Serious Sam has always been about over the top action, ridiculous one lines, and endless waves of enemies. While many compare the series to that of Duke Nukem, I feel it more closely resembles that of DOOM. I’ve been playing a preview build of Serious Sam 3: BFE, one in which I was given three levels to try, and the game definitely has that old school feel combined with some new school game mechanics.
The biggest change for most is going to be the characters themselves, while they are still “the same” - they look quite a bit different. Sam’s normally overly colorful palette is switched with a more muted look, with textures that almost feel photphoto-realistic at times. The headless enemies take on a bit of a grotesque look, and old favorites like the Gnaar are almost frightening. Even the giant enemies move with this waxy model realism that makes you unsure if you want to go around that next corner to see what was making that loud noise.
The first level was set in an urban environment, it looks like something out of the movie The Hurt Locker. Middle Eastern motif, plenty of flat buildings, and lots of debris everywhere. Immediately I was charged by a Gnaar and quickly had to press the E button for the new melee attack. These attacks are unique to each enemy. The Gnaar? I ripped out his giant eyeball and gave it a good chuck off the roof. Ouch.
After grabbing a sledgehammer and working my way through a few waves of baddies (and walls), I almost forgot I was playing a Sam game - save for the familiar sounds and enemies. This isn’t a bad thing - basically what was happening was I was being warmed up. The usual chaos hadn’t started yet. Slowly I gained weapons, and the more had, the more frequent and larger number of enemies spawned. Interestingly enough the game has added an option for iron sights with certain weapons - the pistol and an assault rifle are the two main weapons I found that used this. It felt completely natural to hit the rise mouse button (or trigger) and pop off some enemies at a distance.