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The Talos Principle photo
The Talos Principle

ESRB lists The Talos Principle for Xbox One

I'm probably not smart enough for this
Aug 17
// Zack Furniss
Though The Talos Principle released late last year, its particular brand of philosophy and puzzle-solving tickled Darren's scientific fancy. He's even said that it might end up on his personal Game of the Year list....
The Talos Principle photo
The Talos Principle

The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna is out now

Watch the launch trailer
Jul 23
// Darren Nakamura
The more time passes since playing The Talos Principle, the more I think it's going to end up on my personal games of the year list. Releasing late last year, it just missed the cut to be considered for 2014, so it will be g...
The Talos Principle photo
The Talos Principle

Tougher puzzles await The Talos Principle players this month

Expansion releasing July 23 on Steam
Jul 08
// Jordan Devore
Croteam is building on its philosophical first-person puzzle game The Talos Principle with an upcoming expansion, Road to Gehenna, which covers a different society and "some of the most advanced and challenging puzzles yet." ...
Talos Principle photo
Talos Principle

A Serious Sam voice pack for The Talos Principle is weird and awesome

And free
Apr 01
// Brett Makedonski
The Talos Principle is a puzzler that requires deep and philosophical thought. Serious Sam is, well, it's pretty much the exact opposite. That's why it's so excellent that the latter will be doing voicework for the ...

Talos Principle expansion photo
Talos Principle expansion

The Talos Principle bringing more deep thoughts with Road to Gehenna expansion

Follow Uriel in a previously hidden section of the simulation
Mar 24
// Darren Nakamura
Players who took the time to really explore The Talos Principle might recognize the name Uriel. Though the base game is seen through the eyes of a particular simulation participant, evidence of others exists in the form of QR...
<3 RoboCop photo
<3 RoboCop

This RoboCop mod ensures I'll play The Talos Principle

It's not the original Murphy, but still cool
Jan 30
// Jordan Devore
Darren's review of The Talos Principle intrigued me. Even if the game had turned out poorly, a philosophical puzzler from the studio behind Serious Sam was something I just had to see. Fortunately, it's good. Eight-out-of-ten...
Talos Principle secrets photo
Talos Principle secrets

Fan translates all of The Talos Principle's hexadecimal messages

Croteam makes a cameo in its game
Jan 08
// Darren Nakamura
The Talos Principle uses several different modes of storytelling. There are the dictations from the god-like Elohim, the conversations with the Milton Library Assistant, the recordings of a bygone scientist, the QR code messa...
Talos Principle photo
Talos Principle

Talos Principle pirates trapped in eternal elevator

Once you walk in, you never walk out
Dec 30
// Laura Kate Dale
You bought a new game and within minutes you encounter a bug where you enter an elevator and it eternally loops with no way to escape. What do you do? You obviously go and complain about it to the developers, right? Maybe not...
The Talos Principle photo
The Talos Principle

The Talos Principle is out on Steam today, here's a launch trailer

Puzzle enthusiasts should definitely check it out
Dec 11
// Darren Nakamura
Croteam's sharp departure from running and gunning The Talos Principle is out on Steam today. I think it is great, and I am not alone. It is probably the best puzzle game to come out this year, and it is certainly the game t...

LIVE! Absinthe vs. The Talos Principle: A Most Distinguished Stream

This is the worst idea we've had since our last idea
Dec 08
// Max Scoville
You guys might recall (we sure as hell don't) a month or so ago, Devolver Digital sent me and Bill an early build of Titan Souls and a couple large bottles of some sort of ale made by wizards or monks or something. Bill and I...

