For the uninitiated, Serious Sam games famously throw hundreds of enemies at you simultaneously. With an impressive arsenal of lead-spewing and explosive-chucking weapons you’ll cut them down.

In fact, the Serious Sam 3: BFE strategy guide details three simple steps: Hold down the trigger, run backwards, and repeat. A more appropriate cheat sheet has never existed. The game stumbles for the first levels, though, and it seems for a moment that the mighty Sam has conceded to the advancements of contemporary shooters.

Enemy encounters are slow and manageable, and the weapon selection is weak and uninteresting. And the demolished, war torn streets you occupy look like they were pulled straight from Battle Duty: Modern Company 6. For a game that exists solely to flip the bird to the blockbusters of today, it’s odd that Sam begins his journey in their footsteps. Trudge onward, though, and you’ll eventually find yourself neck deep in clomping skeletons and headless, exploding kamikazes.

Excluding the beginning, the campaign is beautifully paced. As soon as you grow too confident in your abilities and too comfortable with the current crop of enemies, a giant spider-like enemy (or eight) will appear and blast your face with acid. The arsenal continuously expands as well. I dare you not to grin when your shotgun is replaced with a double-barreled variant. Or when you pick up the minigun or the energy leash – which, while fun, is admittedly a bargain bin version of its cousin in Bulletstorm. There are also tons of brutal melee attacks that make close-quarters combat a bit more – dare I say it – visceral than it has been in previous installments.

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