LifeisXbox’s Serial Cleaners review | If you played the first Serial Cleaner in 2017 you are in for a large surprise, the sequel is unrecognizable. The first one had simple visuals and pretty straightforward gameplay. Serial Cleaners is the exact opposite, it has stylish and realistic visuals and deeper gameplay mechanics. You barely recognize Bob, the playable character from the first game. He’s back though and he brought some awesome friends!
While the concept remains the same from Serial Cleaners it brings me to a difficult spot. I loved the simple art style from Serial Cleaner, those charming and clear visuals made the game much more chill to play. Don’t get me wrong, I love these new realistic visuals too but somehow it lost a bit of what made that game so unique. Serial Cleaners is still something special among the many other video games, the stealth gameplay for cleaning up crime scenes and removing evidence while avoiding cops is really fun.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Clever story | Serial Cleaners has a story without actually being a story. It is all about four friends coming together and talking about how they know Bob. After that, they start to share the most memorable clean-up jobs and so on. Every level is a series of flashbacks, based on the memories of the four playable characters. Writing is very solid and makes sure that you get to know the background of each cleaner, some are more interesting than others but they can’t all have a fucked-up brain like Hal. Jokes aside, it is really fun watching the party together in the more chill moments. Seeing them play pool or share a meal together gives a kind of familiar feeling and works perfectly for getting to know each person. When the introduction part is over, things do get a bit more dramatic but I won’t be spoiling that. (obviously)
- Different playable characters | Bob, who we know from the previous game in the series has useful friends now. Storywise each of them is introduced very well, as you could previously read. Each of the four playable characters has some unique abilities. I will start with my favorite, Erin. She’s a young hacker that can lure the police to lightswitches or items that make noise. I found Erin’s levels to be the easiest as you can always do great crowd control. You also have Hal, a psycho with serious mental issues. He can chop up dead bodies and throw limbs toward officers to knock them out. Gruesome but lovely, the third and final friend from Bob is miss Lati. A strong woman that can pick up bodies and vault over obstacles, additionally she can create ‘fuck the police’ graffiti that will lure them to that place. An easy way to sneak behind them! Specific skills make the game a bit more challenging and fresh but in the end, the basic gameplay remains the same. Avoid cops, clean up blood, gather evidence, and drive away with the getaway car.
- A completely new but nice art style! | Gone are the simple visuals, Serial Cleaners is going for a fancy realistic look. They definitely succeed in that and the levels can look really beautiful. A few things clearly state that this is an indie game, facial expressions in cutscenes for example are non-existing but I adored little details in the environment. Levels aren’t really big but with multiple ways of solving how to do everything as an unseen ninja, it is the level of detail in the environments that truly make the visual side so impressive and much, much better than the first Serial Cleaner.
- Stealth is what makes the game good, but it also makes it hilariously unrealistic and annoying. | Even the greatest stealth games like Metal Gear or Splinter Cell have to deal with the gamifying fact that most of the things simply can’t be like that in real life. Serial Cleaners really bump up that fact by allowing you to vacuum blood in clear sight. There’s so much hilariously wrong with that, first, the police don’t see you jogging with a vacuum cleaner, he doesn’t hear the obviously loud 70dB machine and when he passes the crime scene isn’t aware that the blood vanished. I all forgive that but my real issue with the stealth mechanics is that most of them are time-based. You’ll be waiting and hear the time pass for when you can finally pass a line of sight, you’ll be doing that often, too often that it becomes dangerously close to boring. One mechanic is wrapping bodies in a plastic bag so you don’t leave more blood traces. Officers will become suspicious when they see a naked body one minute ago and a body covered in plastic a bit later but completely forget about it after a few seconds. The different playable characters have original moves that change up the stealth gameplay a bit but the basic premise stays the same, after a few levels it becomes repetitive.
What we Disliked
- Dumb AI | There is one big issue with Serial Cleaners and that’s how plain stupid the police officers behave. The line of sight is way too easy to break and officers do the most idiotic things, simply jump or start to climb a ladder and they don’t know what to do. You can easily walk a few seconds in their line of sight and they instantly forget that they saw something. The stupid behavior totally breaks the immersion of play, once you know how to abuse this there isn’t any kind of challenge besides waiting a little to get evidence away from the crime scene.
How long to beat the story | 8 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 10 hours
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