Serious Sam 4 from Croteam and Devolver Digital is a first-person shooter in the very popular action universe. Check our Serious Sam 4 review!
Humanity is under siege as the full force of Mental’s hordes spread across the world, ravaging what remains of a broken and beaten civilization. The last remaining resistance to the invasion is the Earth Defense Force led by Sam “Serious” Stone and his heavily-armed squad of misfit commandos.
Serious Sam 4 was originally released on the PC last year, in September 2020. A little more than one year later, we are finally getting the PlayStation 5 version! If you’re new to this franchise, You’ll play as Sam “Serious” Stone in a first-person arcade-style pick up and play experience. He’s not too serious and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He is definitively a colorful character! I’ve been a fan of the Serious Sam franchise since back when I was paying on LAN parties way back in the early 2000s. I was introduced to this franchise by friends and have played every main installment, so I was definitely up for playing Serious Sam 4 on Sony’s console!
In this new installment, aliens have invaded Earth, and it’s Serious Sam’s job to do whatever it takes to send them back to wherever they came from. I didn’t mention “the aliens have once again invaded Earth” because this game is, in fact, a prequel to the previous entries in the franchise. This means it’s the first time that Sam will get to meet his archnemesis Mental.
Last year, the Serious Sam Collection was released, and I had a blast playing it in split-screen with one of my daughters. We were slightly disappointed when we realized that this new game didn’t support local multiplayer. There is, however, online multiplayer, so you can still play with other people if you want.
The Serious Sam franchise is action-packed series of games, and this one has even more enemy waves to fight as you try to survive. Speaking of enemies, most of them are returning from previous games, which means the enemies you’ll have to battle will include skeletons, headless humanoids shooting fire at you, charging bulls, and other familiar enemies. The level design is way better than Serious Sam 3, which was a bit trickier to navigate when compared to previous entries in the series.
This time you have a handy pointer that shows the general direction you should move in, but the levels are mostly linear with some room for hidden goodies. You’ll also encounter some side-quests on the way that reward you with a new item and a trophy. I do have to say I favor the jungle theme of Serious Sam First and Second Encounters over the cities from this new installment. Each level takes around 40 minutes to an hour to complete, so do keep that in mind since you’re not going to be able to quickly jump in and out that easily – but you can, of course, stop at any time and leave your PlayStation 5 in rest mode so that you can
The new engine this game runs on seems already slightly dated, even though the game was just released. The levels are huge, and there is a lot of grass and foliage around you, but there’s a lot of object pop-in, which distracts from the main experience. I like that a signature feature from previous Serious Sam games was the destructible environment. Once again, when there’s a great fight scene, you’ll see trees and statues getting broken left and right. The shadows are also basic, but at least they represent the object that they are based on.
Being a PlayStation 5 game, I was expecting to see some vibration features on the DualSense, but that is not the case. Not only is it very basic, but it doesn’t feel polished. For example, when you jump, you’re expecting the controller to vibrate when you land, but in this game, it starts vibrating at the top of your jump and finishes when you land, which felt off. Also, Croteam didn’t use the many vibration settings of the controller and only opted to use the basic vibration for the jump and some of the guns.
I liked the inclusion of some Accessibility features for the game, such as five different levels of difficulty from Tourist (the easiest one) to Hard. You can also add an auto-aim feature which will help people that are less familiar with FPS games. I liked the kid-friendly features, which allow changing the blood to vegetables or stars, which was great for when my daughter was watching me play. I was, however, surprised to see that those kid-friendly features do NOT apply to the cut-scenes… which are even gorier than the main game!
Serious Sam 4 is a great game, and if you’re a fan of the series, then you know what to expect since this one is exactly the same. I did like taking on wave after wave of enemies, but I preferred the jungle setting of Serious Sam First and Second Encounters over the cities that you get to explore in this game. The action is intense, and things go a bit crazy in the last level, which does not disappoint. Add a fairly easy Platinum trophy to the mix, and you have a game that is not perfect but is one to check out on Sony’s console.
This Serious Sam 4 review is based on a PlayStation copy provided by Devolver Digital.