Serious Sam II Xbox
Published by 2K Games
Developed by Croteam
Release Date: Out Now
Serious Sam II, an introduction.
Modern day FPS games have, in many ways, become bloated with tactical and stealth features. When Serious Sam appeared a few years ago it was a back to basics FPS that felt refreshing because, for the most part, it was a case of ploughing through a seemingly never ending wave of enemies. Of course it also had a liberal dose of humour too which only served to make the experience all the more refreshing. Here we have the sequel, Serious Sam II. This review looks at the Xbox version of the game.
What's the game about?
Sam 'Serious' Stone is on the trail of Mental, the evil force behind the attack on Earth in the early part of the 22nd Century. Sam has now decided to head for Sirius, the home planet of Mental, in an attempt to put an end to the great evil. Sam learns that the way to defeat Mental is to obtain the Medallion of Power. This Medallion is in five pieces and Sam must take the five pieces (naturally they are in different locations) and join them together which will make Mental vulnerable. Of course this will involve killing many bizarre enemies on the way as well as coming to the aid of some rather crazy looking allies.
What's good about the game?
Serious Sam II like other games in the Serious Sam series offers no fuss, fast and furious FPS action which is a nice change of pace from all 'tactical' shooters that have been released on the Xbox. Once again it's a game where you'll just concentrate on taking out the waves of crazy enemies with little consideration for such things as stealth and caution. Sam is his humorous self once again and cracks jokes whenever given the chance. Sam has an impressive arsenal at his disposal throughout the game such as the SBC Cannon v2.0, the MK-4 Grenade Launcher, the XPML30 Rocket Launcher and of course the Serious Bomb to name just a few of the weapons on offer. Health, armour and power up items are available too. Sam also has access to a variety of vehicles that he can ride and fight from. These come in all shapes and sizes and include the dinosaur, Velociraptor Vulgaris, and the HAM-Z-rr314 Rollerball which simply rolls Sam into his enemies. The vehicles have their own health bar and once they are destroyed Sam will be back on foot once again.
What's not so good about the game?
The single biggest problem with Serious Sam II is the repetition. Despite having different locations and different enemies the game essentially plays the same the whole way through. Of course there are moments when a simple puzzle has to be solved but this hardly does anything to break up the action. One of the choices you'll have with the Xbox version is whether to enable the auto-aim or not. It's on by default and with it on, it's probably a bit too easy to take enemies out as the auto-aim feature is far too forgiving. Turn it off though and you'll find it much more difficult to hit enemies with precision. A less forgiving auto-aim feature would have been a more sensible way to go. Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the game is the lack of a split-screen co-operative mode. The only multiplayer options come in the form of System Link and Xbox Live play.
How does it look?
Serious Sam II looks quite good on the Xbox. If you've played any game in the series before you'll know that part of the appeal with the game was that you had many enemies onscreen at any one time. Serious Sam II doesn't ever seem to have as many onscreen and the frame rate definitely takes a dip whenever the action becomes really hectic. In keeping with other games in the series, the graphics in Serious Sam II are bright and cheery. Enemies come in all shapes and sizes and look like nothing you've ever seen before. Much of the environment is destructible although it's not like you're going to have time to notice it when you've got a whole load of enemies aiming straight for you.
How deaf gamer friendly is the game?
Serious Sam II is subtitled by default so you'll have no problem following events in the cutscenes and in-game dialogue. The subtitles are very easy to see as a bold font has been used and placed on a dark overlay for maximum clarity. NETRICSA returns once more and this time it has a voice. Thankfully all the comments from the NETRICSA are subtitled. There aren't any captions, although this won't cause any problems. Hearing gamers will be forewarned of an enemy assault because of a change in tempo in the background music. As you are always expecting waves of enemies in Serious Sam II though, this is hardly much of an issue. Mission briefings are shown in text during the loading of a mission. The Xbox Live service once again uses voice communications which will probably deter deaf gamers from playing online, which is a shame.
Previous versions of Serious Sam that we've seen have all been great fun to play. Serious Sam II is essentially a good game but it's not quite up to the standard of previous games in the series. A lack of a split-screen co-operative mode is disappointing and takes away one of the best elements of the series for those who don't play online or take part in System Link games. Still the single player experience is a solid one and it's quite humorous in parts too which makes a change from all those FPS games that take themselves far too seriously. If you're looking for an FPS where you can just throw caution to the wind and not have to worry about sneaking around then Serious Sam II could be the game for you.
Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10
Deaf Gamers Classification:
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Serious Sam II doesn't quite measure up to the original Serious Sam but it's still a good FPS that offers solid action and the odd chuckle too.