An imbalanced but often fun time
Serious Sam 3 is another entry in a series that is well known for sticking to the classic FPS shooter design established by titles like Doom and Quake of just you verses a never ending horde of enemies. It definitely holds up in this regard, and while the first few levels may have you thinking otherwise it isn’t long until the game begins throwing absurd amounts of things to kill and at times can get pretty overwhelming. By the final level you will find yourself running away and scrambling for health and ammo just to be able to continue your onslaught.
Several of the new weapons such as the sledge hammer and Devastator grenade launcher prove very useful and fun, and are nice additions to Sam’s arsenal. While I feel the individual weapons are much more satisfying to use in this game than the past titles I can’t help but also feel an overall lack of creativity in the choices made.
The assault rifle in particular just reminds me of all the other bland shooters on the market I generally have zero interest in. This lack of imagination is further extended in the environments within SS3. Instead of grand colorful locals we are forced to spend the majority of the game in a generic ruined town that seems pulled out of every modern military shooter made to date, a boring desert with some tombs and pyramids and some rocky generic landscapes. The only new enemies manage to be quite annoying to fight, with the leapers slowing the otherwise high speed gameplay down to a crawl and the teleporting flying enemies testing your willpower with their ability to float you off the ground, halting your movement and making your turn speed and ability to aim useless.
While I was happy to see several of the classic enemies from Serious Sam return and wonderfully high res with great model work in particular one I wasn’t so happy to see that I think the game could have done without is the Kleers. They are quite possibly one of the worst enemies to ever exist in a shooter as they are incredibly frustrating to fight with their ability to doge almost every gun you have and take way too many shots to kill given they are simple skeleton creatures.
This is perhaps a minor gripe but considering this game is all about shooting things and little else but when 3 of the regular enemies are annoying at best and rage inducing at worst to deal with something has gone wrong.
While I enjoyed my overall time with Serious Sam 3 and do indeed think it hits many of the points I desire from a shooter; fun guns, great base mechanics, great presentation, it still falls short in many other ways enough so that it seems like the game couldn’t decide on an identity and instead we ended up with something that was a weird cross between modern bland shooters and classic shooters of years past. I understand why any developer would want to appeal to a wider audience and this game clearly had that goal in mind at some stage but its then as if Crotem wanted to also maintain what they had done before but without realizing where some of those old designs clashed with the newer changes they had opted for with only half of the new ideas working out. In the end I would say SS3 is an indecisive mess that still manages to be fun but could have been so much bigger and better.