Review: The Talos Principle

Dec 08 // Darren Nakamura
The Talos Principle (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 4)Developer: CroteamPublisher: Devolver DigitalReleased: December 11, 2014MSRP: $39.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit The meat of The Talos Principle is in the puzzles. Most of these have the same basic goal: find a way to get to the Sigil (a colored tetromino) at the end of each of the small, discrete puzzle rooms. These start out simple, with only a couple of tools available, but eventually become more complex and more devious. Barring access to the Sigils are energy barriers, automated turrets, and explosive drones. Initially, the main tool to deal with these obstacles is the jammer, which can shut down any electronic devices. Later, connectors are used to manipulate lasers, hexahedra will weigh down pressure plates, fans can push objects, and more. A lot of the puzzles use these tools in a straightforward manner, but the best ones require the player to discover alternate functions. A jammer can weigh down a pressure plate while deactivating a device remotely. A hexahedron can act as a stepping stone over treacherous terrain. A series of connectors can be arranged to create a recursive loop, activating and deactivating doors continuously. Even the turrets and drones have uses in the right situations. Solving the toughest puzzles requires not only hard logic, but also the ability to consider everything that an object is capable of doing. [embed]284698:56579:0[/embed] The puzzles in The Talos Principle can be downright diabolical. Each of the main Sigils is clearly designated and can be obtained with enough persistence and the right frame of mind, but it goes deeper than just those. There are also optional stars scattered around the environment, some hidden from view and others out in plain sight but difficult to access. These stars add an entire new level of difficulty to the puzzles. Some require particularly efficient use of tools. Some require the player to quite literally think outside the box, using elements from neighboring puzzle rooms together. Some are not found in the puzzle rooms at all. After more than twenty hours of play time, I was able to obtain all of the main puzzle room Sigils, but I only managed to pick up a little more than half of the stars. It is a bit of a bummer, since both Sigils and stars act as keys to unlock new areas filled with new puzzles. The main Sigils can lead to one of two different endings, but the stars eventually lead to the sixth floor and presumably a third ending. I desperately want to see what is behind the third door and I know I would not be able to without the help of the community. Part of the reason I am so intent on seeing all there is to see is that the narrative is thought-provoking, but I feel like I am still missing some pieces of it. In short, the story is about existing as an artificial intelligence in a strange, computer-generated world. The unique thing about The Talos Principle's story is that it is delivered through about a half dozen different avenues. Immediately upon waking, the player is greeted by an almighty voice in the sky calling himself Elohim, who gives commands and promises eternal life. Not long after, the player finds computer terminals, which contain catalogs of old emails, websites, and other text that gives clues to the world's history. The Milton Library Assistant is a program created to catalog all of that data, but it ends up with its own thoughts and ideas. Scattered about, there are audio recordings from a woman whose importance to the story becomes more apparent over time. Finally, there are QR codes painted on the walls of the puzzle rooms themselves, put there by entities who have passed through previously. All of those pieces come together to create the world of The Talos Principle, but some are more important than others. Listening to Elohim and following his instructions alone will lead down one path, but the Milton Library Assistant (referred to as the Serpent in some achievements) will challenge those actions, and just about everything else. Interacting with the Milton Library Assistant is easily the most interesting non-puzzle activity in The Talos Principle. It asks fundamental questions about consciousness, morality, purpose, and the like, and even when it seems like the answer is obvious, it will provide a counter example that brings new perspective to the discussion. In truth, navigating the dialogue trees of discussion with the Milton Library Assistant can become exhausting after a while. In the same way that a difficult puzzle would stump me for several minutes at a time, I would often carefully consider each question it would pose, and play out how it would react to each of the given responses. It seems to have a clever retort to just about everything and the player does not get to really "fight back" until near the end. Still, there are options to appease or ignore the program altogether, which presumably lead down different narrative paths. The sheer volume of text employed to argue philosophical points is impressive. Both the puzzles and the philosophical dialogue require deep thought, but one disappointment in The Talos Principle is that the two are not connected in a meaningful way. Sure, the playable character is an artificial intelligence and a lot of the philosophy centers on whether an artificial intelligence can be considered a person. Sure, completing the puzzles means obeying Elohim (at least to a point). One of the ending sequences introduces a new mechanic that is enhanced for those who have been carefully following along. But for the most part, the puzzles and the philosophy are independent of one another. Though I understand the reasoning behind the decision, it hurts my heart knowing that there will be players who ignore or put off having to think about the topics that writers Tom Jubert and Jonas Kyratzes contributed and instead focus only on the puzzles. Even though the two pieces of the game do not tie together as powerfully as I had hoped, the dichotomy helps to keep The Talos Principle from becoming overwhelming. After spending all available mental energy on logic, it helps to shift gears and think about life. The Talos Principle has some important things to say, but more thoughtfully, it wants the player to have important things to say as well. Even those who do not bother to think about the philosophical topics can find a smart, sometimes frustratingly difficult puzzler here. It really shines for those open to both. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Talos Principle review photo
Things that make you go 'hmmmm'
While playing The Talos Principle, much of my time was spent sitting at my desk, chin in hand, deep in thought. I can only imagine the puzzled look on my face as I considered options, ran scenarios in my head, and generally d...

