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Review

Serious Sam 3: BFE Review

  • First Released Apr 23, 2011
    released
  • Reviewed Dec 8, 2011
  • PC

Crisp visuals and legions of enemies struggle to invigorate the lackluster Serious Sam 3: BFE.

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Sam Stone has made his name in video games by taking on relentless hordes of aggressive enemies and laying them all low with big guns and snarky quips. In Serious Sam 3: BFE, the legions of enemies and deadly arsenal return, but the novelty of Sam's run-and-gun-and-run-some-more style is long gone. This time around, the pace has slowed down and Sam's macho shtick has grown wearisome, draining much of the energy that once fueled this manic shooter series. Serious Sam 3 is a good-looking game that can still deliver some excitement, but the joy of annihilating crazy aliens is disappointingly diminished.

The Earth has been in a rough spot for quite some time in Sam Stone's world, though BFE actually takes place before Serious Sam: The First Encounter. The place in the timeline hardly matters, however, because Sam's objectives to locate downed crewmembers or gain entry to underground temples merely serve as waypoints on his ceaseless crusade to destroy the invading aliens. In previous games, Sam's brash attitude provided some amusement along the way, but his hypermasculine wisecracks come off as trite and predictable in Serious Sam 3.

This leaves the burden of entertainment squarely on the shooting. From a humble sledgehammer, you build your arsenal throughout the campaign to encompass a variety of guns that spew bullets, lasers, explosives, and even oversized cannonballs. The double-barreled shotgun is a deadly standout, as is the ammo-devouring minigun. Given the outlandish nature of Sam's foes, it's disappointing that the guns aren't more inventive, but they all fire with a solid sense of impact, thanks to good sound effects and sharp visual design. The environments also sport a lot of nice details, from rubble-strewn streets to crystal-clear water, though despite their technical prowess, they feel a bit bland. Apart from some claustrophobic sections, most levels give you plenty of room to maneuver as you gun down your foes, and each map hides a bevy of secrets that reward diligent explorers with health, armor, ammunition, keys to other secrets, or even new weapons.

The Egypt Tourism Authority is really slacking on the security front.
The Egypt Tourism Authority is really slacking on the security front.

The more guns you acquire, the better, because there are seemingly endless hordes of aliens to kill. Lurching robo-humans, sprinting skeletons, one-eyed monsters, and chittering arthropods are the most prevalent threats early on, but later levels bring charging bulls, shrieking harpies, and a variety of unpleasant flesh-metal hybrids. Different weapons are better at killing certain types of enemies than others, so as you run around, it behooves you to actively switch guns to outmaneuver your foes. Fast, ferocious, and numerous are the classic characteristics of enemies in Serious Sam, but it takes a while before things really get hectic. The adrenaline-inducing panic of being vastly outnumbered doesn't come often until the later levels, which makes the first few levels feel like an uncharacteristically slow start.

When the action finally heats up, blasting your way clear of danger can be a satisfying feeling. Driving rock music often complements your efforts nicely, and the calm after the storm is a welcome reprieve. But even at its best, the pleasures in Serious Sam 3 are relatively tame. Even though you spend most of the game sprinting, Sam's top speed has a detached feeling that makes it seem like you are using cruise control. The guns fire with gusto and the enemies die horribly, but you kill so many of them that they start to feel like boxes you are checking off as opposed to threats you are eliminating. Even when things get quite difficult toward the latter half of the game, you still feel like you're thinning a herd rather than decimating deadly foes. The campaign lasts significantly longer than most modern first-person shooters, but the thrills grow stale even as the enemies grow crazier and larger in number.

You would be that angry too if you had rocket launchers for arms.
You would be that angry too if you had rocket launchers for arms.

You can spice things up by joining other players in cooperative play. Up to four players can play via split-screen (with three USB gamepads) or 16 players online can blast the demonic hordes in levels from the campaign or in three survival maps. Having friendlier guns adds an enjoyable camaraderie to the action, and other players can help you discover secrets you might have otherwise missed. Given the campaign's slow start, however, it's best if you crank up the difficulty when playing with others. There's also a variety of competitive modes that involve killing other players or killing AI aliens quickly so that you can kill other players. The fast-paced play can be exciting, but very few people are playing online as of this review, which makes competitive play a less reliable way to enjoy the game.

