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Serious Sam 3: BFE Review

Justin Clouse | 6 Dec 2011 15:30
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As much as we strive to review every game in a vacuum, analyzing it purely on its own merits, I can't help but mention that Serious Sam 3: BFE is a refreshing divergence after weeks of modern military shooters and settings. For instance, one of the least satisfying weapons is the kitted out assault rifle with holographic site, something that would be a staple in those other shooters. Serious Sam 3 is a mostly perfect return to old-school form. It is a game framed around quite simply making mobs of enemies into giblets with a massive arsenal of weaponry.

The one area Serious Sam 3 really shines is that the game is crazy fun while still requiring a degree of skill. For those unaware of the series, the focus is on defeating waves of enemies with weapons capable of delivering instant gib-filled destruction. There is no regenerating health, no cover mechanic and you can carry an arsenal sufficient to re-arm a battleship . All of the enemies fight with specific and predictable patterns, so the core of the gameplay revolves around avoiding their attacks, identifying the greatest threats and responding with the best weapon for the particular opponent.

The game starts off simple enough, with smaller groups of only one type of enemy, but then really cranks up in difficulty as the various baddies get thrown at you together in larger and larger numbers. Success often hinges on knowing which weapons and ammo to save for certain enemies, but this can sometimes lead to frustration in later levels where you'll die for simply having been a little too liberal with a key weapon earlier in the encounter. That end level screen is always satisfying to see though as you get the feeling you just tackled some insurmountable obstacle because the game just hit you with a wave of leaping undead skeletons, giant charging werebulls, a mini-boss with rocket launchers for hands and a freaking alien-infected helicopter at you all at once. Serious Sam 3's difficulty will ultimately determine you own personal enjoyment. You'll need to find the fun in the challenge inherent in the game tossing varied groups at you if what will stave off feelings of monotony at gunning down just another mob of bad guys.

A surprising result of this difficulty and gameplay is how physically and mentally taxing the game is. Be prepared for some possibly sore fingers and frazzled brains cells. I suspect this is rooted in both how often you are moving in Serious Sam 3; you almost never will, nor can, stop if you hope to survive. It's a testament to how much you stand around and just observe in other games. You are also required to process so much stimuli simultaneously from the hordes of enemies on screen, projectiles coming your way and the audio cues of those you can't see currently, that it's no wonder you'll be wanting a break after an hour or two of play.

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