When all is said and done, Serious Sam 3 is just plain refreshing. It's nice to have a game that relies so much on flat-out enemy decimation, and which does it so well, so beautifully, and while providing at least the opportunity to share the experience with friends online.
It seems odd to slam Serious Sam 3 for a lack of restraint, especially if you've spent space arguing that it's not as mindless as it appears. So, a piece of advice, rather: play it in spurts, play it with friends in sixteen-player co-op, and shoot many monsters.
Serious Sam 3: BFE is designed primarily for fans and hardcore gamers, with its classic arcade gameplay. The Croteam title deserves to be remembered as one of the best examples of its kind, being tightly tied to the past.
I can really only think of one down side to Serious Sam -- it costs $40. This is a game that provides hours of good, stupid fun, sure, but that just seems a bit steep for a game that's neither particularly novel nor very long from start to finish.
This isn't Serious Sam. To call a Sam game repetitive would seem redundant, but I can find no better word to describe the cause of the boredom and frustration I felt in trying to complete this game.
Taunting you for hours, initially, with gameplay necessitating the use of cover while reloading low-power modern military weapons and fighting firearm-wielding humanoids mixed up with 'endless spider crab things', it finally opens up to real large-scale setpiece runs against hordes of foes, but forgets any of the lessons of pacing and most of the depth and fun inherent to enemy behaviour in the original games.
Eventually you come to fight hordes so large it feels more like a gruelling job of endlessly mopping the same floor in a club toilet as wave after wave of drunkards arrive to vomit across the tiles. You will spend hours simply 'wiping' massive groups of identical enemies with sustained fire, the pattern of projectile dodging repeating ad nauseum until you're subconsciously going through the motions unharmed. To counteract this most of the larger enemies and many smaller examples can do catastrophic, ridiculous amounts of damage to Sam, and one mistake can send you back to your last quicksave. If you play above Normal difficulty there will be so very many of these.
Animations are dreadful, enemies are a mixture of poorly recreated old and illogical new, most foes follow the precise same AI routines and the level design is complicated yet utterly boring. Dialogue is unbearable and has none of the deranged snappiness of the classic games, focusing instead on crude, peurile humour and military grunt cliches. There's also far too much of it, in cutscenes instead of voiceover.
A very bland copy of the original information database makes a return in painfully 'console' form, with no controls, no text scrolling, and a very slow wait for any information on the subjects in question.
In the end the only thing I liked about it was the way Gnaar's heads explode when you unload a coach gun into their optic orbit.
Painful. I'm going to buy the HD classics on Steam now to cleanse myself of this travesty. I don't know what happened to Croteam to lead them to lose the soul of Sam so completely, and attempt a poor copy years later.