There is some solid enjoyment to be had in Serious Sam 3: BFE, but the game rarely achieves the hectic joy of its better predecessors. Sprinting around and blasting through thousands of enemies feels more like cleanup than combat, and the good audiovisual presentation can only add so much. Serious Sam 3 can still pack a punch, but this boisterous shooter series has seen better days.

Back To Top
The Good
Impactful arsenal
Decimating hordes of foes can be satisfying
Ample secrets hidden throughout levels
The Bad
Action feels more like cleanup than combat
Campaign starts off slowly
Sam's macho quips are rarely amusing
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.
129 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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sayondas4

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serious sam is supposed to be a clean up blow up fun game,and this game is as fun as it's originals. modern shooter's lack the fun element.

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F0U666

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WTF! Giving this WONDERFUL Old-Fashioned Shooter a 6! And calling yourself a veteran... Just look at the user average rating and see who's wrong. If you don't like a game that everyone else LOVE, you simply don't deserve to review it. It makes me so angry when I see a 6/10 for a game that we all like except for ONE single reviewer... Try to convince a friend to get the game when Gamespot review score is only 6. I love gamespot but reviewers should all be fired without mercy. I still don't believe it! 8.5/10 is what it deserves.

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TheJazzGiant

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the game does everything it was supposed to.. action is a cleanup and has always been! dont like? dont play..

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Gelugon_baat

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@CrysisFPS I have listened to you before you mentioned how Chris Watters gave a discrete review before my last comment - and I will still repeat the gist of what I have said earlier, and what I have said to many other who believe that reviewers should be well-versed with the franchise of whatever game that they are reviewing:

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sorin_ro

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great game.stupid review.

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ElmoKajaky

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This review is broken. If you don't like Serious Sam, you simply don't like video games. Regardless, Chris Watters I will never take any review written by you seriously.

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brain20035

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I can agree with most of the points in this review, but it's a bit harsh to score it 6. I would personally give it a 7. I know that it's just a number and doesn't mean much, but it affects the public's view of the game, which in turn affects it's sales and success.

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CrysisFPS

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@Gelugon_baat Asking a person to review a sequel to a unique series is like asking somebody to review Godfather Part 2 without watching the first, and let them rate it as low as they wish. Just because someone isn't fully committed to a series doesn't make them less biased. In fact, it's perhaps making them even more so when they review it and treat it as though it shouldn't be the very thing it is trying to be; a simple arcade shooter, bringing old-school fun, nothing more nothing less. Anyway, haven't you listened to me before when I mentioned how he gave a discrete review?

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Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

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@CrysisFPS Oh sure, it's easy to say that Chris Watters is "stuck up on modern shooters" because he had been reviewing them a lot, isn't it? Have you ever considered that this review of Serious Sam 3: BFE of his may be less biased than you think because he doesn't have a history of reviewing games like the Serious Sam games and more importantly, a history of being a ?

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CrysisFPS

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@Gelugon_baat I am not attacking all of gamespot itself, but rather the reviewers it employs. Fair enough, Chris has given deservedly positive reviews to games like Resistance 3, but he still appears to be one of those that doesn't seem to fully address Modern Warfare 3's +/-s altogether. I don't know whether it's advertising pressure or his real opinion. Either way, he clearly is too stuck up on modern shooters to actually give this unique old-school shooter a chance. Just to fully clarify, had somebody else reviewed Modern Warfare 3 I wouldn't have even brought up that game. Bearing that topic on indie games like To The Moon, like I said I'm looking at the reviewer itself. He doesn't represent all of gamespot. I'm no fanboy; admittedly I didn't like Serious Sam 2 at all even if it had it's good points. But Serious Sam BFE was really meant to be look at as something different this year, good or not. Chris doesn't appear to be the kind of guy who will give a fairly balanced, un-biased review of it.

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Gelugon_baat

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@CrysisFPS Hey, I would have no problem if you want to be more articulate about your complaints. But really, raising Modern Warfare 3 - again? A game that is very, very much different in gameplay and themes compared to this one? So if Chris makes another review about a shooter and you don't like that review, you are going to raise Modern Warfare 3 again? And then use that to suggest that Modern Warfare 3 got a "better" review because it has more ads on GameSpot than other games? Sure is convenient playing the corporate greed card when GameSpot highlights small-time games like To The Moon and other indie games, isn't it? Sure is easy to overlook the coverage of these small-time games on GameSpot because they didn't get your attention, isn't it? Look who's talking about others being biased, I would say.

