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Old 05-03-2012, 10:05 PM   #1   Add To Ignore List  
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Post Serious Sam 3: BFE review

Hello everyone!
Maybe it is a little strange to make a review my first post here, but after playing SS3 I had a big urge to state my opinion about it. (If you only want to see my pros and cons scroll down)

Before I bought the game I watched some videos of it to get an impression on it.
In the first video I saw the player using the AR. My first thought was, that it has to be a troll-video, that doesn't actually show the real game, but the rating of the video and the kamikazes he killed totally didn't fit that case. After watching more videos I had to accept that this was actually Serious Sam!
Why did I buy the game then, if I didn't like what I saw? Simply because something inside me still hoped for it to be good when playing it after I read about SS3 and how it is more like SS1 again.

When playing it I realized, that there are a few things in the game I abolutely don't need to have:
1. Reloading (it was never an issue with the dual colts as)
2. Using weapon sights (except for the sniper)
3. Space-monkeys
4. Sprinting
5. Parcour secrets
6. Ammo-boxes
7. Smoke


The graphics:
I think SS3 looks pretty good, but I'm not someone who cares too much about awesome graphics anyways.
I mentioned that I don't want to have smoke in the game, and I think everyone who played the game knows what I mean. Every time something explodes the result is similar to a tactical smoke grenade. The smoke obstructs your view and you're basically blind. Note that being blind is not very good in Serious Sam. The problem is not that the smoke looks bad or should be transparent. I just think obstructing the view with smoke is nothing you need in Serious Sam.
The only bad thing I can say about it is, that my first thought was: "Oh god no! Not another brown game!"
Maybe this is a bit away from the topic, but seriously! Whats up with shooters nowadays? About everywhere I look I see brown, grey, ohhh grey! ummm... did i mention brown?
I understand that the game is set in Egypt, but that doesnt mean that you can't put some paint onto the buildings or make a level set in a big oasis or something like that. Also it was always daytime in the game. Couldn't it have been dusk or night in some levels? I really liked how it slowly became night in SS1.
Another thing i never understood at all is Sam himself. Why is he always completely changed whenever there is a new game. By now we have 4 different looks (one for each engine). He looks ok in every game, but why change him so much? He looks like a completely different person everytime I see him. One thing that simply looks bad on him in SS3 is the „beard“ . I don't know if it depends on the graphics settings, but for me it looks like there is something wrong with his skin.


Weapons:

The Mutilator:
It's pretty fun to use, using it on a werebull to go sand-surfing is pretty pointless though. It should have been made so that you can use the bull like a vehicle. That would have been fun.

The Sledgehammer:
A new weapon I really like in SS3, as it is not as overpowered in certain situations as the chainsaw. In difference to the Chainsaw, which just needed to be pointed in the direction of the enemy you actually need to know when to let the hammer slam down. All in all it's a weapon that is well-chosen for Serious Sam.

The Pistol:
A weapon I don't particularly dislike, but I keep wondering why they changed it into a deagle. Are dual colts too lame/outdated? Or is it something like the "Everyone uses deagles in their games so we need to as well"-thingy?

The Single-Barrel-Shotgun:
It's pretty nice, except for the one thing in it that isn't: reloading. While reloading is something that is definitely needed in about any shooter, Serious Sam doesn't fall into that category.

The Double-Barrel-Shotgun:
Nothing bad to say about it. Kicks ass as always! (a bit too much in versus mode from what I hear, but i don't play versus anyways)

The Assault-Rifle:
The weapon I like least of all. Aside from the shotguns this is the weapon you usually use most in single player. I don't like it because you also have to reload this one and because it sounds like it doesn't have any punch behind it. The Thompson from SS1 didn't sound particularly badassy, but at least not like it has some sort of silencer mounted on it. Also I'm not a fan of the feature to use the sights.

The Minigun:
Pretty much what you'd expect from a minigun in Serious Sam. Useful and has a pretty nice sound.

The Rocket-Launcher:
Very similar to the ones from the previous games in its effect on enemies, but I don't like the sound, as I think a I'd want to hear a "whooosh"-sound when firing a rocket (like in SS1), not just the mechanical part releasing the rocket from the weapon.

