Reader Review: Serious Sam HD

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Andrew does, as he shoots things in a most unfrivolous manner.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Andrew Low. If you’ve played Serious Sam HD, or just want to ask Andrew more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Serious Sam HD (XBLA)

If Operation Flashpoint is the po-faced realist of FPS development, Serious Sam is the dadaist streaker. Here is a game that dispenses with all the baggage associated with realism, and delights in the simple joy of movement and shooting.


Rhythm: Everything in Serious Sam is geared towards the rhythm of movement and shooting. It’s gameplay mechanic is the primal core of the shooter – an intense and relentless chain of action and gut-reaction, where success depends not on tactics, but on a combination of skill, pattern recognition and rote memorisation.

Keeping it Interesting: With such a spartan game play mechanic, most games would run the risk of becoming tiresome and repetitive. Fortunately, the various combinations of monsters and environments require the player to apply the rules of the game in increasingly challenging – if not terribly interesting – ways.


This is Typing: It would be misguided to criticise the awful premise of a game that has no story, but the fact that one was included at all is questionable. In a game that sheds so many genre conventions in the name of purity, it’s disappointing that this too was not considered superfluous. As with the best games, the ‘story’ is the player’s experience, told through the narrative of game play.

Quick-Save: If used too liberally, the one-button quick-save option, can ruin the rhythm the larger conflicts should instill in the player. A check-point system would have been preferred.

No one could argue that Serious Sam is trying to do anything new, but at the same time it can’t be criticised for being backward. It is a timeless and hugely enjoyable distillation of FPS gameplay.

Reviewed by: Andrew Low

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 300 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


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