Serious Sam 4
Serious Sam 4 (originally titled Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass) is a sci-fi first-person shooter video game developed by Croatian indie developer Croteam and published by American publisher Devolver Digital. It was released on September 24, 2020 for Microsoft Windows and as a timed Google Stadia exclusive, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports slated for a 2021 release.
- Bad graphics, despite it running on Serious Engine 4.
- Bad optimization, even after a day-one patch.
- Some textures can pop in randomly during cutscenes and in the middle of battles, which can be very distracting while you're fighting off massive hordes of enemies by yourself.
- Lots of glitches on release day, including enemy bodies multiplying into a massive pile till the game breaks and enemies running into buildings and walls
- Although the game's new destruction mechanic is good, it was broken due to a glitch that allows Sam to shoot out parts of the floor texture in the mecha Popemobile.
- The game's story is quite awful as it has lots of side characters that barely get enough development before being unceremoniously killed off.
- Even though the game is a prequel to Serious Sam 3: BFE (which itself is a prequel to the entire franchise), Sam's voice sounds too old for his age despite his voice actor John J. Dick's best efforts.
- The enemy hordes' AI, which has always been good since the first game, is not very good in this game as they'd run into walls at times and they're way too easy to defeat.
- Speaking of BQ #6, the boss fights are just as easy to defeat due to all of them being nothing but "Shoot Boss X's weak point to kill him/her/it/them".
- The facial animations are terrible. They're so bad that they make Mass Effect: Andromeda's old facial animations look really good due to their Clayface-esque textures and dead fish eyes.
- The game can get repetitive really fast after the first few horde fights, something that's not done in previous games.
- The game's semi-open world suffers from the same problem as most modern open-world games: lots of open space with little to no things to do.
- Some of the artefact skill points that Sam can collect to make himself stronger or improve his marksmanship and battle skills can be easy to miss due to their size and the aforementioned texture pop-ins.
- Lots of tiresome jokes that wear out really fast that consists of nothing but puns and one-liners.
- In fact, Sam himself is openly aware of it too as he complains that he'll run out of puns to give while battling the giant alien crab.
- In multiplayer mode, your gun can disappear in your hands but your character will still be holding it (only if you're viewing yourself from another player).
- The water is so broken that you can actually walk on it.
- Although the gunplay is good, it is slightly outdated by today's standards.
- Lots of long loading screens between levels.
- For some reason, the game's platforming glitches out at times, making it hard to traverse some places to collect hidden powerups, weapons, health kits and armour.
- The game has lots of pacing issues, going from fast-paced action in one level and then suddenly transitioning to slow-paced drama and long villain gloating in the next.
- A Serious (pun intended) lack of difficulty even on Serious difficulty (the highest difficulty) as the dumb enemy AI makes them way too easy to defeat.
- For the first time in the franchise, you can dual-wield almost any weapon you can think of. This includes (but not limited to) miniguns, man-portable cannons, chainsaws, and rocket launchers.
- You can now carry roadsigns and use them as makeshift spears, axes, swords and clubs, but only after unlocking that ability in Sam's skill tree.
- Lots of fun Earth and alien gadgets that can be used to defeat more enemies more easily.
- The skill tree is good and allows Sam to make himself stronger and more resistant to enemy damage while allowing him to improve his marksmanship and battle skills and ride big enemies just like war horses.
- The 4-player co-op has been improved upon from Serious Sam 3: BFE and is less broken.
- Although some of the one-liners can be tiresome, they can still be funny at times.
- Lots of rideable vehicles and monsters that you can use to traverse large levels faster.
- After being absent from Serious Sam 2 and Serious Sam 3: BFE, the Beheaded Firecracker and Beheaded Bomber enemies make a return in this game since their last appearance in Serious Sam: The Next Encounter.
- The enemies look really good and unique and no 2 enemy types are the same when you battle against hordes of them.
- The soundtrack is really good courtesy of its composer Damjan Mravunac.
Serious Sam 4 received mixed reviews from critics and mostly positive reviews from fans of the franchise.
On Metacritic, the game has a critic rating of 68/100 ("mixed or average reviews") and a user score of 7.6/10 ("generally favourable reviews").
WCCF Tech gave the game a 7.3/10, praising the game's gunplay, enemy hordes, 4-player co-op, hidden secrets and skill tree while criticizing its clunkiness, empty semi-open world, facial animation and easy-to-miss artefact skill points.
TechRaptor gave the game a 7.5/10, praising its enemy roster, weapon roster, size and rideable vehicles and enemies while criticizing its story, characters, graphics and bosses.
Conversely, GManLives was more scathing of the game as he showcased the myriad of bugs, glitches and ugly graphics that ruined his love for the game, even criticizing its massive day-one patch in his review.
Similarly, AusGamers gave the game a 5/10, criticizing its outdated graphics, poor optimization and horrible character design while praising its co-op multiplayer, later levels, weapon designs and duel-wielding mechanic.
British newspaper Metro, however, took it more negatively by giving it a 4/10, criticizing the "old-fashioned" gameplay, graphical and audio bugs and a surprisingly dull selection of weapons.