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Serious Sam 4 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Croteam and published by Devolver Digital. It is part of the Serious Sam series and the prequel to Serious Sam 3: BFE. The game was released on September 24 2020 for Microsoft Windows and Stadia[1]. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions are planned for release in 2021.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Taking place during the Mental War and prior to the events of Serious Sam 3, humanity is under siege as the full force of Mental’s hordes spread across the world, ravaging what remains of a broken and beaten civilization. The last remaining resistance to the invasion is the Earth Defense Force led by Sam “Serious” Stone and his heavily-armed squad of misfit commandos.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Enemies[edit | edit source]

Weapons[edit | edit source]

In addition to new weapons, some of the weapons from previous games will also have optional upgrades that can be acquired through side quests.

  • 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun: A classic weapon from other Serious Sam games. Like the Serious Sam 1 version, it doesn't have to be reloaded.
    • Grenade launcher attachment - The grenade launcher attachment launches grenades as a secondary fire option. It can be mounted on the pump-action shotgun.
  • A-24 Devastator: A returning weapon from Serious Sam 3: BFE. This powerful automatic shotgun fires high-piercing explosive rounds and deals explosive damage to smaller enemies and deliver damage upon impact to larger enemies.
  • Autoshotgun: An automatic shotgun that fires shells to deal a rapid and powerful attack at close range. It holds a magazine of 20 shells.
  • C-4 Demolition Charge: A throwable plastic explosive. Once it's triggered, it deals extreme damage over a wide area. It can also be attached to a enemy and can also destroy structures such as pillars, statues and walls once thrown.
  • Combat Knife: A classic melee weapon from Serious Sam 1. It can be used to slash weak enemies at close range or deliver finishing blows.
  • Double Barrel Coach Gun: A powerful double-barrel shotgun that can deal heavy damage once close-range. It also reloads faster.
  • FRPCL: Similar to the rocket launcher, but fires homing explosive chainsaws, that burrow into an enemy until they die, then seeking out another, until the projectile explodes. If no target is available to lock onto, the projectile will function like a standard rocket.
    • Chainsaw attachment: A secondary fire mode where, instead of firing the chainsaw, this attachment uses the loaded chainsaw that inflicts strong melee damage much more rapidly than the knife. It comes with the weapon by default, unlike the other weapon upgrades.
  • M29 Infantry Assault Rifle: A rapid fire automatic assault rifle that now holds 80 bullets and has a holographic sight. This rifle can fire accurate shots from a distance.
  • MK III Grenade Launcher: A weapon returning from Serious Sam 1. This grenade launcher can fire grenades over large obstacles and can deal damage at close range enemies. Grenades can explode after 3 seconds once it's fired or can explode directly into a enemy.
    • Remote trigger: A secondary fire mode for the grenade launcher. Detonates grenades that have been fired into smaller grenades that explode a short time afterwards.
  • RAPTOR Sniper Rifle: A powerful long-range sniper rifle that can deal heavy damage to small and medium-sized enemies from a distance. The built-in scope also helps eliminate enemies more easily and accurately at longer distances. It can also take out large enemies if the player fires at their weak spot such as their head. It now holds magazines and has to be reloaded.
  • SBC Cannon: An iconic weapon from the Serious Sam games. This portable cannon can fire explosive powered cannonballs at enemies and is useful at mowing down hordes of enemies in a row.
  • SOP38 Pistol: A semi-automatic handgun that can deal damage to only weak enemies and can be aimed down the sights.
  • XL2 Lasergun: An iconic and powerful energy weapon that fires slowlight energy pulses towards enemies and deals high damage. The lasergun has an extremely high rate of fire and now deals more damage when fired continuously.
    • Death ray: A secondary fire option for the lasergun. It unleashes an extremely powerful beam that can cut through enemies, but consumes ammunition quickly.
  • XM214-A Minigun: An iconic and a very powerful, rapid firing automatic weapon that has an extreme rate of fire and can deal extreme damage to hordes of weak enemies.
  • XPML21 Rocket Launcher: An experimental rocket launcher that can fire missiles and can deal heavy damage on armored enemies. The loading mechanism is similar to Serious Sam 3: BFE.
    • Multi-launcher mode with target lock: A secondary fire mode for the rocket launcher. Loads up to five homing rockets that will lock onto enemies when fired.

