Serious Sam II Xbox Review
Ladies and gentlemen, DarkZero would like to introduce to you (for the second time) the man that doesn’t have a funny bone in his body, it is Serious Sam Stone. The Serious Sam series (try saying that ten times fast) is famous for relentless, frantic shoot-outs and now once again Sam Stone is back to rescue the universe one bullet at a time against overwhelming hordes of time travelling enemies in Serious Sam 2.
Forget that we are in the 21st century, that is the very first thing you should do when you pick up Serious Sam II. The only thing that will make you realise Serious Sam II is a current gen game are the graphics, but more about that later, for now let’s talk about the gameplay. The gameplay in SSII take a very old school approach to the way it tackles the FPS genre. SSII seems to rely on being a jack of all trades but master of none. Each level in the games consist of wave after wave of enemies, which will easily make you forget about any of the clever pacing that companies have been implementing in some recent FPS’s.
The main campaign sees you hopping from world to world to grab pieces of an artefact, each of which contains loads of the enemies which I mentioned above. Once you get through this never ending wave, you meet up with a big boss at the end to challenge your skills, all in all the approach seems very old school, especially if you have been used to the clever set ups of current games in the genre.
The weapons in SSII are crazy, no, crazy is not the best way to describe them, stark raving mad is probably more fitting! The craziest one is without doubt the bomb strapped parrots, yes ladies and gentlemen that is parrots with bombs strapped onto them. There are of course your normal dual pistols and shotguns but they pail into insignificance with some of the armaments on show all, however, are lots of fun to use. Each weapon also has a melee attack to use on monsters that get too close. At some point you may ask why am I shooting all these enemies like an over the top incarnation of Rambo, but there is no answer to that as the story in SSII is so wafer thin it is not really worth a mention. The main reason you will want to obliterate on screen is because it is fun and that is, after all, what games are about and SSII delivers this in droves.
SSII boast a “revamped graphical engine” from it predecessors which supposedly offers much bigger environments, but while you consider that many of the older Serious Sam games were, well lets cut straight to the point they looked terrible, this is not too great of an achievement. What SSII lacks in graphical quality it makes up in quantity. It may not look that graphically awe inspiring but it throws so many enemies at you at one time you wont have the time to notice some of the below average textures or low poly, albeit huge environments. There are however some nice graphical touches in the game but over all it comes in below par when you compare it to recent titles in the same genre. The character models are varied with a nice selection of enemies for you to hurt, with normal 5 foot tall and huge 100 foot monsters making an appearance. Each level also has its own style so each time you advance forward there is always something different to see. Finally, and disappointingly the framerate is not very stable. It is supposed to be locked at 30 FPS but seems to fall below that at many points throughout the game if a lot of action happens on screen and at times this drop can be very noticeable.
There are two different kinds of music in Serious Sam II. The first is nice calm music that suits the quiet calm section of the game. Then there is the fast, crazy high tempo out of control music that accompanies a hoard of enemies trying to kick your arse. There is no in-between music, you either get one tempo or another with a few different compositions layered over the top. Some of the faster compositions can be rather crazily funny and you will be trying to stop yourself laughing as a multitude of enemies want to end your life. In terms of voice talent and sound effect all the weapon sounds, explosions and dialogue aren’t that interesting but suits the game style very well.
Serious Sam II only offers 4 player co-op and it is its only offering to make you want to keep playing, there is no versus modes or split screen options but with up to 4 player co-op play over Xbox Live and System Link there is still a lot of reliability to be had with Serious Sam II. The main campaign can take up to 15 hours to complete which is amount of playtime and while you combine this with co-op you get a nice but of value for money with the title but while all is said and done it would have been nice to offer some other modes to play but alas it was not to be.
When all is said and done Serious Sam II is a very old school shooter, back in the 90’s it could be classed as one of the best FPS available but in this day and age with the like of Halo 2, Half Life 2, F.E.A.R, Call of Duty and others on store shelves, Sam Stone looks very out of his depth. There is no doubt there is some nostalgic fun to be had during the course of the title but that’s all you get really. If you are tired of all the weapon balancing, smart AI, well written script and clever pacing of other titles, then Serious Sam will be a nice break from the norm. It is a fun shooter that takes itself serious in name only.
7.9 out of 10