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Gelugon_baat

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@CrysisFPS You are not the first to tell me what you said. A lot of people like you don't seem to get that I am directing my lambasting not at those who are more articulate about their complaints, .

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CrysisFPS

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@Gelugon_baat Indeed, critics are entitled to their opinions, but they need to be professional about them. I hardly see how these Cons could warrant such a low rating for a game that is otherwise very well-polished for 20 people, when most of them exist in dozens of other games. He gives a rather discrete review, saying what is the problem but never being so specific about it. Just saying that it is "there" doesn't make you a fair reviewer. The fact that his review took up only 1 page says a lot about that. When one says that something, he should give at least a couple of examples. Not too much in the event of spoiling, but just something justified. Even if he gave this game a 4/10, I could forgive him if he had contructive reasons. The problem is you don't get that anymore. This guy reviewed Modern Warfare 3 and gave it an 8.5, when it neither improved nor even fixed any problems found in its predeccessors; it was still short and linear, with the same broken multiplayer. You don't get many fair and honest opinions from gamespot these days. It's starting to become all about Ad promotion, whatever is most popular and makes the most money. So please think twice and stop accusing us of being one-sided whiners. Think more about your own biased attitude, and take a closer look at the bigger picture.

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Gelugon_baat

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YUCK, I say. The bulk of you are whiners who make all kinds of allegations of corruption whenever a reviewer gives a game that you like/dislike a score. Disgusting, disgusting kind of dissent. What happened to civil disagreement, without all that insults and slander? But hey, some of you would say that this is the Internet so that you can say all you like then, is it not? Well, if that is the case, I would rub this in your face then: the score and review for this game isn't going to budge. Chris Watters is not one to change his review just because the lot of you are b****ing that the game that you like didn't get the score that you like.

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Gelugon_baat

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@Another-World [quote="You"]The reviews on this(and most other major) sites reek of hypocrisy. Like The_Luigi said, they seem to have a different strategy towards reviewing insanely hyped AAA games and games made by small players.[/quote]

You are very conveniently overlooking the publicity that GameSpot is giving to games made by "small players".

Have you seen the recent HotSpot episodes about "small-time" games like To The Moon and the games by Team Meat? Or the interview articles?

I would say that it's your recognition of what are "games by small players" that are at fault here.

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Gelugon_baat

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@Buck_Swaggler Oh sure, resort to suggestions of corruption then. Sure is so f***ing easy to make such suggestions on the Internet, isn't it? :roll:

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Gelugon_baat

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@The_Luigi

Why are you calling me out on those things you said? Do you think that I haven't thought of what you said? I will tell you that I had, but I know better now.

[quote="You"]The "single player arcade shooter" genre is very niche and largely dead due to the increase in interest for realism.[/quote]

It's "dead" not because of "interest for realism" among game consumers, it's "dead" because of lousy marketing and lack of will on the part of game-makers. The current generation of game consumers are not very familiar with such arcade shooters, and most game-makers are not willing to take the risk of making such games for them.

[quote="You"]For every one you mention there's dozens of realistic or slow paced third and first shooters.[/quote]

One and a half decades ago, it would have been the other way around. There were a heck lot more arcade shooters back then, and they fell out because they were starting to get stale - just like the "realistic" (as real as games can be) shooters of today are coming to.

It's a cycle of those selling more currently being more ubiquitous than those that are not. I wouldn't be surprised that a decade from now, you are going to make the opposite statement.

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trafalet

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@QuatrixJ - You're right, but that happened 10 years ago. I don't believe in this conspiracy theory either but you have to admit we're no longer able to appreciate a game based on a simple but fun idea. Mount & Blade, for example, received the same treatment upon its release, even though it was quite revolutionary in terms of gameplay. @AZE160 - Oh dear...

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halBU

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The real shame is that some people will look at the score - or read the article, get confused and then be further confused by the score - and then say "ah, I knew it. I'm glad I didn't give it a try". Try the game for yourself, people, because this is an outlying review and it's a shame.

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Roger_Smith

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The sad truth is that games like these really have no place among the modern gamer. Ideology has changed and these games just don't click anymore. I never played any SS games but I did play Painkiller, which is basically the same type of game, and I enjoyed it. Oh well.

