Sam’s back! It’s time to get serious….big guns, big monsters & even bigger explosions are due but does it live up to the high expectations? Or does it end up in the same hall of shame as Duke? Serious Sam 3: BFE (Before First Encounter) is the first new Sam game in the series for quite a few years, in that time first person shooters have come a long way. Serious Sam 3 has a lot to live up to…..
Serious Sam 3: BFE is a prequel, set before the first game & during the invasion of Earth mentioned in The First Encounter by the alien Mental. Humanity has been beaten back to the point of extinction & the last remaining survivors are searching for the ‘time lock’, a device that can send a single person back in time (sound familiar?)
The first thing that I notice when starting the single player campaign is that those going in expecting the trademark colourful art style of previous Serious Sam games may be disappointed. The 3rd game in the series has an updated & more realistic look about it, it’s still colourful & bright but it feel’s more authentic. I think it looks great, up close buildings look dirty & grimy yet accessible. The distant sun looks bright & hot with the wind blowing desert sands across Sam’s view. Although screen tear is noticeable as well…
The first few levels of Serious Sam are really misleading for those expecting the usual epic & open levels. They take place in a destroyed & deserted city in Egypt & sees Sam moving through closed & tight environments. It might be outside but it might as well be corridor after corridor with the occasional open courtyard for a battle. Enemies are scarce, weapons even more so….it is all very boring & is quite a departure from the usual Sam style.
Thankfully it changes tack soon enough & the more familiar sight of a wide-open world with lots of enemies coming at you takes centre stage. The levels might look like you could wander far off into the distance but I wouldn’t advise it….something lives out there in the sand.
So enemies then…..not much different going on. The usual are here from all from varying size, from the small & annoying when surrounded to the huge rocket launching enemies that require a hefty load of bullets to take down. Talking of which….Start a gun fight? Expect the dust to be kicked up to obscure your view & the blood to flow. Blood….there is plenty of that. Using a double barrel shotgun up close will result in a shower of the stuff, gun & run & you know you are making an impact, it looks really good.
All your favourite weapons are here starting with the lowly sledgehammer & pistol. As you progress through the game other weapons become available & soon you will be blowing up Mental’s army with rocket launchers & lasers.
A new melee option on certain enemies adds something different to the game, let one of the smaller ones get close & press the necessary button. Sam will perform an execution usually leaving you with a part of said enemy in your hands (eyeball, head etc.).
The size of the single player content meant they had to separate the single player & multi-player. I understand that but it does cause 1 major problem….not many have taken the plunge & bought the multi-player yet. Finding games to play is a bit of a challenge, a lot of waiting & should you get in a game don’t expect it to be more then you versus 1 or 2 others. Hopefully this will change as the multi-player is pretty good.
The usual are here….Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing etc. As well as those favoured modes there are a couple of fun new ones such as Instant Kill which sees every player dying with 1 bullet. My Burden sees the player who holds the burden item score rise, the other players have to get it off them. There is also Beast Hunt & Team Beast Hunt which sees you facing off against other players in the hunt for beasts.
With plenty of maps of all sizes & private matches available the content is plentiful.
The matches can become quite frantic when a group of players all converge on one area (normally where the best weapons are) with rockets & bullets flying everywhere. It’s not breaking new ground in the first-person shooter category but it easily holds its own.
Lastly don’t forget the staple of a Serious Sam game…..co-op! You can play with up to 4 people online & locally. Serious Sam 3: BFE becomes oh so less serious when played with others.
Overall it’s a great addition to the franchise, it isn’t giving us anything new but it stands high & proud as a very good game even if the pricing is a bit suspect.
Serious Sam 3: BFE
The Final Score - 7/10
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