The Talos Principle makes me feel smart and dumb

Nov 16 // Darren Nakamura
The Talos Principle (Linux, Mac, PC [previewed], PlayStation 4)Developer: CroteamPublisher: Devolver DigitalReleased: December 11, 2014MSRP: $39.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit As a pure puzzle title, The Talos Principle begins fairly simply. Each area is separated into small, discrete puzzle rooms (a la Portal's testing chambers) and there are only a few tools available. The robotic protagonist can walk around, jump short distances, and pick up objects. The first of these objects is the Jammer, which will shut down any one electronic device it is pointed at. This comes in handy, because in between the player and the Sigils that must be collected are electric barriers, automated turrets, and explosive proximity sentries. By solving puzzles and collecting Sigils, new objects come into play that open up new puzzles. Manipulating lasers to unlock doors is generally cool. Unlocking Hexahedra (large weighted cubes) seems a bit mundane in comparison, but one of the difficulties to overcome in solving puzzles is having to figure out firsthand everything that objects can do. For instance, cubes are naturally used to weigh down pressure plates, but can also be used to climb on, to block laser beams, to stack objects, or to redirect sentry bots. That flavor of puzzle-solving is a bit of a double-edged sword. Discovering a new function for an object through trial and error makes for some "eureka" moments that are satisfying, but sometimes the path to get there reaches "this is not fun any more" territory. For instance, one puzzle took me so long to complete that the disembodied voice in the sky encouraged me to move on. Once I learned the simple mechanic that allows the player to drop items while airborne, it became trivial. After solving that particular puzzle, I felt dumb instead of feeling smart. [embed]283929:56346:0[/embed] The other major aspect of The Talos Principle is its discussion of philosophy through narration from the voice of a god and text found on computer terminals scattered around the environment. One of Croteam's goals is to make that content available for those who want to engage with it, but to make it optional for those who only care about the puzzles. Personally, I could not imagine skipping over the conversations with the entity behind the computers. Through the use of extensive dialogue trees, the digital assistant asks some pretty heavy questions about consciousness, and it remembers the player's answers to follow up on later. Though it is not what most would consider the "meat" of the experience, it is what sets Talos apart from other physics-based first-person puzzle platformers. Only about one-third of the way in, I have already had moments where I had to sit at the keyboard and just think for a bit before choosing an answer. Is a tree conscious? No, obviously not. Can an electronics-based artificial intelligence be conscious? Hmm, I guess so. Could a sufficiently complex network of tin cans attached to strings that acts as a computer be conscious? I honestly don't know, but I took a lot of time to consider that. So The Talos Principle is made up of two distinct parts: puzzles and philosophy. Both make the player think. Both can make the player feel smart or stupid. Blazing through a puzzle by seeing what tools are available and figuring out the solution is intellectually rewarding while plodding through only to stumble on what should have been obvious stings a bit. Similarly, not being able to articulate how I know I am sapient makes me reconsider that sapience. The real test of merit is in whether The Talos Principle can marry the two pieces in a meaningful way. Where The Swapper's game mechanics were intrinsically tied to its philosophical discussion, that relationship is still unclear with Talos. Though the protagonist is presumably a robotic artificial intelligence, that seems to be the only link between the discussion of self-identity and consciousness and the weighted cubes and lasers found in the puzzles. If that picks up as the story continues, The Talos Principle could be incredible. If not, then it is still looking like a competent title worth a puzzle fan's time.
The Talos Principle photo
Back at E3 2014, I got a brief chance to get my hands on The Talos Principle while talking to one of its writers Tom Jubert (FTL: Faster Than Light, The Swapper). In the presentation, Jubert explained the intended approach to...

