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Serious Sam franchise is probably my favorite. I love it for great coop, ingenious enemies, hard to find secrets, catchy music and simple but not so easy gameplay. Although while all these games have all these cool things, they all also have the same major errors. It is very strange since we already have 4 serious games (7 if you count Xbox and HD versions). I hope this post will help make future sequels even more serious.


These things makes Sam Stone serious

In this part I will write all features that were in previous games and imo should stay because they are things that makes Serious Sam games awesome.

Really big gameplay feature of Serious Sam is that after shooting enemy for some time he will express his pain. This causes that he will stop shooting or running for a while. All enemies do is run towards you or shoot at you. When you manage to stop them you did great job. Also some enemies have to stop for a while to start shooting at you too. By using this knowledge you can avoid some decent amount of damage. It helps to distinguish veterans from new players. It’s really important to have some simple mechanics which gives opportunity to make some different tactics.

Every weapon have it’s pros and cons. Thus diferent weapons works well with diferent types of enemies. But even when we didn’t use “right” weapon we still can defeat enemy. It’s cool that every weapon have “power” but against some types of enemies its even more useful. Also it’s important that we can switch between weapons fast.

Secrets, secrets, secrets. Its imo third most important pillar of Serious Sam. Those fun to find treasures are right behind loads of enemies and bigass weapons.

Simple weapons. Serious Sam never have complex weaponry but it means that it was bad? Imo its great that theay are simple. We know exactly what every weapon does and how good they are at it. There is no need for peculiarities. Zoom and detonating with RMB or chargeable shoots are acceptable but Serious Sam weapons should be as simple as possible. Thus imo realoding and secondary fire is getting in our shooting way and shouldn’t be in SS game (however infinite ammo weapons like revolvers could have reloading for balance purposes).

Power ups are great feature which also makes multiplayer more interesting. It’s often in dangerous places so there is some kind of risk-reward mechanic which is great. It also makes you think before using it. Nice boost which cannot be wasted. One more think to keep in mind.

Sprint which was introduced in BFE is good. It makes large maps more fun and we can move faster when all enemies are killed and when we want to search for secrets. However you can run from kamikazes (in previous games you have to switch back to Revolvers or Tommy gun to use pain animation in your favor) but imo there is much more advantages from it.

More than two soundtracks to one level introduced in BFE is great idea! Please more of that. Music is big part of Serious. And don’t dare to forget about Undercode!

Multiple animations of dead is another great feature. It makes gunplay much more enjoyable. We can literally feel how hurtful Sam’s hammer hit is. It’s cool to have different feel of each weapon.

“Parkour” introduced in BFE just have to stay. Jumping around for searching secrets makes game more enjoyable because if we get bored of shooting we can always jump for treasures. Also it could find use in multiplayer (shorter but more dangerous ways of reaching weapons, health etc.).

Cutscenes are fun. And it doesn’t matter that after watching them in single player we will skip them in coop almost every time, first time it’s always awesome.

Attack indicator is great feature, especially for a such fast game. We should know from where attacks come from. Game is less frustrating (it let us know what we are doing wrong) and it helps find our enemy faster.

Destroyable environment. Another feature which makes Serious Sam unique and more dynamic. No cover all man.

Setting is one of Serious Sam‘s USP (unique selling point). Not Egypt (which is awesome) but original place which doesn’t occurs in other games too often. Second Encounter was even more awesome because it was more varied in this aspect.

Mods. I’m happy that when almost everyone else get rid of mods from their games, you still give community opportunity to make their own content. Keep it up!

Xbox not HD version have pickup Teasures which give only points. I see no point in deleting them and adding them only to one gamemode. It should be part of the main game. When you looking for secrets and you find none you can always find treasure. Cool mini-secrets which compensate wasted time. All in all we like to collect stuff.

Live system isn’t bad. I liked system from Serious Sam 2 and Serious Sam Xbox where you have to gain points to get new live. It would be cool to have option to turn it on even in single player. Having options is always good.

One of most original features of Serious Sam were “strange gravity” levels. Serious Sam on Xbox (not HD version) have even new part of levels with this feature and it was great! I’m very sad that SS2, HD and BFE doesn’t have these “strange gravity” levels. Another thing which makes Serious Sam unique.

No more sweeten baby

Now to the bad things. We will start with the most frequently repeated.

First of all, start sucks. Every single Serious Sam game have this problem. The start is slow and dissimilarly boring to the rest of the game. This causes that first campaigns are less played in coop and are less fun because we have only weakest weapons. I think that is one of the biggest reasons why the most of the Serious Sam fans didn’t like Serious Sam 2. Game was starting really slowly and the biggest guns were only at the end of the game. When I want to play some of the Serious Sam I never choose first levels. I would expect to have fast game right form the start. To solve this problem you can go in tree ways:

  • Just make them as fast as rest of the game.
  • Make more optional secrets that spawn more enemies and more weapons.
  • Different version of map in coop. It should have more high tier weapons as well as more bigger enemies instead of enemies with more hp as it is now.

