Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter PC
Published by: Croteam
Developed by: Devolver Digital
Over eight years ago we reviewed Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (you can read our original review here) and it is fair to say we were impressed with the focus on pure shooting thrills that the game offered. Having to deal with wave after wave of madcap enemies could be a little tiring in anything other than short bursts, but there’s no denying that it could be exhilarating. It was a game that captured the spirit of games such as Duke Nukem and Doom. It stripped away all pretentions of an in depth storyline or political overtones unlike so many of the FPS titles of that time although it certainly did contain a few puzzles here and there to keep you on your toes. Of course it also helped that the game looked fantastic and ran very nicely on most PC specifications of the time. Eight years on however and the original version doesn’t look so good but it’s now been brought visually up to date thanks to the release of Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter.
With any remake you expect the action to be more or less the same as in the original and that’s certainly true in the case of Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter. However, some modifications have been made to help spice up the experience somewhat. The levels have been redesigned; there are new weapons, new enemies, new bosses and new multiplayer modes which all help to sufficiently reinvigorate the game. Of course you’re also getting a whole load of Steam achievements to earn too. Whilst at its core you’re still getting an experience that’s very similar to the original release of The Second Encounter then, there are enough alterations here to make it worthwhile for Serious Sam fans.
As a multiplayer experience, Serious Sam still manages to be a lot of fun. The game offers nine versus multiplayer modes and three co-operative modes. The competitive modes: Beast Hunt, Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Instant Kill, Last Man Standing, Last Team Standing, My Burden (your score increases as long as you can keep hold of the burden item), Team Beast Hunt and Team Deathmatch are either traditional modes or variations of them. Probably more appealing is the ability to play through the campaign co-operatively where you have to work together to deal with the waves of crazy enemies.
As you’d naturally expect with a re-release of a game that’s had ‘HD’ added to the title, the game has received a very noticeable graphical boost over the original release of The Second Encounter. The weapons’ models in particular look very impressive. Some of the environment can look a little too angular in places but it’s more than acceptable. Not only does this HD version look a whole lot better, it also runs very smoothly on PC’s that are more than a few years old which is certainly appreciated. The game has a variety of graphical filters to choose from. You can even play the game in black and white if you’re so inclined. If you don’t fancy seeing red blood splatter from your enemies you can either switch the colour to green or choose the Hippy or Kids options which display flowers or confectionary instead of the gore.
Like the original release of The Second Encounter, this HD re-release is certainly OK for deaf gamers. The NETRICSA has once again been included and informs you of everything to do with the game such as details on enemies you meet, weapons you acquire and various aspects of the storyline. The information in the NETRICSA is given in text. Sam’s comments are subtitled so you’ll be aware of the quips he dishes out on a regular basis, quite a few of which are humorous. Hearing gamers will hear the cries or thunderous rumbles of approaching enemies before they come into view and in essence deaf gamers will be at a minor disadvantage here and will have to keep their wits about them a little more but it’s far from being a serious problem, particularly when enemies attack in waves. Of course it will certainly be more of a problem when playing the game on harder difficulty settings.
The big question of course is whether fans of the original release of Serious Sam: The Second Encounter should pay out again for an HD remake. I think there’s enough here to justify the asking price for those who really enjoyed the original version but it has to be said that it’s most definitely a game of its time and those who are only used to recent FPS titles might be surprised by its simplicity which although refreshing to an extent, can be monotonous if played for long durations. If you haven’t experienced a Serious Sam game before though, this is definitely the game to start with. For the asking price you’re getting an enjoyable single-player shooter that can also be a great deal of fun as a multiplayer experience too.