Lately it's been Serious Sam 3: BFE
, on Hard sans quicksaves, and christ this is a really good game. I'm only six levels in (a little less than halfway through) so far but I'm ready to declare this the best singleplayer FPS campaign since Crysis
, and the best of this year. I'm guessing the game has even more awesome stuff ahead so my opinion of it might rise even higher.
Moreso than the previous Encounters, this game has Legit Level Design. You have the regular big open field fights that Sam is known for, sure but you also have tight city streets and highways, grids of apartment complexes, and even some tense corridor sections. Tons of cleverly placed destructible cover, multiple entry and exit points to every area, chokepoints, etc. The game starts off pretty slowly, and the first two stages are unfortunately pretty lame (also probably why the game got bad reviews) especially in comparison to what comes later, but by the mosque in stage 3 shit starts to ramp up pretty fast and (to the point where I am in stage 6, at least) it's a steady increase in quality from there.
The enemy and encounter design is great. In the beginning of the game the total number of enemy types is fairly low, but they manage to mix it up enough that you can't just win easily using one strategy, and the new enemies they introduce are just as fun to fight as the old ones they keep. It's an extremely fast-paced game where you're always moving and keeping track of a bunch of constantly changing variables, and the new features (melee, bullet dust, reloading, and HDR effects, among others) only serve to help emphasize this, especially if you're playing on awesome autosave-only mode (note that checkpoints, health, and ammo are rationed perfectly to account for this.) Combined with the gigantic leap in map design, I'd say the encounters are way better than the first game. It's not "mindless shooting" by any means, especially when compared to most FPS campaigns which have come out in the past 5+ years. I mean, if SS3 is "braindead," what the hell is Modern Warfare 3
supposed to be, a lobotomized chimp which miraculously survived an abortion but was tragically left to die in a permanent coma?
The graphics and sound are gorgeous. There's a ridiculous amount of PC-specific customization, and to appease Gilbert the game has color settings so he can crank up the saturation to fucking 200% or something and ta-da all the BROWWWWNNN is gone. Personally, I just took the Vivid color setting and slightly reduced saturation, and it looks great. The music is also memorable, though I kind of wish they would have made more unique themes. Even the short cutscenes which play in-between levels and the "bestiary" which appears when you click the middle mouse button are great touches.
Also, it's totally indie! Made by a team of like 20 Croatian virtuosos who started out as garage coders, and you won't be able to watch this video
and then come back and tell me with a straight face that the devs had evil Devolver Digital publisher hitmen breathing down their neck. Or look at Fork Parker's Twitter for that matter, the dude is awesome.
So yeah, this is art and it's what Duke Nukem Forever
should have been. Buy it if you like good videogames. I'm kind of keeping the specifics low in this post because this is a game which thrives on suspense and sudden "oh shit" moments and I don't want to ruin those for anybody, but hopefully I wasn't being too vague in my gushing praise here. God damn I can't wait to get back home and play some more.