Duke Nukem, Doom Guy, Lo Wang, Caleb focus of today’s affection “Serious” Sam Stone, if you don’t know these names I’ll presume you aren’t part of the “Boomer shooter” craze and I’ll try not to judge you. If you know these and know Sam, it’s time to see if Mr. Stone is serious about his return to the Nintendo platform. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Because I don’t do this often allow me to indulge you about a little “issue” I have. Every time I put down a Serious Sam game, another ends up being played/replayed, I recently finished up Serious Sam 4 which I really really enjoyed, taking a well-earned break I ended up receiving a review code for the Serious Collection. Not an issue, shouldn’t be too time-consuming, should it? Well that’s what I thought but I’m many hours deep into these games that I’ve played many times before and enjoyed just as much as always, this is a testament to how good Serious Sam is.
So the Serious Collection contains the following titles.
Serious Sam First Encounter HD
Serious Sam Second Encounter HD
Serious Sam Second Encounter HD – Legend of the Beast
Serious Sam 3 BFE
Serious Sam 3 BFE – Jewel of the Nile.
So that is 3 full titles and 2 DLC expansions which considering the asking price of £26.99 is an absolute steal in my opinion.
Serious Sam First And Second Encounters are the first classic outings of Serious Sam with an HD coat, released a few years back on Steam, Ps3 and X Box 360 combined they basically comprise the first Serious Sam game.
The First Encounter has a little less level diversity than Second Encounter does and the Second Encounter is a much tougher experience, perfectly complimenting as a follow on for the first one.
These titles see our hero Sam “Serious” Stone traveling back in time to stop the alien menace known as Mental before he manages to win the battle and enslave humanity again. The narrative isn’t exactly strong gripping stuff but it serves a purpose for putting Sam, in Egypt, with guns and one-liners.
The key with these games is in the gameplay and they are basically one of those “Boomer shooters” us old ‘uns rave about involving circle-strafing, running backward and hordes and hordes of enemies to introduce to a diverse and fun roster of guns.
The levels while well designed are created more for the purpose of connecting a bunch of arenas together rather than storytelling and exploration like other shooters such as Duke Nukem. Serious Sam excels when you are thrown into a giant field or arena and given literally hundreds of different enemies to take down.
The main hook of the game is the enemy management, every battle you’ll be working out the best order to take the enemies down in to give yourself the best chance of winning that battle. There are sections with puzzles and a little exploration including secret areas but the bulk of the game is, running and gunning.
Now if you’re familiar with the games you know exactly what to expect here, for those not so familiar it is a fantastic old-school shooter with such radical features as a Score System! Remember them, kids?.
Performance on the Encounter games is 60 fps, no issues what so ever, felt great in both handheld and docked, and should you want to favor graphics over performance, every game on the collection has the choice to tweak the graphics to do so which is a fantastic feature.
Serious Sam 3 BFE and its DLC content are where the package gets a little murky. The game for better or worse took a lot of inspiration from shooters that released around that time, namely Modern Warfare style shooters. Once again Sam is in Egypt, set a little before the first encounter, I wonder what BFE stands for!.
Serious Sam 3 is more of a corridor shooter at points, it has horrible underground sections and the pacing is quite slow compared to the 2 prior titles in this collection.
Now, this isn’t to say the game isn’t as good, sure it has a focus on melee, reloading, and aiming down the sights but there are genuine Serious Sam moments, thrown in the middle of a giant area with only your guns and the ability to run to help dispose of a giant horde.
The main issue with Serious Sam 3 and it’s something I expected when this game got announced is the performance, something that has been an issue for previous console ports.
Serious Sam 3 graphically has A LOT going on, particles, a lot of scenery, explosions, set pieces, blood splattering, it’s a nice looking game when not in motion and set on the graphic setting. The issue is you hit stuttering, sub 20fps and it just isn’t the way you should play Serious Sam, like playing it constantly underwater.
There is also the option of Performance which jagged and vasolened up the whole game making it run a lot smoother but still wasn’t quite the standards set by the first two.
Would I suggest playing Serious Sam 3? Yes, it’s still very playable, and my personal feelings on the campaign flip flop all the time but I still think it’s a good FPS and ran well enough in Handheld mode that I can play one of the Underground sections, go do something else then jump right back in.
Multiplayer on all titles understandably takes a hit in local, its split-screen so you can understand dropped frames and reduced visuals. There is also online multiplayer but unfortunately as of the time of writing, we were unable to test this feature.
The Serious Collection is a fantastic time capsule of shooters, the Nintendo Switch is becoming the “Go to” console for the more classic shooters and Serious Sam is a fantastic purchase. While it may initially seem quite pricey, the amount of content and replayability of the games means you’ll more than get your money’s worth out of Sam. Let’s face it, this is now the best portable Serious Sam!.
Some Seriously essential FPS action for your console of choice