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Published on October 14th, 2010 | by Ben Gray

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Review: Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter

Release Date: 22nd September 2010 Genre(s): First Person Shooter Publisher(s): Xbox Live Arcade Developer: Croteam Rating: Mature [Rating:8/10]
I remember it like it was yesterday. Diving into Serious Sam HD expecting something lame and old and came out with a seizure of bullets and a craze for adrenaline. The craziness that is Serious Sam will actually make you consider any other first person shooter to be too slow, and needs to pick up the pace. That’s what the game is all about, the over the top thrill of facing so many enemies that you’ll experience frame rate lag. I thought The First Encounter was the most over the top, exaggerated title I had ever set my hands on. After playing The Second Encounter, I think I may need a mental health consultant.
Yes, it’s the Serious Sam you all know and love, but quickly obtaining familiar weapons within the first few minutes of playing the game, you know the difficulty is about to be ramped up a notch. Grabbing the Chainsaw, I felt like such a badass as masses of foes swarmed towards me, but these fairly easy adversaries were soon to become the very least of my problems. Newer, much larger foes than I had encountered in my first encounter, from pumpkin headed, chainsaw wielding, kamikaze giants to molten monsters, I found myself quickly backpedalling as fast as I could as they were accompanied by the screaming howls of beheaded suicidal freaks.
One thing that definitely smacked me in the face was the fresh new environments. Deviating away from the desert terrain and into lush jungles and temples that fit the franchise perfectly, only to be perfected by the beautiful visuals of the weaponry, which glistens under the sunshine however not much can be said for the interiors of the temples, which are still as you know them, slightly dull but not overly badly textured. Still, combined with the insane vertigo you get from some deathly drops, it all fits like the last piece of a jigsaw.
Trying to flick through your massive arsenal of weapons to find the right one to do the job is a pain sometimes, especially when said enemy is sprinting towards you yelling crazily with bombs in both hands. There were several sections in the game that made me scream for help, as the enemies just would not stop coming until got the job done. Not even the greatest weapons will get you out of these situations, and you’ll spend at least half the game backpedalling; spraying and praying at the horde stampeding in front of you. There’s nothing like the satisfaction you get after taking out a massive crowd of the pests, then stretching your thumbs for when you turn the next corner.
Of course, Serious Sam is much more enjoyable with friends, with up to four times the amount of firepower leading to a screen full of lead, and new to the franchise is competitive multiplayer. You thought single player was insane? Pfft! Unfortunately, I think the multiplayer side of this game will suffer what most downloadable titles will suffer; in a month’s time, I don’t think many will still be playing it online, as they would have all turned to the retail blockbusters that have littered the shelves this year. Very few games survive this onslaught of retail bombs, but I hope fans stay true to the game and continue to play, and I encourage the developer to bring any patches from the PC version to the console version.
Of course, there aren’t really any objectives in the campaign of Serious Sam games, just shoot your way through to the exit, and occasionally flick a few switches or deviate away to separate areas to unlock the path through. But like the previous game, the Second Encounter is riddled with literally hundreds of secrets, whether it be secret weapons, areas, ammo caches, you name it; it’s probably got a secret label slapped on it. You think you’re hardcore? Play through the game and find every single secret. You will need counselling and will probably need to spend a lot of time outside afterwards. This adds slightly pointless, but hours of replay value as you scavenge to become a secret finder person something.
Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter was a thrill ride with a few bumps in the road. Provided you don’t find killing masses of enemies over and over boring, fans of the previous game and crazy shooter fanatics alike will enjoy this refreshing thrill ride with the toned down, if not, toned up Duke Nukem of the downloadable world.

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