Throughout the history of the first-person shooter we have seen the genre evolve and refine itself over and over. Today’s flavor du jour is the military first-person shooter, a la Call of Duty or Battlefield, but I am happy to report that there is more out there, something different. There is another game out there that goes against the military FPS mold and takes FPS fans to a place they haven’t been in a while. That game is Serious Sam 3: BFE – a game with an old-school FPS flavor but new graphics and an engine upgrade that brings the franchise to new heights. Yes, this is a special game.
There have been a number of games featuring Serious Sam this year, including Serious Sam: The Random Encounter. This, however, is an official sequel and the game you really want to play. For those who are curious, the Serious Sam franchise first appeared in 2001 on the PC, where all the sequels have been released. Sam is a gun-wielding, one-liner-spouting man’s man out to kill as many aliens as he can as violently as he can. He accomplishes all this while saving the world and getting the girl at the same time. This all sounds a lot like Duke Nukem, but the big difference between the two is Duke Nukem Forever is a terrible game while Serious Sam 3: BFE is a great game. Let’s get more into the title, shall we?
Let’s start off by saying that this is a modern FPS, so it features the graphics and gameplay you would expect from such a release. The gameplay is your standard FPS gameplay, so if you’ve played first-person shooter games before, then the controls should feel very familiar to you. The game is mainly a shoot-em-up, so you’ll be doing plenty of that. The game doesn’t really believe in having to use cover, so the best strategy is to just run and gun. The better you can strafe while tossing out as many projectiles as you can, the better you will do in the game. There are a few very light puzzle elements, but they almost aren’t worth mentioning.
The graphics look clean and crisp, and the game runs well on a modern gaming rig. The engine itself does a nice job overall. However, it does have to make a few trade-offs that can harm the quality of the game. Anyone who has played a Serious Sam game knows that games in the series love to release hordes of enemies upon the player at once, and Serious Sam 3: BFE is no exception to this – the engine was optimized to draw in as many enemies on the screen as it can. Unfortunately, when you are getting overrun the engine gets overwhelmed as well and the graphics slip a little bit. It isn’t all that noticeable in the midst of the chaos, but it’s there. Outside of this, everything else runs fairly well, so it’s a small complaint.
What makes this game great is its ability to deliver an experience reminiscent of an old-school FPS while modernizing it for the new generation of gamers. If you ever played Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein 3D or any other FPS game from 1999 or earlier, this is going to speak to you. It appeals to the people who would rather not deal with politics or an overly dramatic story in their games. It is for people who would rather grab a sledgehammer, slam it into an alien’s head, and have it explode in front of them in a shower of blood and gore. Many games try to capture the style and fun of classic FPS games, but few succeed as well this game does. It is a simple, linear adventure that really doesn’t pretend to be anything other than an in-your-face FPS. It’s that simplicity and attention to detail that elevates this game to a place where few FPS games go.
Overall, this game is a blast, plain and simple. It’s over-the-top violence combined with a classic feel, and is going to hit the sweet spot for those classic PC gamers out there. If you want to take on a horde of screaming headless kamikazes, then you’ve found the right game. This is a Serious Sam game through and through – it knows why you got it, and it gives you what you’ve come for. It also manages to be different enough that you feel as if you got your money’s worth. If this game appeals to you at all, we would highly recommend you go out and get a copy. You’ll have a blast.
[xrr rating=9/10, max_stars=10]
This review is based on a review copy of the Steam version of Serious Sam 3: BFE by Croteam.