The C4-Explosive:
Can be useful in some situations (like those where you have ammo-boxes for these). Still I don't really think you need something like this.

The Laser:
The same Laser you know from SS1. I always liked the Laser so I like it in SS3 as well. The bad thing about it is that the Laser and its ammo is only available by finding secret areas. When I first played SS3 I found several secrets with electricity and always kept wondering if I'll ever find the gun that can shoot it, but I didn't.

The Devastator:
Something like a mix of Cannon and Rocket-Launcher pierces through multiple smaller enemies like the Cannon does, but flies in a straight line like a rocket and explodes like a rocket. The weapon itself is pretty neat, but it is better than the Rocket-Launcher in about any way possible. You can pretty carelessly shoot this explosive weapon without considering your surroundings as it doesn't explode on contact with enemies. If it does, getting hit by its explosion is probably not the thing you should be worried about. The bullet flies very fast so even at long range you can still hit enemies pretty easily. All in all I like it, but it shouldn't be that much better than a Rocket-Launcher. The sound of it is ok, but nothing too special.

The Sniper-Rifle:
A normal Sniper-Rifle, that has a lot of power and accuracy. The only thing I hate about this one is the amount of ammo you can carry. 10 rounds! Thats all! Sam is strong enough to carry 30 Cannonballs with an Uranium-core but cant carry more than 10 sniper-rounds. Makes perfect sense. Just like the Laser this is a weapon you can only get by finding secret areas. Due to the lack of ammo for this weapon it can pretty much be rendered almost useless garbage. The only enemy I like to kill with it are the witch-brides, but you can just as well use the Devastator.

The Cannon:
The weapon itself didn't change much except for the looks, but the only level you have this weapon on is the last. You can find a secret one before the last level, but there are barely any occasions where it is really useful.

Additionally I want to note that I don't really like getting new weapons that slowly at the beginning. It can be avioded by finding secrets, but running around with only the sledgehammer and your pistol is very boring after a few fights.


The Combat-System:

Melee combat:
I rather like the many brutal ways to send enemies to hell. It is pretty nicely done in the case of kleers, gnaars and scrapjack, as you have to be reasonably close (you basically catch the kleer in its leap) or like in scrapjacks case you have to stun him with explosive weapons.
In some occasions though (like the fight with many spiders in „The silent Riddler“), I don't even need guns because you can just as well melee you enemies. You just teleport to the spider and rip its back of/ stomp it. Killing a big spider melee just simply goes too fast and you don't have a trophy in your hand that blocks you from your next attack as it does in the cases of kleers and gnaars. The trophies are another thing i don't like too much about melee as it always prevents you from shooting as long as you have it in your hands. For the beheaded rocketeer it seems to depend on which weapon you have selected. With most weapons you just kick him to the ground, but when meleeing with your AR you rip his heart out.
All in all i do like melee, but I think its use should be more occasional.


General combat:
I find the combat in SS3 to be relatively boring compared to SS1.
Most of the time you can just shoot any enemy you like, as it doesn't really matter at all because none of the enemies is a particular higher threat than others. In SS1 you usually were under constant pressure from melee-enemies like kleers, kamikazes or werebulls while being under constant fire of ranged enemies like reptiloids or biomechs from the background. The point is that you barely ever have to dodge ranged attacks while being attacke in melee as well. The reason for this is, that in SS3 you can usually kill all the melee enemies behind cover and then take out the bigger ones afterwards.
It does have some battles that have that SS1-feeling, but only in the latter half of the game and very few of them.
SS3 has enough variety in enemies but it doesn't combine different enemies enough to create different challenges.
Also there are too many objects on your usual battleground that let you take cover and obstructs your view. I don't really consider Serious Sam to be a shooter where you often take cover so thats a bad thing imo.
In the SS1 and SS2 most battlegrounds were relatively open areas with very few Objects placed in them. I already read people complaining about SS2 to be too cramped, now SS3 is even far worse in that aspect.
To be honest when I finally arrived at the last level it felt like a completely different game for me. No obstacles in your way, and loads of enemies coming at you. That didn't happen at any time before in SS3 and for me it was the first level I really enjoyed playing.
On a side-note I should mention, that I liked SS:SE most, because it had fights, that had changed physical circumstances. You fought enemies in a room where you were constantly jumping and could turn gravity off by collecting a pill. Another time you fought in a giant tube where you could run on the ceiling and ground alike.


