Serious Sam II
Serious Sam isn’t a stranger for the PC gamer. This shooter was new and surprising and although little ambitions were present on the A.I., level design or renovation, it perfectly did what it had to do: provide hours of brainless shooting fun. The successor, also available on PC, is now also present on Xbox.
The story is as it should be, totally unnecessary and just a means to nit together the over 20 levels together with an excuse. Sam “Serious” Ston can be his exploding self while he tries to defeat his arch enemy Mental. And yes, you need to collect something in order to win at the end!
More important is of course the gameplay. Prepare for more of the same. More of those (with simple AI) enemies that attack you in huge numbers, more of those original locations, and more of those completely insane weapons. Unfortunately this doesn’t make the impression anymore that it did with the original game. Not by a long shot. The weapons kick ass a lot less than you would like them to, and even the amount of hostiles now seems so… normal.
Everything works but I didn’t get that adrenaline rush anymore. The levels are less creative also. The variation is present; the surroundings look often different and funny, but you don’t get any puzzles or nice architecture that offers a bit more than just a couple of shots. You’re again limited to shooting hordes and hordes of opponents until the level stops. The boss fights are good but after the first game (remember the end boss?) can’t really warm you up anymore.
New are the vehicles and some sequences with fixed weapons. But also here you won’t be impressed with the way these – although amusing – pieces are presented. Also physics were added (yes, boxes move if you run into them) and the interaction with the surroundings is also nice to see.
Too bad that you (I’ve played the PC version briefly) on Xbox have lesser graphics, and easier auto-aim and now and then a drop in framerate. This makes that the most important aspect of the game gets weakened even more. If you’ve got the choice between both XBox and PC, then you know what to do. Also the co-op mode has been tuned down in the Xbox version but is still a fun addition for when you want to spend a couple of hours on it with a friend.
Graphically, Serious Sam 2 doesn’t do bad on Xbox. The surroundings look beautiful despite the less sharp textures, and as said the interaction does make up for a couple of things. Also the necessary imagination is present and also the enemies can enjoy an original design. You won’t get bored on that part. The cutscenes may not look fantastic graphically, they are funny and put together the levels in a cosy way.
We can’t complain on the music either. Completely in line with the visuals, we get a lot of funny noises and voces that just manage not to irritate. Also the music is suiting, but sadly enough misses just a bit of that epic feeling we get with a lot of other shooters.
Maybe after reading this review you expect something different, but all in all my final judgement isn’t bad. Serious Sam 2 is a well-made game, there’s quite some content and also the levels and enemies won’t completely disappoint you. Unfortunately, the whole is too little to surprise you if you expected more than what was in the first game. If you’re looking for a simple shooter where shooting and (simple) comedy are central you won’t bother with these points of criticism. Remember though, there’s also a little game called Half-Life 2 now present on Xbox.