredible drive, which was then repeated only by the creators of Painkiller. In the end, Serious Sam 2 turned out to be not as successful as its two predecessors, and the third part was created against the background of many problems of the Croteam studio and therefore it turned out … well, this – a lot for which the series was loved, it simply did not exist: there was clearly not enough drive, Besides, for some reason the developers have written a lot of dialogues that distract from the game. The script for Serious Sam 4 also has more than two lines, but at the same time this game finally returned the feeling that the first two parts of the series gave.
What’s happening. Serious Sam 4 is a prequel to Serious Sam 3: BFE, which in turn tells about the events before The First Encounter. The global story comes down to the attack of the space villain Mental (who was never shown in the games) on Earth and the destruction of the planet – the events of the third part are devoted to this. In the finale of this game, Sam jumps into a time portal that takes him to Ancient Egypt – and now these are the events of Serious Sam: The First Encounter. In Serious Sam 2, the protagonist rushes through space, trying to find Mental, kill him and rewrite history in this way, but in the end he never gets to him.
Serious Sam 4 takes place even before the events of Serious Sam 3, when Mental just attacked Earth, and the United Army of the Planet is trying to repel his army. One of the main roles in this confrontation, of course, is played by Sam Stone – an unkillable and always tough uncle who knows how to handle any weapon and without looking at him kills monsters the size of a two-story building.
In general, Serious Sam, of course, is never about the plot, so in the rare cut-scenes of the fourth part, complete chaos is happening: all the characters are very stupid jokes, ridicule modern AAA games, speak poorly written phrases (this is, of course, on purpose) and do everything so that you do not doubt for a second that everything that happens is absolutely frivolous and only for the sake of fun.
Seriously, Serious Sam 4 is as close as possible to the first two games in terms of dynamics and design of locations, although visually it recalls Serious Sam 3. There are a lot of enemies, the levels are huge, screaming kamikaze and other enemies that you may know from previous games – in place. The key is to run backwards and try to dodge the many missiles and other projectiles flying in your direction. In short, everything is as you wanted when you thought about the sequel to Serious Sam.
Of course, no one really explains why the locations here initially look like arenas for a “meat” shooter like Serious Sam. No one hopes that you will explore the levels – although there are secrets here. This game is not about that at all – it’s about endless shooting at huge, fast, creepy creatures, of which there are dozens of them on the screen at a given moment. And the main thing is that all this is in a cooperative of up to four people. I mean, you can go through the whole game alone, but with friends, of course, it’s much more fun.
The number of enemies in Serious Sam 4 is another story. For their new game, Croteam has created a system of “legions”, which means that hundreds of enemies can be on the screen at the same time. Literally. The episodes where the developers confront Sam with such a number of opponents are few, most often these are more familiar battles for fans of the series, but at the very beginning Serious Sam 4 will hint at what it can become by the end.
What it looks like. Pretty bad, to be sure. I don’t know what exactly the problem is – the engine itself or the team’s artists, strange lighting or unwillingness to make the models more detailed, and so on. Most likely, the main reason is precisely that all the resources consumed by the game are spent on crowds of enemies and maintaining a stable frame rate, but the fact remains. Are poor graphics spoiling the game? Not at all – but you need to be prepared for this.
Whom to take. To fans of the series – definitely. This is a game that clearly follows the gameplay principles of the early parts of the series, and that’s great – apart from Doom, there is no one to single out in the genre of “meat” shooters.
Who shouldn’t take it. Serious Sam 4 tries very hard to stick to the early games in the series, and this can be a problem for those who are not ready for this kind of gameplay – without a serious plot and quality presentation.