Serious Sam 4 is an absolute cracker of a game. It’s fast-paced, over-the-top, exciting and a really great throwback to FPS games of yore. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem, the standalone expansion to Serious Sam 4, is also an absolute cracker of a game. It’s shorter and a little different but it scratches the same itch that Serious Sam 4 did.
Developed primarily by a group of Serious Sam modders, under the banner of Timelock Studios, and with assistance from Croteam, Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem is quite a feat. It doesn’t feel like a fan-made game nor a mod, it looks, feels and plays just like the real thing, sometimes even better.
And while it may only be 5-6 hours long, Timelock Studios and Croteam pack so much game into those few hours that its brevity is never an issue. Aside from wanting more, of course. In that case, you can just start again on a harder, more insane difficulty level.
Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem
Set after the events of Serious Sam 4 and before Serious Sam 3, Siberian Mayhem sees Sam travelling to Siberia to track General Brand and stop him getting to Mental. It’s fairly “par for the course”, Serious Sam, nonsense but it’s there for set dressing. It gives context to the millions of aliens trying to remove all the red stuff from inside of you and gives you a reason to keep moving towards the objective marker, other than that being the way forward.
Anyhow, the story is rarely important in Serious Sam. What is important is the gameplay.
And like, Serious Sam 4, Siberian Mayhem is just excellent. It starts out far more hardcore than Serious Sam 4 and rather than letting you acclimate to a huge number of enemies, Siberian Mayhem is already cranked to 11 from the get-go. Thankfully, it’s not long before Sam has some serious firepower with both the automatic and double-barrelled shotguns available almost immediately.
Shortly after letting the boomsticks make short work of swathes of aliens, turning them into nugget-style chunklets, Sam gets his hands on the first new weapon in the game; the humble AK-47. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem’s AK is a beast and once you can dual-wield it, well you’re like a dog with two…assault rifles. Ahem. The further you go, the more ridiculous and overpowered the weaponry gets. The new laser crossbow turns most baddies into Campbell’s Chunky Soup in one shit and the Raygun is a fiery weapon set to BBQ.
Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem expands on the large, open maps of Serious Sam 4 with levels that feel enormous and give players a chance to explore, chase down secrets and get ambushed every other minute. Aside from the absolutely relentless combat, a great deal of fun comes from trekking around the Siberian wilderness, finding hidden pathways, completing secondary objectives and unlocking extra features.
What you’ll find most in these secret areas are Skill Points which you can use to upgrade Sam. There aren’t a huge number of skills to unlock but they do change the game incrementally. Dual-wielding comes from a skill, as does sprinting and reloading, riding on enemies and more. Sam’s skills are more like perks. They don’t fundamentally change the gameplay (why would you want to) but they augment it and make it just that little bit better.
I mentioned the relentless nature of combat in Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem and I can’t think of a more fitting adjective. Enemies seem to never stop and even when they do, it’s for such a brief period that they may as well have been part of the same wave. You’ll need to constantly stay on the move, make use of some special items (slo-mo grenades FTW) and be sharp with your aim if you plan to stay alive.
The music plays a big role in making the combat seem all-encompassing too. Death metal swells as you enter combat and slowly fades to sparser, more industrial sounds once combat is finally over. It segues nicely between the differing styles and ramps up the tension when needed. This is edge of your seat gaming folks.
For an expansion developed by a team of modders, Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem is well and truly worth the price of admission and upholds the franchise’s legacy. There’s very little chance you’ll be bored at any point, nor is there much chance you won’t have a good time with this.
It’s fast and furious and very, very stupid, which is perfect.
Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem is perfect for those quiet nights at home when you want to curl up in front of your TV or PC, open a nice bottle of wine and absolutely massacre an invading alien force.
Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem was reviewed on PC using a digital code provided by the publisher.