What many thought would be DLC actually turned out to be a full-blown standalone expansion, so here’s my quick review for Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem.
So if you’ve ever played a Serious Sam game before, you know what to expect gameplay-wise. You get a bunch of guns and a bunch of enemies to shoot with those guns, oftentimes in big wide-open areas. Siberian Mayhem is pretty much more of the same with slight additions to this formula. The weapons are plentiful and fun to use, the enemy designs are varied, and there’s a nice sense of challenge behind it all even on normal difficulty.
The core to a good Serious Sam game is there and all the bonuses like vehicles, gadgets, and side content to find only add to that. That said, not all of the new content lands. One of the big new enemies, for example, feels like a direct contrast to the run-and-gun nature of the gameplay. It’s called the sentry tower and it’s basically a giant orbital laser / homing missile tower hybrid that you cannot take down like a traditional enemy. Instead, you have to wait for it’s core to open after it finishes an attack cycle and only then can you attack it before it closes again and repeats the process.
Whereas most (rather, all) enemies require you to run, jump, and swap around weapons constantly, this enemy requires you to stop, wait, and carefully target a weak spot – it’s a bit too slow for what I would normally expect from a Serious Sam game and easily my least favorite enemy to fight.
The new weapons are at least cool though, the crossbow being a personal favorite. Otherwise it’s the same old gameplay. It can get a bit repetitive, but Siberian Mayhem is short enough that it didn’t at least go overboard. It took me just over three hours to clear all five levels – although that’s only with 30% achievement completion. Story-wise, the writing is just as cheesy as you would expect from this series. It’s certainly not good, but that’s pretty much par for the course.
My main complaints are actually with the technical side of things. Because while the gameplay is fine, I had so many smaller issues running the thing that it became rather frustrating. I have a brand new 5800x and 3080 Ti and the game installed on an NVMe drive, but that didn’t stop me from running into numerous massive frame drops, microstutters, and even outright freezes that lasted seconds at a time. I started at the highest settings, but found myself continuously dropping them lower as I played to try to accommodate for these technical issues.
I would go from my fps cap of 155 fps all the way to 40 and then back constantly, especially during scenes where tons of enemies were on-screen (which happens a lot given this series). I still managed to clear the game, but I cannot deny that the constant technical issues really brought down the experience.
So no, I cannot say I recommend Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem. The gameplay is fine (although not without issue), but I cannot in good faith recommend the game given all the technical issues I ran into. I can only imagine how much worse said issues would be on weaker hardware, so this is definitely one to wait for patches on or at least go in with tempered expectations.
Quote: Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem may have some decent gameplay, but the numerous technical issues really bring down the experience – massive frame drops, microstutters, and even outright freezing.
Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem retails for $20 USD on Steam, a 25% discount is available for those that already own Serious Sam 4. It is also available on GOG.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.