Devolver Digital photo
Devolver Digital

Devolver Digital releases public test for The Talos Principle

A quantum leap forward in games marketing
Nov 07
// Rob Morrow
From the shy, but devilishly good-looking people at Devolver Digital and Croteam's department of theoretical philosophy comes a brave new thought experiment in games marketing. Rather than relying on the tried-and-true ...
Sigils of Elohim photo
Sigils of Elohim

Devolver Digital and Croteam release free puzzler mini-game

Complete sigil puzzles to unlock Items in The Talos Principle
Oct 18
// Rob Morrow
Croteam, the independent development studio behind the Serious Sam games and debonair indie publisher Devolver Digital have recently released a free mini-game prelude to their upcoming philosophical first-person puzzle gam...
Talos Principle photo
Talos Principle

Serious Sam devs ditching guns for a mysterious puzzler (with lasers)

From the writer of The Swapper
Jul 08
// Steven Hansen
The Talos Principle was revealed at E3, from which Darren Nakamura got a nice preview of the game. The latest from Croteam (Serious Sam) seems more Portal than shotgun eviscerator and will be available this yea...

The Talos Principle explores philosophy and lasers

Jun 18 // Darren Nakamura
The Talos Principle has three main parts to experience, though they run together throughout. Most of the core gameplay involves solving puzzles from a first-person perspective, using various gadgets scattered around the environment. The puzzles are self-contained, so the player knows when he is entering and exiting a particular puzzle, and that any given challenge can be completed without using outside items. There are several tools and traps that appear in the puzzles, though the ones shown during the vertical slice were a bit on the mundane side. There were impassable energy barriers, automated turrets, and tripod-mounted jammers that would shut either of the former down. There were lasers that needed to be shone into detectors, and beam splitters to redirect them. An early puzzle involved three barriers but only two jammers. Picking up a jammer deactivates it, so players cannot just walk through with one in hand. The solution involved pointing both at one barrier, allowing the player to sort of leapfrog them past one another. It was simple, but still satisfying to figure out and implement. The puzzles do get more difficult; one of the later puzzles required me to get a tip from the developer in order to solve it before the appointment was up. By solving puzzles, the player gains tetrominoes, and once a set is acquired, they can be arranged into blocks at specific terminals to unlock new sections to explore. That said, progress is not locked to any one specific puzzle. If a player is stumped, he can save it for later, explore elsewhere, and move on. Exploration is a key component, because a good portion of the philosophical questions are delivered through it. Jubert's goal in crafting the story was to make it a personal affair, with the idea that "whatever kind of philosophical baggage you carry around with you, you'll be able to express that in the game." Part of the time, a godlike voice in the sky will talk to the player, and part of the player's expression is that he can choose to listen or ignore the voice at will. More interesting are the data terminals scattered throughout, which allow the player to interact with an unknown entity on the other side. Upon walking up to one such terminal, the protagonist's hands are shown as fully metal, robotic facsimiles, hinting at a theme of artificial intelligence. The terminal is then interacted with in the form of dialogue trees, but one player's experience can vary from another's pretty substantially. Jubert explains, "Because everything is philosophically focused, we can actually go into a lot more depth and give you much more genuine agency within that. So, you can come to this as someone who believes in God and have a largely different conversation and relationship with this character than another player would." Jubert continues, "You can try and defend your ideas while he challenges them, you can give up on them and tell him he's right, you can do a bunch of things and he will do his best to remember. Philosophy isn't the sort of thing you can do very easily by just shouting at someone." Therein lies the hidden strength of The Talos Principle. By using dialogue trees in this way, the game intends to discuss philosophy through conversation with the player, rather than through a single rehearsed monologue. Though a lot of the player's attention will be spent in solving puzzles, Jubert and Croteam also want the player to think about issues centered around personhood and its relation to advancing technology. Jubert closes, "Most of us think that by being persons who are self-governing and make our own decisions, that makes us different from everything else. That makes us moral beings. As we look forward, we're going to have a lot of very difficult questions to solve as soon as we start with genetic manipulation and fucking around with people's brains. These are going to be really political hot topics in the next hundred years. It's pretty fucking shocking to me, having to discuss them in videogames." It sounds like it is aiming to be very thought-provoking. My one concern at this point stems from Jubert's previous work. One of the reasons The Swapper was so incredible was its marriage of gameplay and theme, in which each fed off the other in a very meaningful way. It is not clear yet how closely the puzzles will tie in to the narrative of The Talos Principle, but if Croteam and Jubert manage to pull it off, this could end up as a great example of videogames as a powerful form of philosophical expression.
The Talos Principle photo
'Whatever kind of baggage you carry around with you, you'll be able to express that in the game'
Nestled in a parking lot across the street from the convention center in Los Angeles was Devolver Digital's phalanx of air conditioned campers. The publisher had a good mixture of highly anticipated titles like Hotline Miami ...

