|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Croteam||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sept. 22, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (2-8 Players Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Just as the name suggests, Survival Mode tasks you to stay alive as long as possible. Each of the Survival Mode maps has its own twist, but all through seemingly endless waves of enemies come at you from all corners. The reason that this mode worked so well for me is that it plays to the games strength fast and furious action that keeps you running and gunning at all times. They literally dont make them like this anymore the action is so frantic that staying alive for more than a minute is a real challenge, even on the default difficulty. Each of the stages has a series of medals to earn for surviving a particular length of time, and most only require you to stay alive for a minute and a half to earn a bronze medal. Its much more difficult than it sounds.
Along with Survival Mode, there is also a standard deathmatch mode and some unique competitive modes like Beast Hunt, which requires you to earn a certain number of points by killing enemies before you can attack the other players. At launch, the competitive gametypes seem pretty sparsely populated as with the campaign, the deathmatch mode feels simplistic compared to the current crop of shooters. Fortunately, there are also co-op versions of the campaign and Survival modes, which truly change the dynamic of each. While co-op certainly improved the dull campaign mode by making things move along at an even faster clip, co-op survival mode is easily the standout game type in the package for me.
No matter which game mode you choose, youre not going to be getting a stunning visual experience. Despite the HD in the title, The Second Encounter still looks worse than most other downloadable games out there. The color palate is limited, the characters are blocky and simple, and the textures fail to impress. Fortunately, the enemies of The Second Encounter are as zany and unique as they always were. Screaming headless suicide bombers, bone-throwing horned skeletons and giant rocket launcher-toting mechs definitely give the game its own distinct feel, thats for sure.
Your enjoyment of Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter will largely depend on how much nostalgia matters to you. I played the original Serious Sam games back in the day, but looking backwards has never held much appeal for me. Id rather see whats next than revisit what came before, especially where early 3D games are concerned. But if you like looking back at gamings history, as many gamers do, then theres plenty of reason to check out The Second Encounter. Its packed with tons of gameplay options and has the same quirky sense of humor about itself that it always did. But if you pick up Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter and expect that the HD means it wont show its age, then youre likely to be disappointed.
J. Matthew Zoss
CCC Freelance Writer