Emo-Review Serious Sam 3: BFE

I don’t want to write any meaningful text about Serious Sam 3. I want to unleash my inner graphomaniac and vent as it is. That’s what I’ll do because the game is driving a Kamaz truck through my nerve cells and paralyzing my brain.

Since the release of the last good shooter with real hordes of enemies and slaughter arenas, how long has it been? When did the original Painkiller come out? I don’t remember anymore – many, many years. For the past three years, I’ve been suffocating, but still obediently and diligently ate various degrees of tasty cacti a la Bulletstorm, Battlefield, and other Call of Juarez games, where there were no alien kamikazes, no jumping, not even decent rocket launchers. The re-releases of the same “Sam” didn’t touch me because why bother with them, if we set aside marketing questions, new graphics just to have fewer frames per second, which are critically important for games of this kind? No, it won’t do.

And here it is, the joy of new arenas, enemies, guns, meat, and bouquets of flowers flying out of monsters instead of blood (the latter is optional), and most importantly, the old combat rules. And damn it. My New Year’s toy turned out to be fake.

Intense Battle in SS3

Where is my all

From the very beginning of Serious Sam 3, I realized that the developers were making fun of me. Finally getting a break from dusty shooters about Arab slums and eager to shoot monsters with rocket launchers, I started the game and… found myself in some incomprehensible Arab slums with a pistol in my hand. And on the very first level, it says “Duke was here.” Who now regenerates health and doesn’t carry more than two guns to avoid getting tired. I got screwed.

But still, Serious Sam 3 didn’t reach the Duke-like madness with a mix of the worst elements of old and new school shooters. Health and armor pickups are still there, the invisible weapon trailer too. You can genuinely be happy about that, but not for long, because the joy of playing a game with reasonable rules (you get hit by two kamikazes – you’re dead, no running around to recharge your life energy like a solar battery, and then getting hit by anything that comes your way) fades too quickly against the backdrop of other good news.

But running with shift instead of jumping is still depressing, not just in “Sam,” but in general. Before, there was no need to move quickly on the map, there was a need to move even faster. Three jumps across the entire platform, then rocket jumping to the beam above, then another rocket jump, but almost horizontally, to the platform, turning in mid-air, shooting at the enemy, and if you’re lucky, hitting multiple enemies with the railgun or rocket launcher, and then jumping further. Where did all of that go…

High-Octane Action

The gameplay options, so to speak, leave room for maneuver. Since in our case the shots go where the cursor points, not where the caring auto-aim points, and the levels are not console corridors (where you aim or not, you will still hit someone if you don’t look closely at the wall or floor), but – in most cases – spacious areas, it makes sense to put an adequate crosshair, remove the shaking from hits, and the screen-filling red something that happens at every convenient and inconvenient moment. And all this nonsense can really be turned off. You can, however, leave it, but why?

The other good news is that the first subjective half-hour of the game is played on a sledgehammer and press X to win (well, in our case E, although you can remap it to the right mouse button, it helps a lot). Then another hour with a crappy realistic pistol. The game somehow ramps up too slowly for its genre. Maybe something has been forgotten over the years, but I can’t remember having to wait so long for the appearance of a shotgun, as crappy and realistic as the pistol, in “meat” shooters before. In the past, it was given right from the start!

Savage visual realism is, apparently, the main visual trump card of the project. In such a game, it would be great to play with the contradiction between form and content, if it hadn’t turned into a toothless and transformed from a black-haired brunette into a dyed albino Doom 3. And so, what do we have – we have: in daylight, in a more or less ordinary environment, muscular monsters with insectoids don’t look scary, headless kamikazes from the picture just fall out, and healthy cool bosses (as they traditionally appear first one by one, and then in quite a large company) completely block the horizon, so the joke about realistic farce loses half of its content and, accordingly, its salt.

Kill me, but I will continue to pedal my favorite hardcore theme “They ruined such old-school!”, because Serious Sam 3 is the flesh of its own flesh. In our case, what is in the game is much less important than what is not in the game. Even the well-made bosses and secret corners won’t save the situation if our Serious Sam’s hands and legs are atrophied.

Explosive Encounter

Game options

Okay, a moment of objectivity. Let’s take a deep breath, distract ourselves from the fact that we simply don’t like the game, despite all the past adventures, stop demonstrating our disappointment and think about what exactly is wrong if we just sit down at the computer without any expectations. Let’s imagine that shooters from the 90s and the first half of the 2000s didn’t exist at all. Why then might SS3 not be to our liking? The answer: because it is tedious, exhausting in a bad sense of the word.

Here you are running away from headless kamikazes. “On shift” Sam runs faster than anyone else. Your task is to run a hundred virtual meters, turn around, shoot two or three times, and then run the same distance again. Or find a place where the headless ones will be stuck or get stuck in textures. Or find a place they can’t reach because the developers didn’t really think through the maps, and such places exist. No acrobatics, no sniper feats, none of that.

Here you are fighting a boss. You are being shot at by perfectly aimed automatic weapons. If you stick out from under any trash can, you will be caught. If you wisely wait ten not very dynamic seconds behind a pillar, you will have your own ten seconds to stand five meters away from the boss and empty another magazine.

Here you are in the basement catacombs, where the main way to kill enemies is QTE, that is, the famous “press E to win”. You don’t have to shoot or worry about where you step, the main thing is to stand in the corridor and spam the necessary key. You could have entertained yourself and dealt with enemies in the old-fashioned way, but there’s the same recipe – either you find an impregnable position or you die within two seconds.

You don’t have cool guns, you don’t have the ability to maneuver, you don’t have options.

Fending Off Hordes

Enemies explode into candy canes, whee!

Although no, I’m lying, there is one option. Set the difficulty level to “Tourist” and turn everything upside down. So that the levels would pass by themselves, health would automatically regenerate to 200, and monsters would hardly inflict any damage. The point of the game disappears, and with it, any tension disappears. Even the pistol becomes a hellish weapon, you can shoot anyone from anywhere with anything, it’s beautiful!

Especially for such statues as myself, there is also a Survival mode, where you can cheerfully shoot at hordes of all sorts of crap from the dull Sam arsenal for several minutes. But know that there is no salvation in it either.

As is usually the case now, there is also multiplayer in the game. I even seriously wanted to write about it, but there was not a soul on all six and a half active servers on Steam, and none of my acquaintances wanted to spend money on SS3 for multiplayer. So sorry, I have no idea what the multiplayer of the new “Sam” is like, there is no one to play with.


Croteam, this is shoddy work. Serious Sam 3 was supposed to be better.

Serious Sam 3: BFE
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Action, Co-op, Multiplayer
Devolver Digital
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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