Serious Sam photo
Serious Sam

Serious Sam Classics: Revolution out now on Early Access

Would you consider attacking one at a time?
Apr 30
// Brittany Vincent
It's time to get serious. Or stoic. Actually, if Serious Sam is your thing, you might even want to get excited. A team of fans (with Croteam's blessing, no less) has launched Serious Sam Classics: Revolution on Steam, an ite...

Croteam dev hates Windows 8, calls it a 'walled garden'

Suggests certification processes should be abolished
Nov 06
// Jim Sterling
A number of game developers have already shared their less-than-positive views on Windows 8, slamming Microsoft's new interest in ruling the PC gaming market through proprietary services. Croteam's chief technical offer ...

Serious Sam 3: Jewel of the Nile DLC and franchise sale

Shooty shooty run and gun!
Oct 17
// Alasdair Duncan
If you were salivating at the chance to play more Serious Sam 3, then your wait is over. The Jewel of the Nile DLC is now out for Croteam's old-school FPS, consisting of three new levels as the titular hero travels to the&nbs...

Rich Knuckles announces Serious Sam 3: BFE coming to XBLA

Wait, who's Rich Knuckles?
Oct 12
// Brett Zeidler
That's right, Serious Sam 3: BFE is finally making its way to Xbox Live Arcade, and it's launching in less than a week, no less. The single-player and co-op parts will be available for 1200 Microsoft Points, while the multip...

A Linux version is next for Serious Sam 3: BFE

Jul 24
// Jordan Devore
The latest update on Valve's interest in bringing Left 4 Dead 2 and Steam over to Ubuntu was a spot of bright news for Linux users, and there's more where that came from. Croteam and Devolver Digital have announced that Serio...

Live show: Serious Sam giveaway on Mash Tactics

May 16
// Bill Zoeker
It's about to get all super serious on Mash Tactics today! King Foom is going balls to the wall in Serious Sam 3: BFE multiplayer. On top of that, we have a bunch of codes for the Serious Sam Complete Pack on Steam, courtesy ...

Serious Sam 3 DRM = Immortal Pink Scorpion

Dec 07
// Jim Sterling
Despite Serious Sam 3 promising to fight piracy simply by being an awesome game, it turns out that developer Croteam has snuck some DRM in there. Fortunately, it's the best kind of DRM -- the kind that only affects illegal c...

