I'm just going to come out and say it, Serious Sam 3 looks like just about everything Duke Nukem Forever should have been. Absurd monsters, ridiculous weapons, blood, guts and some bizarre levels of ultra-violence, it looks like there's very little that fans of the series don't have to look forward to. But those already familiar with the series know what kind of absurdity they're getting into. They already know about the headless soldiers that throw chains, the cyber-demons with gun arms and why cover is for girly wimps who don't know how to use a sledgehammer. Someone new to the series may not know what to expect from the title's absurd cast of enemies or frantic combat. If that's the case, this latest installment looks like the perfect time to start.
It's impossible to understate the level of absurdity that exists in Serious Sam 3, particularly since most of the environments are fairly realistic and well detailed. Fighting in the ruins of cities, alleyways and abandoned buildings is something that FPS gamers are familiar with, but having headless suicide bombers screaming at you over rubble adds a particular flair to the experience. As always Sam will be up against hordes of enemies that range from large demons to infantry who shoot bullets the size of cannonballs, so having these fairly open environments is encourages players to run and gun as opposed to hiding behind cover waiting for a lone vulnerability to emerge.
This frantic combat is the very core of the Serious Sam franchise, and from the looks of things the latest installment hasn't skipped a beat.
The weapons Sam gets hold of play a large part of the fun, but being a game more about survival than the simple killing players will have to look forward to some pretty frantic action. It's in direct contrast to what a lot of the major AAA titles are encouraging these days, and to see that that atmosphere isn't overtaking the overall theme of the game is an extremely welcome change from the norm.
It's equally important to note that while Serious Sam 3 is going to keep that old school no-cover FPS gameplay at it's core, a few new mechanics do work their way into the equation. Destructible environments will make things a little easier for players that hate walls, and anyone interested in dramatic overkill should appreciate the brutal decapitations and eyeball-tearing action that the game has to offer. The gore doesn't get skimped on in the slightest, but Croteam kept things quite classy. It will be fairly interesting to see how well the game handles all the ultra violence in its multiplayer modes, which can support up to 16 people in a co-op campaign mode. Just having 4 player split screen was really enough to impress, but there's no way anyone would turn down the opportunity to join 15 other people and blow apart waves of hilariously twisted monsters.
Provided the game can keep up its frantic pace throughout the entire game there's little doubt that gamers should have quite a treat on their hands.
From what we've seen so far anyone with a good sense of humour and a steady trigger finger should have a blast. There aren't nearly enough unique single player experiences out there these days, so Serious Sam 3 looks like quite a quite a treat for anyone looking to avoid the more realistic shooters coming up just around the corner.
Serious Sam 3 BFE brings its hilariously bloody action to PC on Nov 22.