|System: X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Croteam||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Croteam||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 13, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (Co-Op)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The blood splatter is pleasantly excessive, and levels quickly morph into a macabre canvas of missing limbs and gore spray, since you'll literally battle throngs of the same selection of re-skinned evil beasts over and over again. That said, monster A.I. is a big disappointment. Most enemies either take pot shots at you from a distance or simply charge straight at you from whatever dimensional hole they've just spawned from. There's little exception, which makes the action feel like a lame grind.
It's also a shame the game takes as many cheap shots at you as possible. You're often swarmed with large waves of many different kinds of foes at once, and it's tough to avoid getting bowled over by the bum rush at times. Enemies also tend to spawn out of nowhere whenever you pick up certain basic items like armor or bullets, which will inevitably make you leery about grabbing important things like ammo and health. Beasts also tend to suddenly appear behind you, above you, and at other odd angles that are hard to predict or recover from. There are plenty of times where you'll wind up entering a room only to find the door immediately shut and locked behind you, leaving you staring at a charging mass of quick death to try to avoid.
Despite all the annoyances, there are a few smart design ideas that just feel right. The gameplay is fast and loose, so things progress fairly quickly. A nice auto-aim feature makes it easier to land your shots on intended victims without feeling like it's holding your hand too tightly. A single-button quick save is literally a life saver. Death comes fast and frequently, so it's awesome to be able to speedily bookmark your progress right before you know you're likely about to get violently dismembered. It saves you a lot of time having to repeat levels from the beginning.
Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter does get entertaining once you get over the initial shock of how antiquated the whole experience feels, but running around shooting stuff in the most primitive of senses isn't going to be enough to keep most first-person enthusiast engaged for very long. Then there's another possible deal breaker. Instead of a much-needed deathmatch mode, there's only four player co-op. We're still scratching our heads over that one. Unless you're a hardcore Serious Sam fan, we can't recommend this remake.
CCC Staff Contributor