Serious Sam 3: BFE|
I know what you’re thinking right now. “A game with BFE actually in the title…this is going Legendary!!” While unfortunately it doesn’t stand for what I would like it to, it doesn’t make the XBLA release of Serious Sam 3: BFE any less awesome. Serious Sam came to be back when shooters were more about killing every living thing out to get you on the screen than the graphical advancements and realism of today. Today’s generation has Master Chief, Commander Sheppard and Soap MacTavish whereas my favorite era gave us three of the original badasses: Doomguy, Duke Nukem and last but not least, Sam “Serious” Stone. Serious Sam 3: BFE was originally released on PC last year and now after many requests, has been given the port treatment to consoles.
Serious Sam 3: BFE, despite being the third in the series, takes place before Serious Sam: The First Encounter, during Mental’s invasion of Earth. Sam is sent into retrieve Dr. Stein, a scientist uncovering hieroglyphics in modern Egypt, who has discovered a potential way to unlock an ancient device called the Time-Lock. However Sam’s helicopter is promptly shot down in route after a quick song sound-alike and some cracks involving drugs and a good time. Sam flies out of the helicopter for lack of a seatbelt…real men don’t use them apparently and crashes into a building, unsurprisingly without a scratch. Then it’s off to grab the nearest weapon and create enemy giblets all over Egypt.
I’ve always been a big fan of Serious Sam over the years for a couple reasons. For starters, the series is all about pure intense “pull the trigger and see what happens” madness and secondly they haven’t changed that formula. When I picked up my controller to play Serious Sam 3: BFE for the first time I felt like I never stopped playing the original. Now, I did have a chance to play the PC version when it released and for the most part the gameplay is almost identical. Control wise, Serious Sam 3: BFE handles almost as smoothly as its counterpart with a controller. The basic controls for Sam are really simple, which is needed for the fast paced gunfights that will ensue the moment you start playing.
The enemies start out somewhat mellow with the one-eyed Gnaars and Beheaded Rocketeers and build you up gradually until you are facing off against a mixed assortment of enemies all at once. Among some of the most feared enemies that would make even a Spartan turn tail is the huge Arachnoid with built-in chain guns and the screaming swarms ofKamikaze that make grunts with plasma grenades look like child’s play. There is nothing more frightening than hearing a dozen or so bomb-head Kamikazes charging your position from two blocks away. Sam, at first, only has access to his fists and a sledgehammer, one of coolest weapons in the game personally, but you’ll soon get reacquainted with Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson. You’ll also gain access to shotguns, assault rifles, rocket launchers and many more weapons as you progress. The best part is that you can carry every weapon at once as well as a very high amount of ammo for most of them.
Unlike most modern shooters, Serious Sam 3: BFE also doesn’t have a fancy cover system or regenerating health bar to rely. This franchise comes from a time where you basically have to man up and take every bullet and hit if you can’t get out of the way of whatever’s trying to kill you. Instead, you have to rely on finding health, ammo and armor in the forms of glowing pill bottles, medpaks, ammo boxes and body armor to have even the slightest chance at making it out alive, especially on the harder difficulties. All of these can be found by exploring out in the open as well as in buildings. There are a number of secret areas hidden throughout the game that you can search for to find bonus loot or perfect those chapter stats on future replays.
As I mentioned before, Serious Sam 3: BFE is a port of the PC version. Unfortunately a few things were lost in the translation including a few game modes and most notably the graphics. I half expected the console version of Serious Sam 3: BFE to take a hit graphically when I found out that they ported it and I was proven right. BFE on the 360 loses a lot of the finer texture details that the PC version has though not for the reasons that you might think. While the reduced graphical quality results in some jagged edges, texture pop, and less detailed environments, these limitations actually helps the game run more smoothly on the console version and for once I’m okay with it. A little saddened, but if the game runs well with little resulting issues then let the madness ensue. When I’m strafe firing giant monsters and trying to keep from being tomato paste on the streets of Egypt, I’m not exactly wondering why that wall doesn’t look as pretty.
One thing that Serious Sam 3: BFE has going for it is the audio department. The music is excellent and fast paced when it needs to be as it perfectly captures and drives the moment as you’re firing hot lead and explosives to keep yourself alive. Sam Stone is still voiced by John J. Dick who delivers many an awesome and witty yet clichéd one-liner in the same style that Serious Sam fans know and love. Even if the humor is actually spoken, little things like humming a few familiar themes at just the right moment are hilarious even if you don’t get the joke right away. And not to worry the sound effects are on point as you hear every gunshot, explosion and terrifying Kamikaze all in Dolby Digital Surround sound.
Serious Sam 3: BFE still has a lot of game modes to offer including the ability to play the entire game and its available DLC, “Jewel of the Nile” offering three additonal story chapters with another person locally or online with up to three others. For an extra bit of insanity there are 6 different difficulties including the “Serious” and “Mental” modes that will test even the most patient of players. For those wanting more of a “Serious” challenge there is a Survival mode as well as some online or local multiplayer action such as Team Deathmatch and Capture The Flag to name a few. It’s also worth noting that you must get the “Jewel of the Nile” DLC to play all multiplayer versus modes. The core game is single-player only.
Serious Sam 3: BFE is a perfect example of a franchise that has continued to come out with a kick ass experience without changing the formula to suit the times. While other game series change and evolve to keep the fans coming back, Croteam delivers once again with an awesome blast from my youth with Serious Sam 3: BFE on the Xbox LIVE Arcade. Grab a copy and your trusty shotgun - things are about to get Serious.