Friday, October 14, 2005

No, I will NOT 'Get Serious'!

'Get Serious!' It is one of those expressions many of us have heard while growing up and into young adulthood, and perhaps some of us have used as our own kids begin to grow up.

'Serious' Sam is a video game franchise based around a simple premise - shooting lots of stuff. Frenetic action is the order of the day. Wave after wave of enemy came rolling at the player - there was no AI, it was kill of be plowed through. When it arrived in 2002, it was laughed at - a 'old school' shooter at a budget price! Then something happened - people started buying it and playing it like crazy! The follow-up 'Second Encounter' did even better commercially, and both games got reasonable reviews. It was only a matter of time before a true sequel was made.

The developers at Croteam focused on producing an engine that would be graphically advanced while allowing for a virtually unlimited amount of on-screen enemies. The goal was to take the Serious Sam experience to a whole new level of intensity. The demo for Serious Sam II shows how they have succeeded - it is an end to end, over the top killing spree that is a load of fun, and looks pretty good too. The visuals aren't up to 'next gen' snuff, but they are nice in the same stylized sci-fi fashion as the original games.

So what's the problem? Seems like the perfect sort of game - hours of mindless action and fun! Possibly - and I have no doubt that a year or two ago I'd have been at EBGames on the day of release buying Serious Sam II and plauing the heck out of it. I blame the Nintendo DS, and to a much lesser extent the Sony PSP. Basically, I would rather be playing interesting and innovative games for the handhelds - even relatively mediocre games like 'Lost In Blue' - than 'yet another shooter' on the PC. Truth is, if I want that experience, why not just play the original games again - I really thrilled at playing 'Second Encounter', and then bought the first encounter ... but never actually finished. Nor have I gone back and played again.

Have I lost my love for first person shooters? Far from it - I have replayed several shooters recently, and played the demos for Call of Duty 2 and F.E.A.R. as well as Serious Sam 2. I plan to get F.E.A.R., and have pre-ordered it to get the bonus items. I may also get Quake 4, but the early reviews don't look very good. What has changed is that I am also looking forward to several upcoming handheld games - Star Wars Battlefront II, XMen Legends II, Lord of the Rings Tactics, all for the PSP, as well as some DS games such as Mario Kart.

What has also changed is that I am trying to be better with my 'gaming resolutions' - particularly regarding "keeping a tight 'must have' list" and "finishing what I already have" and "replaying is never bad". So I figure that if Serious Sam II didn't make me reload and replay either Serious Sam 1st or 2nd Encounter, it must not really be a 'must have'.

So no, I won't get Serious ...

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