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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]

The Earth Defense Force convey on their way to meet Father Mikhail.

Sometime during the Mental War, a massive portal opens in Tunguska, Russia, allowing Mental's armies to teleport to Earth. The Earth Defense Force, Earth's main military force, is scrambled along with local resistance teams to repel and contain the alien threat.

Meanwhile in Rome, Italy, an Earth Defense Force convey carrying a unit of the EDF is sent by the Earth Defense Force to meet up with Father Mikhail, a priest and expert in archaic languages, who claims to have clues on how to find the Holy Grail. According to him, the Grail is a powerful artifact inside the Ark of the Covenant that could be used to aid the human forces in their fight against Mental. On the way to the Vatican, the convey is ambushed by enemy forces led by Lord Achriman, one of Mental's generals overseeing the invasion in Europe. Since the team have no other choice, they are forced to abandon the city.

Mount Vesuvius erupts.

To find a way to get back into Rome, Sam and his companions retreat to a base in Pompeii, where they suggest utilizing the seismic capabilites of the HAARP complex to trigger an eruption on Mount Vevusius to erupt that will force Achriman's air forces to be grounded. The team set up 8 beacons to activate the array, but Jones is killed during the mission by a Khnum. Sam battles the beast and kills it. Once setting up the beacons is complete, Brand orders that the HAARP be activated, despite Sam and his team not being a safe distance away from Mount Vesuvius. The HAARP activates, causing the volcano to erupt and fill the ruins of Pompeii with lava. Sam and his friends manage to get out alive and head back to base.

Once back on base, Quinn informs Sam that they have been unable to reach Carter and Mikhail, so Sam and Rodriguez go back into Rome to rescue them. They are successful, and Mikhail tells Sam that to find the location of the Grail, he needs to find a book inside the Vatican. On his way to the Vatican, he meets a gun-toting old lady called Nonna, who assists him with directions to get to the Vatican. After getting hold of a mech and killing a huge alien creature, Sam obtains the book from the Vatican and the Grail's location is revealed to be inside an abandoned church in Carcassonne, France. Sam and his team board a plane to France, only to have it shot down by Octanian raiders. The team are forced to jump out of the plane and are separated from one another upon landing in the French countryside. Sam manages to get to Carcassonne, where he meets up with Kenny. After fighting off some of Mental's forces, Sam is confronted by Achriman, who further taunts him before killing Kenny before fleeing.

Sam blows up the Vatican to retrieve the book.

Sam meets up with Michelle, the leader of the French Resistance cell in Carcassonne. They introduce him to Charlie, an Arachnoid informant who knows how to get into the castle where the church is located. With help from Charlie and resistance fighters, Sam makes it to the church and makes contact with his friends. Lord Achriman shows up again, but Sam kills him to avenge Kenny. Before Sam and his team enter the church, Father Mikhail doubts the Grail they seek is what it actually seems, and that it was kept hidden away for a reason. When Mikhail uncovers the Ark, he finds that it actually contains a golden scepter with the figure of a snake wrapped around it, which bears a great resemblance to Aaron's Rod. General Brand and his soldiers appear, who reveals himself as a traitor with the intention of offering the Grail to Mental as a gift. Brand takes the artifact and allows himself to be bitten by the snake figure, transforming him into a monster. Mikhail intervenes to stop the now monstrous Brand, but he kills him and captures Sam along with the rest of his team.

After a tranquilizer trip, Sam wakes up to find himself inside Brand's transport plane. Just as he is about to leave, Brand mocks him, tellin him that the humans have already lost the war. Sam escapes by parachute and lands at an abandoned oil platform in the Arctic. There, he obtains a boat and departs to Tunguska to stop Brand. On reaching land, Sam is assisted by a version of himself from the future who provides him with a snowmobile before leaving. At the site of the portal in Tunguska, Sam finds that his friends have also escaped from Brand and joins them a large scale battle between the EDF and the alien forces, where Mental sends his toughest forces at them. Brand recaptures Sam and offers both him and the artifact as a gift to Ugh-Zan VI, one of Mental's most powerful servants, but the creature rejects him. With help from his friends, Sam kills Ugh-Zan VI with the Grail and straps Brand to an ICBM that the team then launches into the portal, destroying it.

After the battle, Sam and his remaining friends celebrate while remembering their lost companions. Sam indicates that their next mission will be in Egypt, leading to the events of Serious Sam 3. In a post-credits scene, the future Sam visits Nonna to tell her that he has a mission for her.

