Imagine, if you will, the early days of the First Person Shooter. I'm talking games like Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein. Games that aren't reliant on puzzles, plots, and just involve shooting the hell out of everything in sight.
Serious Sam is the perfect homage to these classic games, offering up TONS of weapons, TONS of enemies to kill, and nothing that much more complex. And man oh man, that's what gaming is all about.
We saw Serious Sam HD last year, and it was good. It was a solid graphical overhaul of the classic 2001 shooter with excellent co-op play. Serious Sam: The Second Encounter (Or as we'll call it, Serious Sam SE) was considered to be much better than the original, and the same goes for the XBLA release. Much like with Serious Sam HD, this is the same game with new graphics, but also more, like competitive multiplayer (like deathmatch, CTF, etc..) and additional gameplay modes, like survival.
The plot is not one that's involving. You are Serious Sam, the biggest bad-ass on this side of the planet. That's pretty much all there is to it. Everything that doesn't speak English gets brutally murdered on your quest to... do something. It's not a standout plot, but it doesn't need to be.
It's just balls out action. If you have a testosterone overload, Serious Sam is the best medicine. With the exception of the occasional "push some switches" and "jumping puzzles," it's just KILL everything.
The controls are slighly wonky (like Y for quicksaves and LT to jump) but they are extremely managable. Aiming is solid and keeps up with the blistering pace of the game. The "HOLY SHIT" level of enemies on screen never messes with the framerate, or at least not that I have seen. One complaint is an awkward "snap to center" option, that when you aim up or down fast, the reticle "snaps" to the center. Thankfully, you can turn this off.
The production values are, of course, improved greatly. Everything looks WAY better than it back back in 2002, and it's still one of the best games on the XBLA graphically. Everything else, including the levels and enemies, are unchanged for the better.
New weapons are in the game as well, including a chainsaw, a flamethrower, and a sniper rifle that is surprisingly useless unless you zoom in. These are terrific additions, but none can match the CANNON. That's right, one of the weapons is AN EFFING CANNON. Other standards, like shotguns and rocket launchers, are here as well. Powerups, like super speed, super damage, and invunerability, are conviently located where you'll want them.
New enemies are here as well, including a lizard with rocket launchers for arms, a guy with a pumpkin for a head WITH A CHAINSAW, and others. Still, nothing can quite match the headless kamakazis, with their ominous "AAAAAAAAHHHHHH" scream as they get closer. Did I mention that they have no head?
The game is also LOADED with secrets. From hidden items and weapons to easter eggs (particularly a Duke Nukem Forever joke at the beginning of the first level), there's an abundance of hidden goodies. The guy voicing Serious Sam still fits the role perfectly, and some lines are truly memorable, and i'm pretty sure some new ones were added for the HD remake.
I don't know how many times I say "man, it's cold. My nipples are like pencil erasers" on a weekly basis.
The multiplayer is expanded, including competitive options, which were lacking in the first. Sadly, these servers seem pretty desolate, but the co-op servers are thriving. This really is a game that only gets better when you have friends playing with you.
For $15, it's debatable that Serious Sam SE HD isn't worth the money. It's a braindead shooter with no thought required. But if you are like me and sick of "narrative driven games," you should SERIOUSLY pick this one up.
PS. OH! It's on sale for 600MSP until Monday. If you don't have it, get it NOW.