Serious Sam 4 developed by Croteam and published by Devolver Digital is available now on PC and Google Stadia, and will later release on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Serious Sam is back and this time we have a storyline, which is pretty strange for this title but it works. Serious Sam 4 is set before humanity is wiped out, you’re sent with a pretty likeable squad of soldiers and a newbie with similar humour to classic Sam, to find the holy grail which will put an end to Mental’s forces once and for all. Cutscenes will mostly fill you in along the way with command talking to you as-well during the chaotic mission structure of blow everything up as fast as you can and again I liked it, I think it tried to fit in a modern tone into a classic genre and I feel to keep these games relevant to bigger crowds now, you need some sort of direction and I thought Croteam did quite a good job with Serious Sam 4. The narrative never got in the way of the classic attack the hordes gameplay, if anything hearing the other squadmates make daft jokes on the speaker was funny. I think for Serious Sam 4 you have to go in not expecting a masterpiece, go in for that Serious Sam experience and you’ll have a good time.

Serious Sam 4 introduces a few new enemies and a system called the Legion System but I have to say, I was excited about this Legion System and it was only used twice and not for very long either. The system is supposed to make it so you can have thousands of enemies on a map but Croteam worked out a way to make it so all of the enemies copy just a few AI’s in the map so that it didn’t stress any systems out and could be done fairly well, seeing it only used twice was such a huge disappointment to me. Sadly the game did launch fairly buggy but Croteam has since fixed a lot of them. I’ve read reviews of others experience and it’s really a mixed bag and it’s a mixed bag for me as well. Serious Sam lovers are mostly enjoying it, I thought I wouldn’t like it much now as my taste in games have changed and shooter experiences that don’t tend to have a strong story sadly don’t interest me that much anymore but Serious Sam provided this classic nostalgic experience that I loved so much. See what I mean by the mixed bag? I loved it but I feel like things were missing. I’m really happy though that Steam Workshop has been added because I can imagine modders will put this game to the test.

Apart from my disappointments above, the weapons are really fun to use, each has different uses to truly get your adrenalin pumping like the classic games, sadly no added new ones but each weapon has been improved. Instead of new weapons, we get gadgets that are quite fun to use, some slow downtime so you can get behind the enemy and take them all out quick, one is a rage mode which is my favourite, Sam goes nuts and obliterates everything with ease and much more. Each level introduces new enemies, new items and more to throw the formula up a bit and the vehicle sections help with sections that feel slightly rinse and repeat like.

The level design I thought was pretty good, some parts feel empty but on the path, you’re supposed to take I thought it was quite fun to explore for easter eggs because the Serious Sam series contains some great easter eggs. I enjoyed each level, I can see why some didn’t but I had a blast. The animation sadly isn’t fantastic but the game has been in development for quite a while but the narrative and funny voice lines more than makeup for it. The music as-well metal soundtrack as always with the series and I loved every second, it ramps up when enemies appear and I’m all for it. I feel that a lot of love went into this game but it is sad to see some things didn’t make it, I feel that if they had given it some extra time we would have seen more, I do look forward to what modders can do with it and knowing Croteam they aren’t going to give up on this title, I can imagine that they’re only going to keep on making it better as they go, already they’re fixing the bugs with substantial patches.

Verdict

Serious Sam 4 I believe is a good game, some parts are disappointing but overall you’re getting the Serious Sam experience with an added story that I think works. I enjoyed the journey with Sam and the squad I just wish the Legion System was used a lot more. This is a game that I feel in time will get a lot better but we will see.

7/10

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