Serious Sam 4 review for PS5, Xbox Series X, PC

Platform: PS5
Also On: Xbox Series X, PS4, Xbox One, Stadia, PC
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Croteam
Medium: Digital/Disc
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

You’ve heard the old saying “If it ain’t broke, Don’t fix it”. Well, I suppose that it can apply to the Serious Sam Games, since very little has changed with the main series for almost 12 years. Now with Serious Sam 4 we have more of the same tried and true gameplay with all the classic action and humor, but one has to wonder if it’s time for Sam to retire.

This time around, Sam and Company are in Russia trying to find the Holy Grail that apparently is an Alien Artifact being hunted by an invading army. Sam teams up with a team of Extra Terrestrial Task Force soldiers and scientists to locate the artifact and stop the impending invasion. The entire story is rather nonsensical and silly, but fits in with the Serious Sam lore. Basically it breaks down like this, you go to an area, pick up weapons, shoot hordes and hordes of aliens while quipping out a dozen one-liners, and then it’s off to the next area. Rinse and Repeat. Nothing has really changed from the older games, and while this may be a good thing to some players, others may find it getting a bit boring early on.

As always, you control Sam from the First Person perspective. Moving around looking for your next fight. Some locations seem like mazes while others are completely open with no cover. You’ll fight enemies almost everywhere and anywhere, so you should always be on guard. Running head first into an area can get you killed in a matter of seconds, while being careful and checking every nook and cranny can get you lost or killed by a sniper. There’s almost no penalty for dying since there are tons of checkpoints scattered everywhere, so if you get slaughtered you can try again quickly. There are some new enemies that create some decent challenges like the flying drones, and quick moving Vampires. Bosses have also been given a challenge boost, but can be dusted quickly in just a few attempts. There are also many areas where you can find hidden weapons and collectables if you look hard enough.

The visuals are a slight step up from Serious Sam 3, but not all that impressive. The PlayStation 5 version seems a bit underwhelming even in Performance Mode, but you do get a constant 60fps even with tons of enemies on the screen. Everything is colorful and well animated, but it seems like I’m playing the PS4 version with almost no enhancements. The blood splatter from enemies looks odd, and occasionally things can clip though the graphics. A few times I was not able to continue through an area, only to find out that one enemy I needed to kill to progress clipped through a wall and got stuck. The loading times are rather long for a game running on the PS5, which makes it feel more like a sparsely upgraded port. There’s some music during battles that mixes really well with the action, while the voiceovers and sound effects all sound great. Although, some may get tired of Sam’s constant jokes and commentary which is fun at first, but can grind on your nerves.

While Serious Sam 4 is more of the same, it’s silly good fun for a moderate amount of time. There is almost nothing new that can separate it from part 3 and It will get monotonous and boring after a while. The PlayStation 5 version offers absolutely nothing special unless you care about having a constant steady frame rate and slightly more colorful areas and enemies. The loading times, clipping issues and the rinse and repeat gameplay may be a complete turn off for some gamers. Long time fans of the series will feel right at home, but still may feel a bit bored the longer they play. If you’ve played some of the older titles, I can recommend giving this one a shot as some fun can be had here. If you are new to the series or don’t really like the previous games, then you can skip it as it will not turn you into a new fan.

Devolver Digital provided us with a Serious Sam 4 PS5 code for review purposes.

Grade: C+