Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile

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3.5 Overall Score

Added Co-op Modes Are Fun

New Campaign Levels Aren't | Competitive Multiplayer Modes Aren't Either

Written by on October 22, 2012 in [, , , , ]

When the release date for Serious Sam 3: BFE was announced for the Xbox 360, we also learned that the game would have a day-one DLC, known as the Jewel of the Nile. It was announced that the DLC would not only include three campaign levels that could be played in either single-player or cooperative modes, but it would also include the Serious Sam 3 competitive multiplayer modes. The multiplayer had been cut in order to ensure that the size of the game would fit the 2 GB size limit of Xbox Live Arcade games. It seemed a little bit odd considering that the DLC would cost the same price as the full XBLA port of Serious Sam 3.

Let’s get one thing out of the way before we go too deep into this review. The competitive multiplayer for Serious Sam has never been particularly great. Serious Sam 3 on PC was especially horrid for a number of reasons. Sadly, most of those reasons remain in the Xbox 360 version of the multiplayer.

There are a number of competitive modes including the standard Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and Last Man Standing. All of these modes are fairly typical with the notable exception of “Beast Hunt” which is a co-op competitive mode, where players find themselves playing in various levels throughout the campaign, trying to kill more enemies than the other players. It’s a fairly fun mode but it might very well be the only fun mode the game has to offer.

One of the first things you’ll notice about the other multiplayer modes is that there are three maps with two additional variations on the third map. The problem is that none of the maps are actually that well designed. Slumoner is a fairly open area and you can easily find yourself spawning right in the middle of a firefight. Little Trouble shares the same problem and additionally is visually bland, with all white walls. This map has two additional variations, “Shotty Trouble” in which all the weapons scattered throughout the level are shotguns, and another variation for Capture the Flag. This is also the only map available in Capture the Flag mode, so if you get bored with that level, too bad.

The other map, Courtyards of Death, is the only well designed map within the entire game as it gives ample cover and there are, seemingly, more spawn areas. However, it doesn’t fix another one of the multiplayer’s biggest issues: weapon balance. Seemingly, the most powerful weapon in the game is the double barreled shotgun. If you have this weapon and you can get close to an enemy, you can easily kill them with one shot, even if they found armor around the level. Sometimes this won’t even happen with the rocket launcher. It becomes a game of trying to find this shotgun as fast as you can and from there, you’ll likely win the game.

In many ways, the fact that this isn’t in the main game is a blessing as no one should really play it. It’s as unbalanced as the PC version was at launch. What’s worse is that the PC version just received a free update which included seven new multiplayer maps, which were not included in the XBLA release.

However, all of this could be forgiven if the new Jewel of the Nile campaign missions were a ton of fun to play. The campaign takes place in the middle of the game after Sam thinks he has activated the Timelock. He finds that there is a fail-safe switch which is preventing the Timelock from actually working and must find out how to fix it by traveling through the three new levels.

The major problem with this campaign is that, while there are some terrific fire-fights within the game, they’re too few and far apart. Instead, a good chunk of the DLC is spent performing menial puzzle solving. The first mission has you trying to find five statues and bring them back to the center of the map. The second mission has you platforming through dark caverns. The third mission finally has some of the massive battles that you’ve come to expect from Serious Sam, as well as a fantastic new boss battle, but by that time it’s too late. The DLC becomes stale and boring very quickly.

The biggest thing that the DLC includes, however, is three other co-op modes. “Classic” mode lets you play with unlimited lives. If you turn on infinite ammo and crank the difficulty, this mode is an absolute blast. Coin-op mode features a limited pool of lives that the entire team has to play. It’s difficult and in later stages, you can easily lose all of those lives. Survival mode is exactly what you’d expect from the title, pitting your team up against an endless stream of monsters. It’s fun enough, but the PC version has a total of five maps while the Xbox port only has two.

There are two other additions that the DLC has. The first is the Reptiliod from the original Serious Sam games. As a long-time Serious Sam fan, it was awesome to see these guys come back. They’re big, imposing and can do a good chunk of damage to you if you’re not careful. The second addition was supposedly a battle axe, but after searching for a long time, it proved almost impossible to find. Instead, the sledgehammer returns in the XBLA port of the DLC. This might have been a glitch but if it was, it was present throughout the DLC.

Serious Sam 3: BFE on the Xbox Live Arcade is an awesome experience and cheap, with a 1200 Microsoft Point entry price. However, the Jewel of the Nile DLC showcases the worst that Serious Sam 3 has to offer. The multiplayer is busted and not fun and the actual campaign levels are not interesting. It’s a shame too, because Serious Sam 3 deserves better than this. If nothing else, at least you can get the main game for substantially cheaper than the PC version.

A code for Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

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