Quality has decreased, but this is still one crazy action paced good looking game. Coop is a must!
Basically the formula that worked in Serious Sam 1 returns here and does it's job perfectly. Unfortunately, the developers have lost their taste over the years and brought us a game, that does not have the "class and style", that was present in Serious Sam 1. With that said, the developers overdosed the game with goofiness, made it more childish, completely destroyed every drop of realism, that was still present in Serious Sam 1, made the level design more simple, reduced the challenge value, changed the soundtrack to a joke and made the game slower. These decreases are not that bad in general, but when you compare - it becomes noticeable.
Serious Sam The First Encounter and The Second Encounter, although by nature were the most unrealistic shooters at that time, had some elements of style and class, those did not make the goofiness look bad - the weapons looked and felt realistic, so did the monsters, animated in great detail, and executed in terrific animation; the sound effects also were that of the first class, and never sounded retarded. Game was not Quake, but was moderately fast for it's kind and the pace of game always changed from moderate to extreme depending on the levels.
All this had been changed in Serious Sam 2, in some things slightly, in other things greatly - some of the weapons look and feel ridiculous, the animation and detail of monsters has decreased, and game music became like a loony tune for 3 year old child. Somehow you now move slower and the game pace feels more constant through out the whole missions than before - so there are no more extra hard places, those drastically differ from other ones.
The new characters, like the inhabitants of the dimensions all look alike...
No mater if you are visiting Croatia or China they are basically the same and stupid - and act the same way as if there was no difference in dialogue and gestures - becomes annoying after a while.
Generally speaking the game became more childish - lost class and style.
Level design, although slightly worsened from originals, felt way worse.
In original games the different level design made you sweat more and was made in a more creative curve. Hence, Serious Sam 2 does not even toss so many monsters at you, the game became easier and therefore - the challenge value is not that great.
Multiplayer, except cooperative, is a joke - all the levels are totally unbalanced for competitive gameplay and feel like for fun. Besides the rule to win in multiplayer is just to get more artifacts and powerups, combine them with weapons and toss them at your opponent - really nothing special. Actually multilayer is not even that fun, because there is barely any skill involved in it, the movement engine is pretty simple. Even older games like Hexen 2 and Heretic 2 are far better in this aspect and i am not even talking about Quake 1.
However cooperative is what, once again, makes this game a entertaining experience! It is a lot more fun to play coop in LAN than to play alone.
I have a mixed opinion about graphics - generally all the shading and textures have improved since the original games, but despite this, i find the original games more beautiful.
All in all, Serious Sam 2 is a good release, a fine game for mindless fun, and does it's job perfectly, it is only sad that it did not bring anything better over the originals, but has decreased in style, class and quality. So if you had your fun time with the original Serious Sam games and this time want something refreshing, and more realistic, just leave this game and pick up original Painkiller, Left For Dead or Necrovision, but if you are a hardcore Serious Sam fan like me - definitely pick this game and do a coop!