Characters[edit | edit source]

Enemies[edit | edit source]

Weapons[edit | edit source]

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

Warning: Upgrades will only be available in the playthrough in which they are acquired. So starting a mission that comes after when the upgrade would be acquired will not be available and cannot be obtained.

  • 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. 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: A very powerful and rapid-firing 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.

Gadgets[edit | edit source]

Replacing the power-ups from older games, gadgets are unique objects that can only be used once and are found either as secrets or as rewards for completing side quests. They can be selected through the player's weapon wheel.

  • Black Hole: An object that contains a miniature black hole that can suck and pull in enemies.
  • Hacked Drone: A hacked Octanian drone that will protect the player and fire upon enemies for a while before it explodes.
  • H.E.A.R.T.: A portable defibrillator which revives the player when they die.
  • Holodecoy: A portable hologram emitter that creates a decoy of the player to distract enemies.
  • L.I.F.E.: Functions just like a health pickup. When used, it will give the player a boost of 50 health.
  • 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 performance-enhancing drug that increases the player's speed, strength and endurance.
  • Time Warp: A strange device of Sirian origin that slows down time when activated. Enemies will be slowed down while the player is unaffected.

Vehicles[edit | edit source]

Gameplay[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.

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.

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.

NETRICSA has also changed in the game. Instead of displaying 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.

The game takes place in three major countries; France, Italy, and Russia. The maps are much larger than before, and 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.

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 as the Saggitarian Sidewinder), and the Scrapjack. For the first time in the series, enemies can now take extra damage from the player's weapons if the player shoots at their weak spot, such as their head. Weaker enemies can be dismembered by shooting at their arms or legs, which can incapacitate them.

Hordes of enemies are now much larger than before, which makes the game more challenging. 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. 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.

The final level of the game introduces a spawning feature called the Legion System. Its purpose is to control the spawning of soldiers and enemies that spawn with the player during the battle.

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). 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 that can track enemies. However, these upgrades 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.

Sam riding an Octanian Zealot.

Like in Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope, there is a skill tree, called the S.A.M. (Sirian Artifacts of Might) system, which can be developed to focus on either melee or long range combat, as well as unlock unique skills. 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.

One of the unique features that can be unlocked from the skill tree is the ability to mount enemies, such as Octanian Zealots or Sirian Werebulls. The mechanics vary depending on the type of enemy being mounted. For example, a mounted Zealot can whack enemies with his hammer, and a mounted Werebull can be used to ram enemies out of the way with its horns.

Once mounted, the player will be able to control the enemy's movements and attacks. Enemies will attack the enemy the player is controlling instead of the player's character. The player can use the enemy's attacks with the primary fire key. If the player is mounted on a Werebull, the player can use any of their weapons and control the Werebull's movements at the same time. The enemy has a limited amount of health when mounted, which is displayed on the bottom-left corner of the screen. Once the enemy dies, the player will be dismounted.

Skill Tree[edit | edit source]

Warning: Only up to 10 skills may be used as only 10 S.A.M. eggs can be found in the entire campaign.

  • Healing Punch (gain health upon melee kill)
    • Long Distance Relationship (increases the range from which melee attacks can be made)
      • Objection, Your Honor (allows the player to use melee weapons found in the environment (like lamposts or stop signs) as melee weapons
      • The Bigger They Are (allows for melee attacks on medium sized enemies like Scrapjacks or female Gnaars)
        • Rodeo Time (allows the user to mount and drive large enemies like Khnums, Octanian Zealots or Sirian Werebulls)
        • he Harder They Fall (Allows for melee attacks on almost all enemies)
  • Looter Shooter (enemies occasionally drop ammo upon death)
    • The Quick And The Dead (all weapons gain a faster reload time (should they have a reload))
      • Unflinching (reduces all splash damage taken by 50%)
      • Full Speed Ahead (increases rate of fire for all weapons that have a reload, after reloading)
        • Beserker (increases damage as health decreases)
    • Dual Wield (allows the player to use 2 knives and pistols at once, use the aim button to use the alternate weapons)
      • Born To Run (allows for the use of weapons during sprinting)
        • Footsure (allows for aiming down the sight while walking normally)
      • Dual Wield Harder (allows for the dual-wielding of medium weapons such as shotguns, assault rifles and Devastator)
        • Dual Wield With A Vengeance (allows for all weapons to be dual-wielded)
          • Mix It Up (allows for any combination of weapons to be dual-wielded)

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 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]

File:Serious Sam 4.jpg

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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