Review: Serious Sam 3: BFE

Nov 25 // Jim Sterling
Serious Sam 3: BFE (PC)Developer: CroteamPublisher: Devolver DigitalReleased: November 22, 2011MSRP: $39.99Rig: Intel i7-2600k @3.40 GHz, with 8GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 580 GPU (SLI)  When playing Serious Sam 3: BFE for the first time, one could be fooled into thinking Croteam had bowed to mainstream gaming conventions. The first few levels are quite slow paced, giving Sam only a limited handful of generic weapons and pushing him through corridors filled with scant, evenly distributed enemies. This is not the Serious Sam you're used to, and those looking forward to a mindless cavalcade of violence may feel disappointed.  It is, however, little more than a trick. Although the game starts off with a deliberately slow build, it does not take long for Serious Sam 3 to become perhaps the most ludicrously violent, brutally stressful game in the entire series.  Serious Sam 3 preserves the wave-based gameplay of past iterations, in which enemies spawn at a rapid rate and assault players in unremitting legions. Once again, Sam's arsenal of weapons are fairly standard but wholly satisfying, with rocket launchers, sniping devastators and miniguns mercilessly chewing through the opposition. New to the series is an assault rifle with a sight scope -- perhaps the only concession to the modern shooter this game ever makes.  [embed]216475:41879[/embed] If Sam is near enough to certain enemies, he can take them out instantly with a melee attack. Melee attacks allow Sam to rip the hearts out of beheaded rocketeers, pull Kleer skulls from their bodies, and even remove a Gnaar's cycloptic eye. While melee attacks seem overpowered at first, performing such moves during intense enemy waves soon becomes impractical, since Sam will take damage during the attack animation and will also have to drop whatever he yanked from the monster's body before using weaponry again. When one can safely pull off an execution, it's sadistically amusing, but it's never overpowered since performing them is not always sensible.  Most of the enemies are familiar, with headless kamikaze troopers, laser-spewing Biomechanoids and vicious Kleer skeletons returning with their familiar attacks in place. Every enemy has been redesigned to make them look more detestable -- and even disturbing -- than ever. There are some new monstrosities to encounter, chief among them the ape-like "space monkeys" that are actually quite frightening in their first appearance, since they hide in the dark and leap out at Sam. They get quite irritating after a while, though.  Whatever new items have been thrown into the mix, this is the Serious Sam fans know and love. The large environments will cause players to become agoraphobic, as a wide space only means that an absolutely gigantic wave of enemies is coming. These waves are consistently oppressive, and will regularly push players back as they constantly retreat to gain space between them and the approaching aliens. This "one step forward, two steps back" approach is a series staple, but sometimes it can get a little aggravating, especially once you've cleared an area and need to walk through a huge empty corridor. Still, one cannot deny the simple pleasure of knowing that you just took on an entire army and won.  Of course, winning isn't quite that simple. Serious Sam 3 is damn hard, and swearing at the monitor can be a common occurrence, especially in the last few stages, with Croteam perfecting the art of combining certain enemy types to create the most potent threats possible. Players will learn to truly despise the Kleer this time around, as they always come at the least helpful moment, backed up by other creatures that cover them with explosive projectiles while they get in close with their bony blades. I've not even mentioned the Brides of Achriman yet, with their telekinetic ability to hold players in place while other monsters take potshots. This is a strenuous, savage, unapologetically "hardcore" game, and I don't think I'd have it any other way.  Fortunately, manual saves are in place, which is useful considering how long this game can be. Single levels can take between twenty minutes to a whole hour, which is almost unheard of by today's standards. Most first-person-shooter campaigns take four hours in total to beat these days, but you won't get through a quarter of this game in that time. The only downside to such a setup comes with the last level, which ramps up the length to an extreme degree and forces players down a very linear, tight canyon for over two hours. Over two hours for one level. It doesn't help that it's a rather boring and dull level, leading the game to end on a frustrating, almost demoralizing note. Without that final chapter, Serious Sam 3 is a huge amount of punishing fun. The final stretch is all punishment, no entertainment. The combination of challenge and level length makes for a game that can actually become exhausting. After tackling legion upon legion of single-minded cosmic horrors for over an hour, it's not uncommon to feel mentally and even physically drained. One's clicking finger will be overworked, one's mind full of the screams of kamikaze warriors and the hoofbeats of Sirian Werebulls. Serious Sam 3 can put players to sleep -- not through being boring, but through wearing them down to the very bone. If that sounds like a criticism, that is not my intention, as a game that can maintain such levels of rigorous intensity over such extended time periods is remarkable, and deserves a measure of high praise.  In addition to single-player, the campaign levels can be conquered with up to sixteen allies in a variety of cooperative modes that allow for limited or endless respawns. While co-op is not quite as challenging as going solo, having a squadron of players in one map can be pretty damn fun, especially with the range of silly character skins on offer. There is a Survival Mode, which simply tosses players into a map and spews out enemies until all players are dead. So, it's basically the campaign without a story.  Competitive multiplayer also returns, and it is by far the roughest offering in the box. Environments look significantly uglier and everything feels rather sparse and alienating as players run around each other, firing off shotguns until somebody stops moving. The gameplay is barely evolved from the early nineties, which is part of the charm, but definitely isn't worth playing very much. The biggest issue is that Serious Sam is a game about overwhelming odds, and stripping that down to a small amount of players runs contrary to the philosophy. I think Croteam would do well to infuse multiplayer with the same spirit as the solo mode, perhaps having players fight it out in environments that regularly spawn alien enemy waves. That could turn multiplayer into something truly special.  It has to be said that Serious Sam 3: BFE is not graphically impressive. In fact, the whole production is unpolished and a little messy. The new Serious Engine produces visuals barely on par with early Source Engine games, and animations are pretty terrible, especially when it comes to melee attacks. It is not the ugliest game on the market, but it's definitely not a looker. However, that absolutely does not matter in a game like this. BFE never set out to wow players with aesthetics, and the fact that a team as small as Croteam got it looking this good is admirable, to say the least. The rough look, if anything, just adds to the ballsy, reckless attitude that drenches the entire game, and the gorgeously hideous creature design more than makes up for any engine trouble.  The game's brilliant musical score and sound effects do a lot to cover up the visuals as well. One hardly has time to pay attention to graphical flaws when metal guitars are roaring and fifty exploding corpses are screaming in your direction. I am a little disappointed that Sam's idiotic one-liners aren't quite so common, but when they do show up, they're gloriously stupid.  Serious Sam 3: BFE is not a game for the faint of heart. It will challenge your resolve while it constantly pushes you back under a tidal wave of skeletons, fireballs, rockets and chaingun-wielding scorpions. Its levels can last up to an hour, its gameplay never deviates from one note, and it will cause players to thump their desks and roar with rage, but it's so much fun. There was such a significant gap in the market for a game like this, its simple charm and sheer wealth of content serving as the perfect antidote to all those "cinematic" military shooters and po-faced "edgy" games that have burrowed deeply into this generation. This is a game that remembers how much fun it can be to just give a player some guns and a bunch of uglies to shoot.  It's a lot of fun indeed. A lot of backbreaking, grueling, soul-destroying fun.

