Published on January 6th, 2022 | by Chris O'Connor
Serious Sam 4 Xbox Series X Review
Summary: Serious Sam 4 is a fun game but does come with some quirks!
Mental’s hordes are spreading across the world ravaging and tearing to pieces what is left of a broken civilization. Earth’s only hope is Sam “Serious” Stone and his team of unruly commandos. Set as a prequel to the Serious Sam series, Serious Sam 4 pits you against an unimaginable number of enemies that will force you to backpedal blast your way through your range of powerful weapons to have any chance of survival. While the game has been available on the PC for quite some time, it’s now received a port to the Xbox Series X and as Croteam themselves have said “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”… so it’s mostly the same as previous Serious Sam games with some tweaks. However it’s not as smooth as the PC version, even with a performance and quality mode and is very old school with its game mechanics and while not serious fun, it is still fun.
The core game is what I vaguely remember from the first time I tried a Serious Sam game which is a cheesy story with over the top characters and a 90’s movie vibe that will either work or not for the player. I think personally I have seen better implementations and it didn’t really land with me (but that’s just personal taste, for someone else it might just tickle their funny bone). It kind of feels like the more open plan version of Duke Nukem with a little less sexism, but the same sort of over the top machismo (though I did like the little “surprise” about what book Sam likes). It still primarily feels like an unlikely hero plucked out of his daily whisky drinking cigar smoking haze to work his way through an ever growing arsenal of over powered weapons to fight off a horde of bizarre enemies (from would be Slip Knot fans to giant belching aliens and everything in between). This is both the strength and weakness of the game.
The primary point (as far as I can tell) of Serious Sam games is just being confronted with a barrage of enemies, you’ve got your tools of the trade and it’s up to you what you use, when and how to survive the attack. Partly for this reason, the levels feel very empty when they don’t have hordes running at you (you may start thinking you hear kamikaze’s running towards you even when you stop playing the game). But when the enemies do show up, you won’t have time to look at the scenery anyway so it doesn’t matter too much.
Now… this game is a PC port so it does suffer from performance issues at times, particularly with some graphical glitches and at times a drop in frame-rate … but it is something that I suspect long time fans are not concerned with, or may even add to the “charm” of the game.. Thankfully for the most part on the Xbox Series X, the game is still playable but all in all, Serious Sam 4 does look a little dated on this next-gen console but if you’re seeking that old school first person shooter charm, this game delivers, especially with the gameplay and over the top audio.
If you like the idea of running and gunning, feeling well and truly outnumbered but having a chance to defeat the odds then this could well be up your alley. If you require a bit more polish and seriousness (pun semi intended) in your game then this may be more down a dark path. Nonetheless, it was still a blast on the Xbox Series X with its old school charm!