At a glance...

Reviewer Platform Publisher Developer Players Screenshots
Tom Baker PC/Mac 2K Games Croteam 1-32 (LAN, Internet) Here
Requirements Also on... Buy from Amazon.co.uk
1.5GHz Processor, 256MB RAM, Windows 2000/XP, DirectX-8 compatible video card, 8x DVD-ROM drive, sound card Xbox Click here to buy Serious Sam 2.

Serious Sam 2 review

Serious Sam 2 isn't what you'd expect from an FPS. For those who are new to the franchise, pin point headshots with ultra realistic weapons and modern military settings are not what's on offer here. Serious Sam 2 isn't like that. Oh no. Instead it offers a horizon full of enemies, an unfeasibly large gun in your hands and unerring path finding, from them to you. At first that idea doesn't sound so appealing, like Space Invaders with too much budget, but, almost surprisingly, its damn good fun.

The gameplay it offers is very simple; you are assailed by a truly staggering number of enemies and you have to shoot them all. The challenge is that you have to decide which enemies are the highest priority and engage those first. You're given seconds to decide and while the red things firing rockets are shooting at you now, the nasty skeletal things will be here very soon. While accuracy of fire against single enemies is relatively unimportant, being able to take out the maximum number of targets while expending as little ammo as possible is essential. Even with the number of weapons you have to choose from, you will miss the rocket ammo when suddenly it's gone. Back strafing is also essential; you'll do a lot of it. At times it can be frustrating, on a couple of occasions I began to wonder how anybody could be expected to kill THAT many enemies. Thankfully these are rare and your quick saves are backed up with auto saves and extra lives, so you'll rarely have to replay much of the level if you do get bogged down by sheer weight of numbers.

The basic story is that you've been sent back in time to stop a war in the future that will destroy mankind. To do this you have to kill someone called Mental, but really it has little effect on the game apart from giving straightforward objectives; these are basically "go to X, get Y, shoot stupid numbers of brightly coloured nasty things, say witty one liner". Serious Sam Stone is a low rent, slightly cleaner Duke Nukem and while you can't pay strippers, he does come out with one liners on a regular basis; "We can do this my way or the hard way, they're basically the same thing." The whole game is delightfully tongue-in-cheek, and cheerfully mocks itself, the characters and the developers.

The game caters for a wide range of skill levels; a number of the weapons have auto aiming features which make things easier for new players, and the higher difficulties are obscenely hard, should you be indecently good or just masochistic. The main campaign offers little variety, vehicles and turrets do offer some diversions but it's still a case of shooting everything you can see. The boss encounters are entertaining, often because of their sheer size; while not Shadow of the Colossus-scale, they're still damn big. It's not the sort of game that most people will want to play for hours straight, there just isn't enough variety, but it is excellent to dip into and get rid of some stress by annihilating a telephone number amount of enemies. Also, because it's such a different atmosphere to the majority of games on the market it makes a refreshing change. The multiplayer options are run of the mill, but a Co-op mode is available, which is an absolute blast and definitely worth forcing your friends to play. Kudos to Croteam for putting in the effort to include it, as it's a feature so often promised and rarely delivered. Replayability is debatable, playing it again offers absolutely nothing new, but neither does most of the story, so it's just as much fun as before.

The game itself is very well presented, while not quite up to par with the graphical splendour of the latest games like F.E.A.R. or Prey, it is still easy on the eye and scales very well. The sheer amount of enemies that the game engine can put on your screen with modest hardware is impressive in itself. Some slowdown can occur during the larger encounters but in most cases you'll be more concerned with staying alive than watching the frame rate.

Ratings

Graphics Not spectacular but holds its own. 8/10
Gameplay If shooting things in abundance is what you want, Serious Sam provides, but that's it. 7/10
Value Can be had for between £5 and £15 now. 10/10
Lifespan Recommended dosage: 1 hour daily. Not a game that will offer anything new on replay. 6/10
Audio Audio quality is excellent although some of the voice acting isn't very believable. 8/10
Overall In summary, it's a damn fun game that makes a great diversion but, despite the title, it's nothing serious. 7/10

Click here to buy Serious Sam 2 from Amazon.co.uk.

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