Serious Sam 3: Awesome because it's not serious
There's a lot to be grateful for when a game can be purposely over-the-top and stylistically ridiculous. The very reason I got into video games was because of the enjoyment I found in their unrealistic nature. To this very day, I'm glad the first game I played had me controlling a pixelated plumber who stomped on turtles instead of a soldier simply performing his call of duty. I'm also glad that the first game I got into that featured guns had me shooting down alien monsters instead of being one-dimensional by having me blast at other soldiers.
As you can probably tell, I'm not a fan of any sort of realism in video games. While I definitely respect franchises that can provide thrilling gameplay that has you shooting dudes in the face along the home front or on the battlefield, I'd much rather stay away from those games — which I so blatantly mentioned using common nouns — and play something that's crazy, over-the-top, and just a whole lot of fun. For those gamers who like absurd awesomeness, there are games like Serious Sam 3: BFE.
There was a time when first-person shooters didn't hold your hand. You could hide behind cover, but you couldn't stick out your gun and shoot blindly at your targets. You had to take risks and gun down baddies like a 1980s action movie star. Enemies weren't hiding behind cover themselves, either--they were running right at you guns blazing, and if you were smart, you were doing the same. None of this "turn around and find cover to regain health" tomfoolery. Games were tougher, and if you didn't have access to health pick-ups, you were screwed.
Serious Sam 3 is a great throwback to these awesome games that challenged us back in the mid 90s, late 90s, and early 2000s. It follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, Serious Sam and Serious Sam 2, and provides FPS gameplay that's heavy on the action and light on a lot of the more contemporary mechanics that seem to make the shooter a completely different animal now than it was 10 years ago.
However, Serious Sam 3 isn't just a throwback to both past installments in the series and earlier titles in the genre just for the hell of it. No, it's a throwback for stylistic purposes. It's not some lackluster homage to the FPS genre that so many of us were fond of years ago. It's a proper evolution of the genre. Serious Sam 3 features a lot of the tropes that shooters were known for, but it offers mechanics and refinements that feel very modern in the current generation.
Chances are if you plug in your old Nintendo 64 and pop in a random FPS, you'll encounter some stiff animations, blocky characters, and blurry textures. The crazy thing is that this could very well be a game that was awesome back in the day but just doesn't hold up to today's standards all that well. Serious Sam 3 is a game that gives retro FPS fanatics something awesome. It gives those gamers a title that's like those games in style and design, but it runs on much more powerful tech. Serious Sam 3 is a modern FPS in every sense of the term.
Fluid character animations, awesome enemy designs, great graphics, and impressive gunplay provide a truly visceral experience that's incredibly smooth but doesn't force you to succumb to modern tropes such as hiding like a wanker behind a pillar while a red stain at the top of the screen slowly fades away. Nope, if you're getting shot at, you better risk your ass and find some health pronto. I really miss that type of tension in shooters, and it's good to see that Serious Sam 3 has the balls to bring it back.
Speaking of balls, Serious Sam 3 brings some wonderful humor to the FPS genre, which we all know tends to take itself way too seriously most of the time. Remember that one game starring that guy with a crappy buzz cut? Yeah, that was supposed to be funny, but it wasn't. Well, there went 15 years of on-and-off development. Serious Sam 3 and the various predecessors and spin-offs in the series all feature some enjoyable humor that's not necessarily clever, but always manages to provide gamers with either a good chuckle or a hearty laugh.
Serious Sam 3 is the type of game that people who love fun spend their time playing. I'm not going to say that military shooters aren't any fun. I'm not going to say that games with serious sci-fi themes suck. But I will say that titles such as Serious Sam 3 that aren't afraid to be over-the-top and fantastical are the reason a lot of us play video games to begin with. Ultimately, I play video games because titles like Serious Sam 3, which don't take themselves so seriously, exist.
Thank goodness for games like that. I don't know what I would do if I couldn't stomp on baddies, drive flying motorcycles, impale people and watch as coins fly out of their wounds, or in the case of Serious Sam 3, have access to a ridiculous amount of guns while taking on hordes of rabid enemies. Thank goodness indeed.