REVIEW – Siberian Mayhem, which expands the story of Serious Sam 4, was something that Devolver Digital only revealed a few weeks before its release. In some ways, it is evident in the work of Timelock and Croteam, as I wouldn’t call the Siberian adventure that much of a standout, although it does have its positives.
There is no first sentence because I have already been told what to write about next. Very motivating.
The spinoff with five huge maps (maybe it isn’t, but I think it is) is set in between the final acts of Serious Sam 4. It wouldn’t be worthy of the game’s name if it weren’t for the fact that the protagonist is Samuel the Serious, who’s using some powerful weapons to exterminate aliens. By the way, our hero goes to the snowy, cold, grim, tundra-filled landscape because General Brand has fled there. Fortunately for us, we will not be alone in the fight because there is also, for example, Igor Ledov, the leader of the partisan resistance. But let’s not forget that the story never played a highly significant role in the Serious Sam episodes.
There will be wide corridors and vast areas surrounded by wooded, rocky borders, so from that perspective, the gameplay hasn’t changed (and let’s be honest, it couldn’t), but there are secrets and side missions. And you’ll need variety in the use of weapons and gadgets because if you stick to one, you’ll run out of ammo, so you’ll have to be trickier to outsmart the alien army. You can do it by slowing down time, or you could even knock them down with a drone. The only problem is that I don’t think we should have had the Doom-like finishing moves because it leaves us open to the others. Oh, and the worst thing about the open areas (that’s just one map; if there were more, it would be even more annoying) is that we often have to go back and forth across the empty regions on the snowmobile. Fortunately, there will only be one such map, but… it will still be annoying there.
It should be mentioned here that Serious Sam is a legacy of a bygone era. If you’re looking for Crysis, Call of Duty or Battlefield, you’re not going to be seriously entertained here because this game is entirely different from the trendy (hah…) IPs of today in the shooter genre. It’s a game where you simply throw the bike chains off your brain and go like there’s no tomorrow, flooded with adrenaline because that’s one of the tenets of the franchise. But it’s not entirely mainstream, so even though Timelock and Croteam have brought the Russian atmosphere together (I’m not joking, I think it’s one of the highlights of Siberian Mayhem), not everyone will appreciate it. It’s perhaps somewhat interesting that I’m already starting a criticism of sorts on the first page… which might be represented in the score.
Graphically, Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem is not very good, in my opinion. I’m not talking exclusively about the visuals (I’m not going to get it to max settings on an eight-year-old machine, let alone above 1080p), but how the textures load in front of you many times. I thought most games had left this behind after Unreal Engine 3 (UE4 titles had examples of this issue, too), and it’s made worse by the fact that it’s sometimes, momentarily. The game stops. That’s what I’m trying to convey with this abrupt interruption between the sentences. Even though you’re immersed in killing screaming opponents, it’s a mood breaker.
And it doesn’t help that the Siberian madness ends pretty quickly. It consists of five maps. If you play decently, you’ll get to the end in five hours, and I dare say the credits can start to roll even faster than that. It’s short stuff, very short, and as a result, it’s not exactly a game we’ll be picking up very often. But I would say the most severe problem is the complete lack of innovation in this Serious Samuel. Okay, I understand the need to stick to the franchise, but compared to Serious Sam 4, this game has become a dessert that might be called undesirable, even though the experience itself is there. The conclusion of this reflection should be a summary: I want to say that it hasn’t deviated much from Serious Sam 4. Maybe the developers rushed the whole thing? Perhaps this random late January release was done not to get lost in the cavalcade? (Horizon Forbidden West, Elden Ring, Gran Turismo 7, etc.)
Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem would have gotten a seven out of ten if it had been a bit longer. But it’s pretty… troublesome, so I don’t think I’d care higher than a six and a half because while the music is correct, the atmosphere and gameplay is alright, the overall picture is hurt by the fact that the game is probably ugly and maybe not technically developed. In any case, it is recommended for fans, and the rating would be an 8/10. In addition to the Russian style, the plethora of opponents is still good, so I wouldn’t call it a failure or disappointment. It’s just simply a requiem with no serious ending. However, there is one for this bunch of characters with this sentence.
+ The Russian ambience
+ The gameplay’s basics are fine
+ The music
– Technical issues… and perhaps outdated?
– The snowmobile on the empty areas
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Timelock Studio, Croteam
Release date: January 25, 2022