Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD Review

Written by Joe Martin

May 8, 2010 | 09:07

Tags: #arcade #co-op #croatia #fps #multiplayer #recommended #serious #serious-sam #serious-sam-hd

Companies: #croteam #steam

The Second Coming

The Second Encounter HD is more than just a port of the singleplayer game though – it brings with it a bunch of new upgrades to the multiplayer and co-op side too, excelling over the HD version of The First Encounter in several ways.

There are some singleplayer enhancements too, obviously – speed and damage power-ups are now woven in the campaign, there’s a few new baddies and a new flamethrower and sniper rifle weapon…but the majority of content is carried over from the original. Kleer skeletons are still the main baddies you’ll be fighting and you’ll likely stick with the minigun for most of it as well. Multiplayer is where most of the good new stuff is.

The multiplayer modes that have been added to The Second Encounter HD cover all the usual bases. There are basic deathmatch and capture the flag options, plus team variants of these and a few more unusual additions. My Burden is perhaps the most intriguing of them all, as it only allows points to be gained from carrying a weight around the levels and fending off attackers. The twist is that carrying the titular burden also slows you to a crawl, putting you at a distinct disadvantage.

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD Review The Second Coming
The new Serious Bomb is handy for clearing rooms quickly

There are some new forms of competitive gaming too, in the form of The Second Encounter’s new last stand mode which pits you against a never-ending wave of enemies and asks you how long you can survive for. There’s a leaderboard for those who want to get obsessed with high scores and though the selection of levels is limited, it also caters for most different tastes.

Mind you, while the new multiplayer and survival modes are definitely a plus (and easily put The Second Encounter HD above the initial release of The First Encounter HD), Serious Sam is still best played as a co-operative shooter – so it’s good to see that the co-op has been expanded too. Not only is the entire singleplayer campaign playable with up to 16 players (and you can customise the difficulty to scale with the player-count too), but so is the new last stand mode too.

Croteam has wisely left almost everything up to the players and doesn’t force a particular style upon you. Personally, we like to alternate between pushing for the highest score and playing in the limited-respawns Coin-Op mode, but you can easily customise every aspect of the difficulty. The Second Encounter can be either gleeful slog or an exercise in advanced battle tactics, changing as you see fit.

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD Review The Second Coming
And shiny, magic objects are good for...something, maybe?

If you want to designate one person to shoot down homing goo-balls and have one person keep the arachnids under constant fire, you can…but if you just want to charge around shooting stuff and looking for the many hilarious easter eggs, you can do that too.

At the end of the day, the HD version of The Second Encounter is, like the original version, not the best game in the series – though it’s far from the worst too. Mainly that’s because it’s hard to top The First Encounter, but it’s also to do with the levels – Sam doesn’t really hit his stride until the penultimate stages.

Despite the weaknesses though, The Second Encounter is still a decent shooter for those with a taste for old-school or who just want something mindless between other major releases. The game is just as good as it always was, but now it’s prettier than ever and bulked out with some new modes to boot. In short; if mowing down hundreds of enemies at a time is your definition of a good time and if you’ve got a like-minded pal to share it with then The Second Encounter HD will keep you both entertained for a long time.

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD Review The Second Coming

Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD - Recommended

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