This one seriously threw me for a loop. I have to be honest, I knew nothing about the game at all going in. I didn’t even realize it was an upgrade/rerelease of a game released back in 2011. I must have missed that one somehow. I just saw “Serious Sam” and was like “cool, I know that guy, face shooting, well, except for the kamikaze explodey guys who don’t have faces to shoot.” Imagine my surprise when I booted it up and instead of a first or third person shooter I find a side scroller. I was rather lost at first, and it took a bit to get my bearings, but then things just clicked. It was still Serious Sam with all the silly over-the-topness, just sideways.
Graphically, it is about what you’d expect from a side scrolling Xbox Live Arcade title. They’re fun, bright and colorful and serve the purpose. Apparently it has been polished and upgraded a bit from the original PC edition, but as I’ve never played that one, I can’t really comment on that much. Overall though, if you know Serious Sam, you’ll see a lot here you’re familiar with, just from a different perspective.
The most interesting, and odd, feature of Serious Sam Double D XXL is the gun stacking mechanism. Sure, all shooters give you lots of different guns to choose from. How many of them let you fire six of them at the same time though? That’s what I thought. As you progress through the campaign you’ll unlock the ability to add more and more guns to your ‘stack’, up to a maximum of six. You would think this would be portrayed on the screen as some aesthetic merging of the weapons into a sleek new form. No, that wouldn’t be Serious Sammy enough. They’re naturally portrayed as all six weapons literally stacked on top of one another creating a massive vertical monstrosity which fires a literal wall of death.
All the normal weapon types you’d expect to find in a shooter are present in Serious Same Double D XXL: shotguns, rocket launchers, etc. And there is also an extensive modification system which will allow you to modify each of the weapons in your stack independently. You can add everything from damage boosts to added penetration to freezing and even some which are unique to specific weapons. Mix all of this in with six different weapons (or six of the same weapon with all different mods) and you have one heck of a lot of customization available to you. In fact, there’s so much that some people may be daunted by it all and not venture too far from a combination they’ve found that works and they like.
Another very cool feature is that all of the dozens and hundreds of enemies you lay to waste with your wall of death weapon stick around. No fading out of the corpses here. They fall where they die and stay where they fall, constantly changing the environment as you go. Need a quick wall to hide behind? A mound of corpses will help with that. Need to extend a platform a little bit to make a long jump across a gap easier? A couple well timed kills and problem solved.
The campaign will take most players about eight to ten hours, maybe a couple more depending on how much time you spend exploring various nooks and crannies. There is coop to spice things up a bit and allow you to play with a buddy. And you can unlock Sam’s partner in crime for use in the single player campaign with gives you a slight reason to play through it again as the story changes ever so slightly. The main thing that will keep most people coming back for more though are the leaderboards. With all the different customization available, there’s always that nagging thought “maybe if I try combining X with Y and Z instead of W and U I can get a bit higher score and move up the boards a bit…”
Great bang for your buck. Emphasis on bang.
Fun coop gameplay
Interesting stacking mechanic
Can get repetitive
Not much challenge