Date: October 19, 2005
Author(s): Rob Williams
Does your latest FPS lack the ‘kill kill kill’ feel? Well you may want to try out Serious Sam II, which will give you more than you will ever need! From Croteam comes the latest game in the Serious Sam series, with great graphics, powerful weapons and of course, creative creatures! Let’s see if this sequel was one worth waiting for.
If you love the First Person Shooter genre like so many others, it’s not very difficult to find one to play. They are everywhere, which is usually not a good thing. Too many FPS means that developers will tend to copy each other, but not Croteam. Croteam strives to create a completely unique gaming experience, that can’t be found in many other FPS games.
A few years back when the original Serious Sam was released, it became an instant hit.. sort of. Basically, the people who didn’t like the game, simply passed over it and ignored it. Those who did enjoy the game though, enjoyed it a lot.. it almost has a cult following. The insane gameplay coupled with humor and great eye candy made the game such a hit among those who enjoyed it.
It’s been a couple years, and Croteam have obviously had more money to deal with this sequel.. because everything is amped up. As mentioned in the intro, this game easily proves to deliver all the ‘kill kill kill’ you could ever need. Without a doubt, this game has more killing in it than any other game I have played in recent years.
The game is built upon the appropriately named Serious Engine 2, which they claim to be 100 times more complex than the previous version. Even though it’s not a well known one, it’s obvious that it has some serious potential. These are not really state of the art graphics we are dealing with, but they are still amazing. While playing, I can’t seem to get the “Cartoony Far Cry” out of my head, because that’s exactly what the environments remind me of. As is easily seen in the pictures, everything about SS2 is clean and colorful, chalk full of pure eye candy. In fact, there were numerous times when I died due to oogling the graphics.
If you hate repetition, then the killing may be one thing that can turn you off. It’s great at first, but further in the game it does tend to get a little tedious.. especially since you can have dozens of monsters after you at a given time. It’s not all that bad though, because there are times when you can stop and admire the graphics.
The gameplay is extremely responsive and smooth in this game. I wish I could say the same about the key configuration menu, but I can’t.. it’s horrible. Trying to assign keys is a pure pain in the butt, and should have been made easier. At any rate, that doesn’t really have to do with gameplay. Once you finally are able to customize the keys to your liking, the game plays like a dream.
One feature that I liked is that you do not have to reload any of your weapons, which only makes sense due to the mounds of mobs that are usually out to kill you. If you play the game on the third to fifth difficulty level, you can expect some fun, and some constant confusion. I many times died by something I did not even see, but heard. Since the difficulty is notched up, you will get hit harder as well, and you can die quite easily if you don’t evade the creatures very well.
As for actually proceeding through the game.. it’s definitely not that difficult. It’s very straight forward for the most part.. just watch where the creatures are coming from. There are slight puzzles, but I do mean slight. SS2 is definitely meant for gamers who want constant action without having to think. To help you along even more though, you still have Nettie who will gladly give you hints or straight out instructions on what to do.
Oh.. there is one? Well.. there is something to do with some Medallion. Sam must traverse through the various worlds in order to conquer them to piece the Medallion back together. It actually reminds me a lot of Sonic Adventure for the Sega Dreamcast.. but it works.
That sums up the story for the most part, because it’s all I actually know. The important thing is to not worry about the story, but just make it alive through each and every level. When exploring the gorgeous landscapes and firing your far fetched weapons, you won’t really care about a storyline. Of course, this is another reason why this is such a ‘jump in and go’ type of game.
One area that Croteam mastered is the weaponry selection. There are 15 weapons available to Sam at various points throughout the game, and damn are they fun to use! They have everything from a simple shotgun to a zap gun (think Halo) to a rocket launcher and even a cannon! The weapons all look fantastic and do serious damage.
One of my favorites were the simple grenades. You could shoot off a few rounds at a huge baddie, the finish him off with a grenade.. and he would explode! Blood and guts everywhere.. a great time!
The sound in SS2 is pretty well done, but a lot of the dialogue is corny. Of course, this game is supposed to be humorous, but even some of it is overboard. It will make you chuckle a few times though, guaranteed. There’s no music in the game, but there doesn’t need to be. Over all the constant killing you are doing.. you wouldn’t be able to hear the music anyway. Also, when you actually have a break from the killing, the dead sound will help you figure out where the next baddie’s are. Overall, the sound is nothing amazing, but it does the job.
One thing that strikes me odd in any new release, are cheap FMV movies in between the gameplay. Yes, FMV’s can certainly add to the experience, but the ones in this game were cheap looking, and the quality matches some FMV’s in games before the turn of the century.
What else can I say about this game? Even though I have found a lot of faults in the game, I still enjoyed it a lot. I have been waiting for this one since it was announced, and am not too surprised about the result. For pure fanbois of the first Serious Sam, there may be some disappointment, but overall it’s a fun experience.
The graphics are amazing, which adds a lot to the game. Serious Engine 2 supports HDR and is used in the game, although the bloom effect is a little overdone and some things appear way too bright at times. The environments and weapons are extremely well done, as are the mobs.. if you actually have time to look at them.
The sound could have used some work, and a music overtone would not have been complained about. Some of the sounds monsters make are classic though, especially depending on which weapon you choose to obliterate them with. Some of the humor expressed in the game is unlike most other FPS games also.
Even though some of the game could be improved a fair bit, it’s hard to really complain since this is a budget title, that retails for $29.99US ($39.99CAN). If you decide to buy the game, you will not feel as though you’ve wasted $30; you will get your fun worth for sure. After playing this one, I really hope to see a new SS in the future once again, and I am sure the fans will agree. Good job to Croteam for putting out a game that’s certainly unique, and fun to boot (although repetitious after a while!). I give this one a well deserved 8 out of 10. Seriously.
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