Serious Sam 3 PC Preview
The feeling that Sam is neglecting the more hyperbolic bent he expressed in Serious Sam 2 still pervades in some other areas, however. The arsenal especially has the tiniest hint of Modern Warfare about it, as while Sam continues to carry a huge amount of weapons, there's been a few swaps that are enough to raise an eyebrow.
Classics like the rocket launcher and coach gun are still on hand, but the Tommy-gun has been replaced with a modern assault rifle, complete with holographic sight. Sam's signature dual .357s have been shunted out in favour of a single Desert Eagle. There were still plenty of gaps in Sam's expansive weapons locker that we didn't get to see filled, however - while we didn't see the ironically massive minigun or portable cannon this time around, they may still show up.
It isn't just the weapons themselves which provide contrast between Sam's past adventures, however, it's also how they handle. Where earlier Serious Sam games dealt in simplistic mechanics that were complemented by complex mazes and secret-laden expanses, BFE tries to strike a middle ground. Weapons handle closer to modern standards, with iron sights that make machine gunning at extreme ranges a doddle, while the levels prioritise spectacle over personality.
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It's this apparent lack of secret areas and jokey traps that we find concerning for Serious Sam 3: BFE. When it comes to the weapons, there are still more things we haven't seen than that we have, while the tone of the newly present story still has just enough of Sam's earthiness to tick over (from what we've seen). The combat, meanwhile, is even more challenging than ever and pits your against a good mix of enemies, old and new.
The lack of secrets, while not depriving Sam of Croteam's trademark anarchy, takes away the series' most visible expression. Where are the boulder traps and bouncy rooms? The hamster balls and phone booths? Where are the little +1 health packs hidden in the corners of the levels that, when collected, reveal yodelling mechas that descend upon you as one lasering mass?
From what we've seen, they aren't here.
The loss or reduction of these elements, combined with the changes to Sam's tone and intent, aren't enough to dull our love for Serious Sam 3. At the core, Serious Sam 3 is just as fun as previous Sam games have been, especially when you ramp the difficulty up
and play in co-operative mode, via LAN or split-screen. Even in singleplayer it remains the gaming equivalent of an endurance test, with players swapping seats whenever they die - 'Hey, I bet you can't do this bit without dying at least twice...
While the torch we carry for Croteam's flagship series hasn't gone out, it has sputtered so that it now offers a different kind of heat. Previously we were looking forward to Sam's third outing for another taste of the excessive, exorbitant irreverence which the series has historically offered. Now, we find we're looking forward to it more on account of its credentials as a shooter, rather than a comedy. The new weapons, the increased focus on story and the modern-day setting all seem to rebuild Sam on these grounds.
Serious Sam 3: BFE will be published by Devolver Digital and is set for release on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 later this year.
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