Vehicles[edit | edit source]

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

Environment[edit | edit source]

Serious Sam 4 takes place in three major countries; France, Italy, and Russia. The maps are much larger than in previous Serious Sam games; there are large-scale environments that feature optional side quests, but gameplay is still like in the other games, and not so much as an open-world game. As the game environments are larger and/or time-consuming to traverse on foot, vehicles such as a motorcycle appear, to make getting around the maps easier. In urban environments where lots of tough enemies are present, the player can use the mech, a large controllable robot equipped with miniguns and rocket launchers.

Enemy mechanics[edit | edit source]

Hordes of enemies are now much larger than before, which makes the game more challenging and gives the player a more "serious" feel to it. Also, a significant number of enemies will now spawn behind the player, compared to very little in the previous games, which makes the common tactic of running backwards while gunning to be useless.

A few new enemies have been introduced to the game, such as the Emetic Anthropolyp, Processed Anthropolyp, and the Octanian Zealot. Other new enemies behave just like enemies in Serious Sam 3. For instance, the Octanian Gamma Trooper behaves just like the Cloned Soldier, and the Octanian Zealot functions like Cucurbito the Pumpkin. Reoccurring enemies such as the iconic Beheaded Kamikaze, Beheaded Rocketeer, Gnaar and Kleer Skeleton are back. The Beheaded Bomber and the Beheaded Firecracker also appear, having not made any new appearances in the main series since Serious Sam VR. Enemies from both Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope and Serious Sam 3 reappear, like the Khnum, Metal Snake (renamed to the Saggitarian Sidewinder), and the Scrapjack.

Some enemies have been give more advanced AI than the previous games, and will try to flank the player as opposed to just charging straight at them. Enemies can also take extra damage from firearms if the player shoots at their head. Weaker enemies can be dismembered by shooting at their arms or legs.

Mechanics[edit | edit source]

Gameplay remains much the same as all of the games in the series, which involves making it to the end of the level and eliminating massive hordes of enemies. There are no puzzles in the game, except for finding keys that unlock doors. Like in Serious Sam 2, friendly NPCs will now fight alongside the player and assist them as the progress through the levels. A new feature added to the game is the introduction of side quests. These side quests are optional and are not required for finishing the game, but the player can receive rewards for completing them will may be useful to the player. Some of these rewards unlock weapon upgrades or even new weapons.

Player mechanics from Serious Sam 3 such as sprinting, melee attacks, iron sights and reloading all return. Dual-wielding, a feature first introduced in the virtual reality games, returns to Serious Sam 4. The player can dual-wield two of the same weapons, or dual-wield two different weapons at once. Unlike the VR games, however, the player needs to unlock the abilities from the S.A.M skill tree to be able to do this.

Like in Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope, there is a skill tree, called the S.A.M. (Sirian Artifact of Might) system, which can be developed to focus on either melee or long range combat. Skill points can only be acquired through the finding of S.A.M. eggs, some of which are found as secrets but most are found through the main quest in the campaign. Skills are unlocked by going diagonally along the tree. The player can also unlearn a skill that was previously learnt and have that skill unlock another one.

A few weapons now have alternate firing modes, such as an underbarrel grenade launcher on the pump shotgun, or the lasergun unleashing a powerful beam that deals rapid damage to enemies and the rocket launcher firing multiple rockets at once. However, these options can only be unlocked through side quests and they will not be available if a game is started after the side quest for the upgrade was in a previous level.