AI of enemies is poor. And I’m not saying that it’s bad that they are just chasing us in straight line. I just want to be sure that there is no safe place on the map. No cover all man! Enemies always have to find a way to get me. There shouldn’t be situations where for example Gnaar is running into a truck when I’m on this truck. AI from BFE is better but this problem still occurs.

Staying behind in coop. There is strange behavior from players in coop. They tend to just run to end of the map. This isn’t fun for the rest of the players when they have to end map earlier. And also it’s not point of the game. The point is to kill enemies and seach for secrets. Of course you a better player when you do it faster but speed of doing that is matter of secondary. I have few ideas to fix this:

  • Game will ask us if we want teleport to teammates if we are far away from them.
  • Game should require more teamplay even on lower difficulty levels. For example we can only respawn on our teammates and we can respawn only after some time. If everyone die and there is no player to respawn on map will be restarted or all players will respawn in a little earlier part of the map .
  • If we find secret which have big fight (for example Second round secret from Tower of Babel level in TSE) or someone went to boss room game will ask if we want to teleport there.
  • Game will start boss fight/end map only when  50%-75% of players are near.

Animations sucks. Seriously there isn’t even falling animation for both players and enemies. However you get better at SS2 and then SS3 (but still those facial animations, gross).

Cutscenes placement is bad. This was most evident in Xbox (not HD) version. Half of the game lacks cutscenes or they are just like *Serious Sam enters into black corridor*. Cutscenes as reward is cool idea but why don’t reward player after beating each level?

Too much of blood screen/screen shaking is bad. All it does it irritates player and prevents rapid understanding of the situation. BFE fixed that somehow by adding attack indicator but blur after hit is still too big.

Versus multiplayer need to be more balanced to be played more often. I often have feel that weapons are just thrown in multiplayer without balancing their dmg to the players. It’s just like: “Damage patterns works well with kleers so they will work with humans too right?”. Every weapon should be more thought out for versus so each weapon could find their use. Just like in single player.

No more shortcut secrets. They causes that we can’t have all secrets and again it mess up coop. Also as I said, killing loads of enemies is Serious Sam’s core feature. Why would we want to skip opportunity to kill monsters?

Smoke in BFE. It so bad idea that I don’t even speak about it.

Having only Egypt themed maps is seriously boring. I like Egypt since it isn’t used often in games but game have to offer greater diversity of setting to be less boring. This one of the major reasons I like TSE more than TFE.

No more invisible walls like in Serious Sam 2. We really do not like them. Fortunately, they are no more in such amount in BFE. But if you don’t want player to go somewhere just put there a goddamn obstacle!

Xbox (not HD) version have a lot of new awesome things (maps, soundtracks, cutscenes). And HD versions which were made after releasing this version didn’t have these things. PC players didn’t have opportunity to enjoy them. Simple question why do not give them this opportunity in HD versions?

Don’t fuck with nostalgia in remakes. Changing even small things if we aren’t sure that change is good isn’t good idea (Xbox stuff were really cool). Of course you can add more stuff, it’s nice bonus, but don’t you dare to delete old content (lack of Red Station in SSHD *sniff*, lack of some maps in Xbox not HD version *sniff*). In TSEHD Zorg have different sounds. Players remembering old Serious Sam didn’t like them no because they were bad but because they were different from original (special mention deserve the horrible appearance of Mighty Marvin in SSHD which was simply worse from original design). But if you not making remake you can change a bit more (Serious Sam 2 Bio mechanoid is awesome).

I’m not sure if making enemies immune to some weapons is good idea. All it only limits the ways of beating the enemy.

Funny enemies = bad. Another big reason imo fans did’t like Serious Sam 2. All humor comes from Serious Sam one-liners, cutscenes or funny actions in game. Adding funny creatures is overdoing which breaks immersion. Enemies just have to be scary or at least badass.

Each attack have to be predictalbe. Another reason SS2 wasn’t liked. There was many flying enemes wich have way too random movement. It really pissed off player (or at least me).

HD versions bring new bad thing. “Slippy” movement. In previous games you have more control of your character. Now in HD version and BFE (less noticeable but still) enemies can push you and you fly away like ice cube. Enemies movement is more annoying and unpredictable too. For example kleers now tend do slip when they try jump on you and there is obstacle (for example corner of column or wall). Then they gain speed and fly away behind you. This is very annoying and there is no way you can avoid their attack if there is more enemies. Please less annoying, slippy movement.

Another post-HD version bad feature. Camera. When we use elevator or stairs and going up we have feel that something heavy jumped on Sam’s back. However when we go down Sam suddenly becomes two times higher. Camera have to be more static especially for such fast game.

Many gamemodes is good thing but with small community it causes that it’s hard to find anyone to play because everyone want to play different gamemode. In this case smaller but more polished amount of gamemodes is imo better choice. You can also give rewards for playing each gamemode (something like new player models, because achievements isn’t enough) so people want to play them.

Payable DLC with new content isn’t good idea. They cause that players that have DLC and players that doesn’t it have less players to play with. It especially hurts when game community is small. As we know SS doesn’t have large community (at least playing multiplayer) and this dealings killing multiplayer even faster.

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