Get out your stone washed jeans and ask Guy Fieri if you can borrow his sunglasses–Serious Sam is back. Serious Sam BFE seems like it was cryogenically frozen in the early 90s and has just been thawed out. The Serious Engine 3.5 does give it a new coat of paint, but doesn’t do anything to help the aesthetics of the game.
Very little has changed with the Serious Sam gameplay. Modern ideas like regenerating health and eye-popping set pieces are shunned in favor of health packs and seemingly endless waves of enemies. Thousands and thousands of them. There is something satisfying about mowing down mountains of aliens and squeaking by on your last little bit of health. The throwback gameplay is the most successful aspect of BFE. It’s refreshing and bit nostalgic to need the kind of concentration it takes to make it through a level alive, but that feeling wore out very quickly for me.
The weapons haven’t changed much either. The familiar shotgun, rocket launcher and minigun are all here. There is an assault rifle with a scope though, so that is new! Sam can also do a one hit melee kill, replete with brutal animation. With the number of enemies you need to get through though, it ends up being more efficient to just fill the baddies with lead.
Were the testosterone-fueled and hyper-macho one-liners your favorite part of the Serious Sam of yore? Well you are in luck, because they are certainly back! I’m assuming Sam’s IQ-withering quips are meant to be campy, but they are just the worst. The best thing I can say about the dialogue is that it doesn’t stray into the realm of Duke Nukem hate speech.
Serious Sam BFE boasts a number of multiplayer modes. You will find your standard Death Match, but there is also a Survival Mode which will challenge you and your teammates to survive as long as possible against wave after wave of enemies. You can even take on the campaign levels with up to sixteen of your friends.
Serious Sam BFE has been out for a while now, and plenty of people absolutely adore it. I get it! Serious Sam BFE sets out to recreate an old school shooter, and it does it swimmingly. You will need all of your hardcore skills to make your way through to the end, and that can be all the reward you need. Maybe you just miss backpedaling while blowing up dozens of screaming headless kamikaze troopers. If that is the case, this game will delight you. Personally, I found it to be a grueling slog. Maybe Sam’s douchebaggery soured me from the beginning, but I’m happy to leave these kinds of shooters back in the 90s.
This review is based on a retail copy of Serious Sam BFE provided by Croteam Ltd. It is a PC exclusive.