STICK TO YOUR GUNS

Serious Sam 3 hops back and forth between two styles. Roughly 75% of the time you’ll be neck deep in skeletons, headless kamikazes, and rampaging bull creatures, hammering on the fire button as fast as your finger muscles will allow. There’s no room to be careful or conservative; you simply sprint around blasting away at anything that moves. This is fun. This is how Serious Sam should play.

The rest of the time, however, the game crumbles under the peer pressure exerted by contemporary shooters. On many occasions, Sam strolls through a dilapidated town filled with bad guys. Turn a corner, aim down your sights, engage in a mid-range battle against four to six foes, collect their ammunition, then move on and do it all again. It’s the typical military shooter combat scenario.

There are even some survival horror-esque segments in which you’re tasked with exploring dark, lonesome tombs. This might be fine in another shooter where the mood and tone can match or enhance the scare factor, but in a game where the protagonist spews as many one-liners as he does bullets, the fear doesn’t really get to sink in.  

Visually, the game is striking. It’s easily the most graphically advanced Serious Sam title to date, though that’s to be expected. The odd, colorful style of past Serious Sam games has vanished. Instead, developer Croteam adopted a more realistic style, complete with greys, browns, and more than a few rundown environments. You’ll hardly have time to sightsee, though, as you’ll probably be too busy backpedaling away from suicide bombers or circle-strafing grotesque, obese enemies.

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