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QuatrixJ

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I agree that the low score is unwarranted, but I'm tired of the ridiculous conspiracy theories about GameSpot being paid for positive reviews. GameSpot gave The First Encounter a 8.9 and The Second Encounter a 9.1 when Croteam was new and wouldn't have had cash to spare.

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HLno1

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<< LINK REMOVED >> Thats milennia ago... Where talking about nowadays...

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WillyChong

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Kudos on you, COD slave! :(

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flashn00b

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[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

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AZE160

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Anybody else faced the immortal Scorpion here? Thumbs if u did.

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Gantrathor

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I don't know if anyone has said this yet, but I'm going to say it anyways. *Clears throat* "Look ma, I'm a lumberjack!" On a semi-side-note, this game looks really good!

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Rickystickyman

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@tinmann840 I understand what you are saying, and I think this game deserved a higher review, but about the console crowd part... I play only console games except for GMOD and yet I still understand that computer gaming is generally better.

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biokrysty

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not a good review , the game really is good

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tinmann840

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It time to employ real PC gamers to review PC games. The console crowd will never get it. I really enjoyed the game and on normal it was quite a challenge. The game gets a solid 8.5 in my book, but who am I? What do I know about games? I've only been playing video games since pong. I've played every Sam since the first and I say Sam 3 is a worthy successor to the "Serious" franchise.

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relzen42

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Cleanup? Are you kidding? The sheer numbers of enemies are also bolstered by the fact that they give you the exact worst combinations to throw at you in any given time. You really have to keep track of which enemies are coming at you, plus their distance force you to use tactics that simply aren't necessary in any COD. Oh, and you have to keep track of ammo. At higher difficulty levels this is a must. I think this reviewer needs to stop being a tool.

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LeoGoBezerk

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Too bad it's just a matter of money what score did they give for a game...

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Zverugin

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Oh, i see... This game is not from Activision or M$, so Gamespot will give it bad score. Seriously, why not? They don't pay us, they don't deserve a higher score... Next time Gamespot, look who is writing review, this kid (reviewer?) should be at school by now...

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CrysisFPS

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Here's my problem; he reviewed Modern Warfare 3 and gave it an 8.5, when it used such a dated engine which didn't even fix any previous flaws. But BFE, made by 20 people, actually tries to be an improvement but that isn't enough so he invents excuses without being specific. E.g. (1) he said that the game starts out slow. I ripped a Gnaar's eye out in less than 3 seconds after the game started!!! How many games start as big as that? Anyway, it's always common for a Serious Sam game to start out smooth. (2) 'trite and predictable'? I thought Sam had some pretty good one-liners. All I noticed was a few recyclements that lacked amusement, and sometimes "reminders" of old days are a good thing. (3) 'Guns aren't more inventive' Ah, hello; this is a prequel when Sam fought for the army. Anyway, wasn't the Sirian Mutilator and sledgehammer enough for you? (4) 'More like cleanup than combat' In case you don't remember, Serious Sam was ALWAYS about fighting ridiculous numbers of monsters. And with the exception of the last level wasn't there a bit less this time round? Guess this is what happens when you hand the opportunity of review to a COD fanboy, or any fanboy for that matter. Activision can rob gamers with well-reviewed, over-priced products while discounted products from small developers like Croteam apparently must be criticised as much as possible without constructive points. BFE deserves a fairer, more honest, review than this!

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S3rialThrill3r

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Perhaps this should have been written as a two-page review. Some people including myself are confused as to why this game is not as good as its predecessors. For example: "In previous games, Sam's brash attitude provided some amusement along the way, but his hypermasculine wisecracks come off as trite and predictable in Serious Sam 3." Some quotes from the games mentioned would have helped to illustrate this statement. In other words, how is Sam's brash attitude "trite and predictable" this time if it wasn't in the previous installments? As was mentioned by another Gamespot user, the conclusion stating that "sprinting around and blasting through thousands of enemies feels more like cleanup than combat" raises questions as to why this is something to criticize when it is one of the main features of the previous games. The Gamespot review of "Serious Sam: The First Encounter " states that "the sheer numbers of foes you'll face is probably the single most remarkable thing about Serious Sam." What went wrong in "Serious Sam 3: BFE"? I'm guessing that the purpose of writing reviews is to advise consumers as to whether purchases of particular games, movies, music and so on will be worthwhile or suited to their specific tastes. As I will not understand Chris Watters' point of view until I have purchased and played the entirety of this game, maybe a re-write is in order.