NETRICSA has also changed in the game. Instead of showing a 3D image of the subject and text boxes, NETRICSA now shows a list of the enemies, equipment, and dossiers on the left side of the screen and the several categories on the top left of the screen, a similar format to Serious Sam 1. NETRICSA also shows the image of the subject in the middle, the information of the subject on the top right and the stats of the subject on the bottom right. It also shows EDF tips for enemies and equipment. Like in Serious Sam 1 and Serious Sam 3, she doesn't speak like she does in Serious Sam 2.

There are over 15 weapons in total, with some new weapons like the autoshotgun and FRPCL. Several classic weapons make a return, both from Serious Sam 1 and Serious Sam 3: BFE, such as the MK III grenade launcher and the C-4 demolition charge. The Sledgehammer from Serious Sam 3 is absent and has been replaced by the military knife (which in turn has been renamed the combat knife).

Gadgets[edit | edit source]

Gadgets are one-time objects that are found either as secrets or as rewards for completing side quests. They can be selected through the player's weapon wheel.

The list of gadgets are:

  • Black Hole: An object that contains a miniature black hole that can suck and pull in enemies.
  • H.E.A.R.T.: A portable defibrillator that acts just like the Extra Life from Serious Sam 2, which revives the player when they die.
  • L.I.F.E.: Functions just like a health pickup. When used, it will give the player a boost of 50 health.
  • Holodecoy: A portable hologram emitter that creates a decoy of the player to distract enemies.
  • Mini-Nuke: A surface-to-surface missile that creates a massive explosion when detonated, killing all enemies within the range of the blast.
  • Psychotropic Grenade: A nerve agent that makes enemies attack each other instead of the player.
  • Rage Serum: A drug that enhances the player's speed, strength and endurance. Functions just like Serious Damage from Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, but wears off quickly.
  • Hacked Drone: A hacked Octanian drone that will protect the player from enemies.
  • Time Warp: A strange device that slows down time when activated. Enemies will be slowed down while the player is unaffected.

Modes[edit | edit source]

Serious Sam 4 features online multiplayer just like the previous games. Co-op is back but doesn't include 16 player co-op, only 4 player co-op.

As of now, Serious Sam 4 does not have any Versus or Survival modes, but these could possibly be added in a future update. It is unknown if 16-player co-op and coin co-op could return or not.

Digital Deluxe edition[edit | edit source]

If the Digital Deluxe edition was purchased, players can gain access to the game's official concept designs, original soundtrack (composed by Damjan Mravunac) and the classic Tommy Gun skin for the assault rifle.

Development[edit | edit source]

Sam as he appears in the pre-alpha teaser trailer, this time with a much younger look.

Development of Serious Sam 4 was confirmed in June 2013. To help fund development, Croteam released the Serious Sam Humble Bundle, from which all revenue would go towards game development.

During developing and playtesting of the jammer feature from The Talos Principle - a movable device that can disable objects within a small radius - the team proposed that this along with other game mechanics would be better of being included in a different game, The Talos Principle, which was released in 2014.[2][3] In September 2015, the co-writers of the game, Jonas Kyratzes and his wife, Verena, were announced as the screenwriters for Serious Sam 4.[4]

Serious Sam 4 was announced under the name Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass in April 2018, during the opening of the Reboot Develop 2018 conference in Croatia, with a teaser trailer.[5] One level was demonstrated behind closed doors at E3 2018 that June.[6][7] At the time, the game was planned to be released in 2019.

In May 2020, Serious Sam 4 was re-announced without the Planet Badass subtitle and with a release window of August 2020 for Microsoft Windows and Stadia.[8][9] It was later delayed to 24 September. Due to an exclusivity deal with Stadia, versions for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were postponed to early 2021.[10]

Reception[edit | edit source]

Serious Sam 4 received mixed review from game critics, scoring 68/100 on Metacritic and 5/10 on IGN.[11][12]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Early concept screenshots[edit | edit source]

Official screenshots[edit | edit source]

Official images[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

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