Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter Review
Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter box art
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 game’s strength – fast and furious action that keeps you running and gunning at all times. They literally don’t 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. It’s much more difficult than it sounds.

Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter screenshot

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, you’re 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, that’s 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. I’d rather see what’s next than revisit what came before, especially where early 3D games are concerned. But if you like looking back at gaming’s history, as many gamers do, then there’s plenty of reason to check out The Second Encounter. It’s 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 won’t show its age, then you’re likely to be disappointed.

By J. Matthew Zoss
CCC Freelance Writer

The updated visuals look better than the original version, but still quite ugly by today’s standards for downloadable games.
The controls never get in the way of the fast-paced action, but the available button layouts could be a little stronger.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Sam’s voice work is funny, but the music and sound effects are mostly forgettable.
Play Value
With multiple game modes, there’s plenty of content here to keep old-school gamers busy for hours on end.
Overall Rating - Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Unique enemies and bosses: Fight with twenty-seven nightmarish warriors in Mental's army, including old favorites from The First Encounter like Beheaded Kamikaze, Syrian Werebull, and Kleer Skeleton. Go head-to-head against five new enemies and three new bosses.
  • Special weapons and power-ups: Wreak havoc with a huge arsenal of weapons including three new toys, the Sniper Rifle, Flamethrower and Chainsaw. Use power-ups to additionally increase your fighting and agility skills.
  • Various environments and secrets: Unleash mayhem on three different spectacular worlds, South America, ancient Mesopotamia, and medieval Europe. Discover over 130 secrets including over fifteen brand new ones hidden in the fray.
  • Multiple game modes: Play co-op with up to eight players in campaign cooperative mode or the new Co-Op Survival mode, try eight classic and brand-new Deathmatch maps, stay alive as long as you can in specially designed Survival maps, fight against your friends in more Versus modes including Beast Hunt and My Burden, or compete against other teams in team matches including Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, and Last Team Standing.

  • Screenshots / Images

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