This is the first Serious Sam game that I’ve played. My original thoughts on the series were that it looked too similar to other titles which I was already a fan of. How wrong I was. Serious Sam 4 is very happy doing its own thing, and it’s gotten pretty good at it.
TL;DR – Serious Sam 4 is a fantastic pickup for those looking for intense FPS action. There are tons of enemies thanks to the new Legion System, and the optimization seems really good. Level design is well done to keep you in the action, and the one-liners are on point. Now let’s dive in and take a closer look at some of the features coming with Serious Sam 4.
So…many…freaking…enemies. I gotta start this review with a kudos to the Legion System. This is a new system that allows for tons of enemies to populate at the same time. This is the future of gaming right here. I’ll admit, my 1080Ti GPU almost didn’t want to load up Chapter 0 at first, but after changing some minor graphics settings, I was thoroughly impressed. Croteam has boasted hundreds of thousands of enemies, and I have to believe that’s true (although I didn’t count them all). When I was a little gamer, these are the kind of intense, large scale FPS battles I thought the future would bring, so it definitely sparked some giddiness in me. After everything loaded up, I did a 360 spin and was surprised at almost no video lag. Carrying through to the actual missions, I didn’t come across anything quite to the scale of the intro, but needless to say, there are an absolute ton of enemies that chase you down screaming in the actual missions.
Netrisca is a central information hub for missions, characters, enemies, weapons, and more. Missions themselves flow very well with the Netrisca waypoints. Levels are absolutely massive, and this serves well to give you ample backup and shoot space. With some games, it feels like navigating the map and finding enemies can be a challenge, but SS4 doesn’t even give you a map. It replaces it with a waypoint marker you can activate at any time. Combined with visual waypoints, level navigation is way easier and serves to keep you blasting aliens non-stop. There are a few side quests here and there which pop up new waypoints. While they are optional, most will give you new gadgets or weapon attachments that are super effective.
“What the hell just killed me?” is not a phrase you’ll utter in this game since, after every death, it’ll tell you which enemy hit you and how much damage it did. I’m not sure if this was in past iterations of the Sam series, but I love this. Especially in a game where there are so many enemies everywhere.
The only thing that felt clunky to me was selecting gadgets, but I’m not sure of another way to do it. There are so many gadgets to choose from once you get into the meat of the game, but each one calls on specific situations (mini black hole is broken lol). The Q weapon wheel is the best way to select items/weapons. This will pause the game, but otherwise, you have to cycle through all gadgets. When microseconds can mean your life, cycling through items can be a pain. It definitely works but will take some getting used to the controls.
I very briefly got to try out the multiplayer and it worked pretty well. I was able to join a game without much issue. Blasted through a level and didn’t have any connection drops. I had a great time with the few random people that I played with. Playing through the campaign with up to 4 players is currently the only mode available.
The story, from what I understand, is a prequel to the previous Serious Sam games. It’s not anything spectacular or heartfelt. It’s about our main character fighting hordes of aliens trying to take over the planet. Croteam fills their plot holes with mountains of Headless Kamikaze. This is almost refreshing to me. I love a great story game, but sometimes I just wanna melt some bad guys or a thousand.
Serious Sam 4 is a top-notch campaign based FPS game developed by Croteam. The Legion System introduced is capable of highly impressive large scale battles with tons of enemies. Enjoy the campaign yourself or grab up to 3 other buddies to join in on the action. Netrisca helps to navigate large environments with ease, which lets you keep blasting aliens without having to search for where to go. With tons of weapons and gadgets to choose from, there are plenty of ways to dispatch your foes.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Serious Sam 4 for PC provided by Croteam and Devolver Digital.