Using weapon sights:
As stated I don't like this feature, as it's simply unnecessary in a game like Serious Sam.

Sprinting:
You can very fast thanks to this feature, but I'm not a big fan of it, because you can now outrun any enemy except for werebulls.

Enemies:
Most enemies in the game are fine but spacemonkeys and clone soldiers are the ones i don't really like.
Spacemonkeys don't work together with other enemies in any way as they only attack from pillars/walls. As long as you're not near any they won't attack you at all. Even if you run right into their middle they don't attack frequently. The only thing they're good at is hiding from you, giving you the urge to blow all the pillars in sight to pieces. In total they are good for nothing but annoyance and wasted time.
Clone soldiers aren't as bad as spacemonkeys, but in most cases you'll find yourself shooting them from great distances or from cover. That leads to the fight evolving in a way I don't like at all. This is the kind of fight you'd expect from games like CoD or Battlefield but not Serious Sam. Now you'd probably argue that Arachnoids do the same thing, but they just don't come at you in such large numbers.
Another thing is the bigger enemies moving more than in previous games. I don't consider this to be bad, but it's a double-edged sword, as it greatly reduces the effectiveness of the rocket-launcher especially compared to the Devastator. Moreover it reduces the threat by those enemies as they don't try to close in on you any more. Biomechs in particular are barely a threat when far away, but if you let them come too close you can be killed in a matter of seconds.
The game does have enough variety of enemies, but its still less than I would have hoped for.On a closer look i have to revoke the statement saying SS3 has enough variety in enemies. In SS3 there are only 3 types of attacks by enemies:
-Melee attacks
-Missiles (dodgeable ranged attacks)
-Bullets (non-dodgeable ranged attacks)

You could argue that this was never really different, but in previous parts you had several more imo:
-Homing missiles
-Aimed missiles (I am referring to enemies shooting so that you'd run right into the attack like lava elementals from SS1 or the huge spiders from SS2)
-Spread attacks (beheaded firecrackers/Zorg commanders)

All those different attack types in combination made it extremely difficult to leave battles unscathed.

Melee enemies like kleers and kamikazes used to strafe to intercept you in your run.
In SS3 kleers and werebulls can turn around much faster and will attack more due to that. How is this negative? The player can't be faced with as many of them any more, as it'd become impossible to dodge them in large numbers.



Bosses:
To me the bosses are one of the bigger disappointments. There are 3 real boss-fights (the other ones are just standard-enemies made into a mini-boss).
Having only 3 boss-fights wouldn't matter too much, but 2 of them are the same enemy, the war-ship. The problem with the war-ship fights is, that the boss itself is not really a threat at all. Most of the time is spent shooting the enemies it spawns (especially in the second one), so that the boss becomes little more than a background-picture, whose blinky lights you occasionally shoot. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not against fighting bosses and other enemies simultanously, but I'd like the boss to be a big threat as well an not just to be there for decoration.
The last boss wasn't really fun either. First of all you don't get an indication on the existance of a jetpack, (they could have simply mad Sam make a comment to give you a hint) so that I simply ended up having to google it. The next problem about the fight is that simply stick some iron bars into the bosses back to defeat him. You don't even actually need to shoot him too much, if you don't want to just let the lightning do the work. Far too easy overall, as you can simply ignore the other enemies that spawn on the ground.