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flashn00b

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This is the same person who gave MW3 an 8.5. A 6.0 is unsurprising from someone who thinks that there's nothing wrong with the greenest game of the industry.

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Nissemean

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Also it should have the awesome soudtrack badge just from this song alone. << LINK REMOVED >> And the only thing SS:BFE miss from TFE & SSE are weird rooms that where mostly annoying.

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Qixote

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This says that the predecessors are better, but it does not explain how. The way the review describes this game, it seems exactly like the predecessors.

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Black_Tribi

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Six, I mean SIX?! Seriously? This game deserves solid 8! I can't belive you give such 'reused' games much higher scores and this gets so low.

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Nissemean

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TSE > BFE > TFE > SS2 Gamespot got crap taste in videogames as usual. Go back to your Gears of duty : Combat rehashed 24 and let the people with actually good taste in games play this.

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Another-World

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@S3rialThrill3r I know that, what I mean how does it now seem like cleaning up when it did not earlier when basically you are doing the same bloody thing. Even if you discount the fact that this review unfairly judges the game as somebody's opinion, there's still the fact that the review in general is badly written. It's filled with 'you feel like because blah blah blah' with no objective explanation as to why the game makes someone feel that way. The reviews on this(and most other major) sites reek of hypocrisy. Like The_Luigi said, they seem to have a different strategy towards reviewing insanely hyped AAA games and games made by small players.

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nomadski69

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Never expected a decent score from this site, but at least they eventually reviewed it. Im guessing the score comes from their mood having to put down their controllers and stop playing CoD for 5 minutes to boot up their PC's. In fairness the first 4 levels are pretty mundane, like a modern shooter really. After that, this game rips it up like only Sam knows. If you like SS, you will love this game, if you've never played one, FFS sop being led down corridors by ingame nannies and give it a go. Its a blast.

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FlamingFury

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Good review.

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Fandango_Letho

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@hereatlast89 I agree with this score. I bought this game, since I loved all the other Serious Sam entries, but this one is just ''good'', without being excellent. It lacks the variety of the previous entries, and marks very little change with the weaponry. It's a fun game, but very repetitive and you can see egyptian ghost towns so many times before getting boring.

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hereatlast89

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I think rather than reviewing games GameSpot should consider rating themselves first.

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Buck_Swaggler

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Inside the Gamespot office- "Hey man, looks like you're reviewing the new Serious Sam." "Aww, but I friggin HATE shooter games, can't they give me that new Kinect game?" "Naw sorry man, they drew your name from the hat. Give it whatever score you want though, they didn't wanna pay for an 8 or 9."

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The_Luigi

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I really doubt there is any outright bribery going on in the game industry these days, but I do find it interesting how usually low budget and unpretentious games made by developers and released by publishers who don't have much impact on the video game industry get judged a lot harder than those who do because the reviewers don't have to be afraid of losing access to review copies and can keep up a "tough reviewer" facade with the average person who visits video game review websites. @Gelugon_batt, I would be interested in hearing how many games there are like the Serious Sam series. Outside of Painkiller (2004) , NecroVision (2009), Wolfenstein (2009), Vanquish (2010), Hard Reset (2011) and Bulletstorm (2011) the "single player arcade shooter" genre is very niche and largely dead due to the increase in interest for realism. For every one you mention there's dozens of realistic or slow paced third and first shooters.

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S3rialThrill3r

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@Another-World I suppose he means that the aliens are the mess and the weapons are the cleaning implements.

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foxfire0666

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If they had the aliens invade america and they changed the aliens to russians Im sure it would have gotten a better score. This site is starting to get pretty full of crap with its review numbers for anything that doesn't have multi tacked on, excluding skyrim since they are probably worried about the elder scrolls fans shouting at them.

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original_elite

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why is every single game rated so low?

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Serious Sam 3: BFE More Info

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  • First Released Apr 23, 2011
    released
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
    • + 3 more
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Serious Sam 3: BFE is a first-person shooter game that is a prequel to the original game, Serious Sam: The First Encounter.
    7.7
    Average Rating490 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Serious Sam 3: BFE
    Developed by:
    Croteam
    Published by:
    Devolver Digital, Mastertronic, Zoo Corporation
    Genre(s):
    3D, Action, VR, Shooter, First-Person
    Theme(s):
    VR
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Strong Language