Serious Sam II Xbox Review

May 31, 2010 by Chris Wigham  
Filed under Retro Content, Retro Reviews, Xbox

With a game titled Serious Sam, you just know it’s going to be a title played with its tongue firmly in its cheek. With this said Serious Sam ironically didn’t come close to being serious, with Croteam opting for a comedy shooting gallery of a game instead. It was a FPS with an identity of its own, and the sequel wisely uses the template that made the original game so successful.

Serious Sam just wouldn’t be Serious Sam without its cheesy humour and thankfully Sam II hasn’t forgotten this all-important ingredient. The story itself would basically be trivial stuff, if it wasn’t for it’s constant sense of fun and humour. It’s a direct continuation to the events of the first game, which means Sam isn’t quite finished with his big guns and loud mouth just yet.

When it comes to describing what the game is all about, non-stop shooting suitably sums up the series, and when we say “non-stop” we’re not talking half-hearted action, we literally mean that pausing for breath is out of the question, and when the enemies start pouring in, they pour in like they are never going to stop.

These relentless minions are outlandish in every imaginable way; their looks, movements and even the sounds they make are often extremely warped. Serious Sam’s colourful universe is therefore comprised of enemies such as American football players with exploding balls, giant Barbarians wielding large axes, suicide bombers and clowns (which can be heard before you even see them) witches on broomsticks…the weird list just goes on and on.

The tools for seeing off the waves of enemies are as big as Sam’s ego, with shotguns, plasma rifles, chainguns, rocket launchers, cannons and more finding their way into Sam’s very capable hands. Croteam certainly didn’t have weapon balancing in mind when designing the bulky guns, some good examples here are the shotgun, which can be effectively used from afar and the rocket launcher just isn’t quite as devastating as you’d expect against a single target. This doesn’t matter one iota, as Sam is all about the furious action, leaving the realism for other games in the genre.

Halo has rubbed off on just about every FPS since it’s arrival, and it soon becomes obvious that Serious Sam II also borrows a few ideas from Bungie’s superb shooter. The addition of the occasional third person controlled vehicle breaks up the usual run and gun action, although their inclusion does feel like a little bit of an afterthought in the end.

Bizarrely the game doesn’t feature any sort of competitive multi-player instead resting on a cooperative mode. Having up to three people tagging along with you over Xbox Live or through system link does make things easier, especially on the harder difficulty levels, although we just can’t understand why something better wasn’t made of the multi-player modes, thus it’s a missed opportunity to say the least.

There’s some other things that stop Sam from reaching true greatness, as lying between the thousands of enemies and the wisecracks is the games one word drawback, and that is “repetition”. Shooting is always going to be a repetitive action of any FPS game, but Serious Sam II is repetition on top of repetition. The exhausting action does become a little too much at times, and you’ll probably feel like a lie down after a shooting session with Sam. You’ll sometimes feel like you have been on a marathon session, when it has only been an hour or two, such is the relentlessness of the action.

In spite of the above paragraph, constant action is one of the things that contributes to giving the game an identity all of its own, as without this breathless shooting things just wouldn’t be Serious Sam anymore. Regardless of how repetitive things become, playing Serious Sam II never becomes a tedious task, and therefore it still comes highly recommended for any serious FPS fan.

8/10

Comments

If you have any thoughts on this article - good, bad or something in-between - drop us a comment in the box below. That's the very reason it exists - so don't be shy!
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!