The level-design:
You spend too much time in narrow streets, which results in the fights to be much in the style of an urban warfare (the best example would be, when you meet the technopolip-helicopter for the first time).
As stated earlier already there are too many obstacles tha provide cover. I mean if the „Grand Cathedral“ was a map in SS3, you probably would taken cover in the little fort in the last battle before the boss. Doing so in SS:SE was pretty much suicide.
Next thing is running around in dark dungeons only seeing what's in your flashlight (am i playing Doom 3?). I'm not totally against fighting inside of dungeons, but the ones you have in SS3 are just totally annoying. In the first one you basically only fight spiders in very very narrow spaces (also some gnaars but that doesn't help). I especially hated the big room with many pillars in „The Last Man on Earth“, as it was nothing more than pull switch, kill monkeys, repeat. Couldn't there at least have been some other kinds of enemies? I mean, you must have a pretty distorted view on how a Serious Sam game should be, to think that this fight fits into Serious Sam.
There are big open areas in the game no doubt, but they are all littered with obstacles, which prevent it from actually being open at all.
One more thing I dont like is the over-usage of the pills. Pills here, pills there, pills everywhere! Whatever happened to using normal medkits.
In previous games you always were wary about a single pill lying around somewhere as they were usually triggers that spawned something (mostly secrets).
Why does everything have to lie on the ground or on objects. I don't think there was anything wrong with the items floatin in the air before, so why does it have to be changed? At some point it feels like SS3 wants to be more like other shooters.
One more thing I should mention here are the ammo-boxes. I'd love them to be removed again and to be replaced with the serious packs. I don't want anything in the game that has the label "Use this weapon now" on it.
Another problem is, that you can almost always simply go back to previous areas. There are no doors that close behind you, basically telling you, that you'll be engaged by loads of enemies and have to fight them in that specific room.
In the previous parts of Serious Sam you had to deal with enemies, that could pretty much come from anywhere. In SS3, however enemies almost all the time come from one specific direction, so that you don't have to consider being attacked from behind at all.



Other things:
What happened to Sam's phrases? I can definitely say it's nothing good. What he mostly does, is call about every enemy he meets for the first time ugly and makes bad dynamite jokes. And honestly! To say „What are you screaming for? The pain hasn't even started yet“ to a kamikaze whose strongest wish is to blow himself up as close to Sam as possible is pretty pointless (he originally said that to the exotech larva from second encounter where it fit very well). Many of his phrases are simple reused from previous games.

The secrets in Serious Sam were usually something funny like the giant kamikaze, the bunny sausages, the poker-game, the killer-plants, the yard with the resized enemies, oh and of course boxing barry!
There are many more, but it would take far too long to list them all here.
In SS3 secrets consist of climbing up stupid places to get one pill (great! -.-), getting the laser and sniper-rifle and their ammo, and the rest is armor, health or ammo for other weapons. There are some secrets that let you find a weapon earlier in the game, but it's not very beneficial to do so in most cases. When I found the secret rocket-launcher I thought i could shoot down the helicopter that appeared for the first time afterwards.well, I actually could shoot him down, but he simply reappeared later on the level, where he was invulnerable. So why bother trying to find the secret one, if you get the non-secret one about 5 minutes later.
Another thing about secrets are the so-called mini-secrets. I generally get the idea of what they are supposed to be, but there are several non-mini-secrets that are in similar locations as them. So why did they even bother to make them. Many of the secrets are very difficult to find, because there are no hints that could lead you to them.

Short Version:

+most enemies
+weapons (except AR, single shotgun)
+melee (should be more balanced though)
+last level
+graphics



-bossfights (the bossfight I enjoyed most in the game was the biomech, which I found to be a little disturbing)
-secrets
-variety of enemies
-usage of weapon sights
-sprinting (people already complained about being able to outrun a kleer in SS2)
-space monkeys
-reloading
-flashlight levels
-urban levels (far to narrow, too much cover)
-amount and variety of enemies faced at the same time
-ammo-boxes
-smoke


(I may not have covered all the points of the review here)


Maybe you have a different opinion about it, so you might feel offended by how I show SS3 in this review, but that's simply how I saw it when playing.
But I just think, that there is only one thing where SS3 is definitely closer to SS1 than SS2 is, and thats the graphics-style. The gameplay and combat-system are a step away from SS1 imo.

Saying that I have to say that I enjoyed playing all previous parts, but I somehow can't get myself to enjoy SS3.

Thanks for reading!
Tyrian2k

(I probably made myself several enemies just now didn't I?)

Edit: The newly added things are Yellow.

Last edited by Tyrian2k; 05-05-2012 at 03:06 PM.
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