LifeisXbox’s Serious Sam 4 review | 20 years later, and Sam’s still killing aliens and monsters. This time, however, it’s real serious. This is Croteam‘s 4th instalment in the main-line Serious Sam series and was published by Devolver Digital. The game was originally released on Windows PC and Google Stadia back in 2020, and now it’s on next-gen consoles! Serious Sam 4 is a prequel to the Serious Sam 3: BFE game, which released back in 2011; A huge portal opens somewhere in Russia, which allows aliens to invade our planet. It’s up to the famous Sam Stone to close this portal and make an end to this invasion.
Aliens here, quotes there, u serious? They’re everywhere!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we liked!
- Big, Freakin’ Guns | This being a shooter, it obviously has a pretty decent selection of guns. Serious Sam 4 has about 13 guns; you have the common, realistic weapons, and you also have weapons that you’ve probably never seen before! My personal favourite weapons are the SBC Cannon, XL2 Laser, and the XM214-A Minigun! Most of these guns are unlocked through basic progression of the game’s story. Some guns, however, can only be found in side-missions. Besides the guns, there are also gadgets. Gadgets can range from the simple health stim, to a bomb that can slow down time! Oh, but I haven’t mentioned the best gadget yet, the Mini-Nuke. As you play through SS4, you may find yourself running from literally hundreds of Aliens. So, what would be an easy, badass way to get rid of them? A freakin’ Mini-Nuke! I was sadly only able to find 2 Mini-Nukes in my playthrough, I wish I was able to find more, I loved this one, a lot!
- Hundreds of Aliens? Check! | Having such a big collection of weapons must be useful for something, right? Off course, they can be used to save the planet from these nasty invaders. To keep the game engaging and challenging, there are plenty of different Aliens in this game. If I can count correctly, there are approximately 38 different Aliens (this does include bosses) in this game, which is very impressive in my opinion! Every single one of these look, sound, move and attack in a unique way, some even die in a unique way as well. What do I mean by that? Well, it would be kinda boring if I could just use my rifle against every single one of them, right? I technically can do that, but some Aliens are weaker to other weapons, or some can only be killed from a specific “weak spot”.
- Turn up the volume | This game had a pretty nice soundtrack, I would for sure like to listen to it again! Besides the music, the sound effects were also nicely done – every weapon, gadget, floor, and Alien makes a different sound. There was one Alien in specific that always got me panicking when I heard him coming closer; the Beheaded Kamikaze. This one just screams, and runs towards you to kill himself, together with you, in an explosion – make sure to kill these first if u wanna live!!
- A serious story, but not so serious | As mentioned before, Serious Sam 4 takes place right before the evens of SS3; A gigantic portal has opened in Russia, allowing Aliens to invade our planet. To save it, Sam has to find the Holy Grail alongside his team called the “Earth Defense Force”. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the story itself, but what did make up for it was the hilarious dialogue! This game, being a Serious Sam game, is filled with quotes or, what Sam likes to call them, one liners. While not all of them are as good as the others, there are a few clever ones in there!
- Some serious side-content | Besides the story, Serious Sam 4 also offers some side content. Nearly every level has at least 1 side-mission, these are completely optional, but they will reward you with a new gun, gadget or gear, and in most cases they also reward you with a shiny achievement! Besides these side-missions, there are also 10 S.A.M. hidden around the game. A S.A.M. basically works like a skill point, allowing you to buy a skill in the menu. If you’re playing on a higher difficulty, these S.A.M. are really must haves. Some skills allow you to melee bigger Aliens, use 2 different weapons at once, or some even allow you to ride an Alien.
What we disliked
- Performance Issues & graphics | It is very impressive that Serious Sam 4 can handle hundreds of enemies on screen at once, there’s no doubt about that, but that does come with some issues… Despite this (at the time of writing) being a next-gen only title, it does have some noticeable performance issues in both Graphics and Performance mode. On Graphics mode I already started noticing issues in the first level alone, which doesn’t sound very promising… Whilst the game has less frame-rate issues in Performance mode, these are still quite noticeable in the later levels. The frame-drops were mostly noticeable during explosions, or when I splatter/shoot an enemy from up close. While this is not game-breaking, this does take away from the immersion. On the bright side, the game didn’t crash a single time, and there were almost no glitches (none that I can remember at least.).
Now, to have this many enemies on the screen while still having performance issues, does come with some costs; the graphics. Serious Sam 4’s graphics don’t look necessarily bad, I like the way levels are designed, but they feel a little outdated, especially for a next-gen only title.
How long to beat the story | 10 to 12 hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 12 to 15 hours
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My name’s Bradley Delaere, and I’m from Belgium! My favorite genre of videogames are Action-Adventure games, such as Batman Arkham, Doom and Hitman! Outside of this genre I also love platformers and shooters: Spyro: Reignited Trilogy, Halo,…
I not only enjoy playing them, I’m also interested in developing them, I’m currently studying Environment Art in UE5!