As games become increasingly complex and try to explore new, innovative ideas, the market is ripe for a game that takes us back to square one. Despite our lofty ideals and desire to treat videogames as art, there's still a ba...


Serious Sam 3: BFE update kills game saves (Update)

Nov 24
// Jim Sterling
[Update: The Croteam member who confirmed the issue has said that the studio may be able to fix everything. A new patch will arrive tomorrow that will attempt to rescue both old and new saves. Fingers crossed!] A small update...

Your Serious Sam 3: BFE launch trailer is here

Nov 22
// Jim Sterling
Sick of turgid military shooters and po-faced space marines? Do you just want to shoot a lot of things while a mentally stunted meathead laughs in the face of violence? Well, Serious Sam 3: BFE is ready and waiting.  Th...

New Serious Sam 3 trailer contains a lot of blood

Nov 17
// Harry Monogenis
Remember when Croteam's Serious Sam 3: BFE was hit with a delay? I know, we all cried a little inside at the fact that we wouldn't be able to rip out the eyes of Sam's enemies with nothing but our bear hands, or get to ...

Serious Sam 3: BFE gets its arsenal out in new trailer

Oct 31
// Jim Sterling
Here's a new trailer for Serious Sam 3: BFE, showing off the juicy selection of weapons that Sam Stone will use to make mincemeat of Mental's ugly thralls. From assault rifles to lazer guns, you'll have plenty to play with.  The game's shaping along nicely from what I've played of it, and I expect a diamond in the rough. Who's looking forward to this one?

Serious Sam 3: BFE pushed back to November 22

Sep 30
// Jim Sterling
Serious Sam 3: BFE has been hit with a delay, missing its October 18 launch date to instead come out on November 22. Croteam says it wanted to polish things up before revealing the final product.  "The team wants to take...

Fantastic Arcade: Serious Sam 3 may be the best one yet

Sep 27 // Allistair Pinsof
Serious Sam 3: BFE (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC [Previewed])Developer: CroteamPublisher: Revolver DigitalTo be released: October 18, 2011Serious Sam games always seem to overstay their welcome. They are fun at first but become repetitive and tiresome. Yet, I find myself revisiting Doom and Quake every year, despite id Software’s classics being based on the same format: In/Arena/Out. What makes those games so timeless is the level design, an element that always felt disregarded in the Serious Sam series. Serious Sam 3 feels like it's taking great strides to change that -- to the point where I may no longer think of it as Painkiller’s inferior companion.After getting a good hour sample of the game, including a look at some new levels and its balls-crazy final stage, I am taken aback at how this series has found a way to excite me again. The game is still full of sprawling outdoor arenas, but they are are filled with alleyways, walls and indoor areas. This makes crowd control feel interesting and challenging, in a way that id Software games did back in the day. My favorite mission had to be one partway through the game that felt like you were playing in a bombed out Middle Eastern village. The game does feel a bit too much like Modern Warfare, but since this level recalled obsessively playing the favela level in Special Ops, I won’t hold it against Croteam. In past Serious Sam games, you’d just stand in an open area and fire away. In Serious Sam 3, you’ll evade enemies by running down alleyways, taunt them into a closed room and rip their heads off if you are feeling brave. The game is still built upon the repitition of killing hordes of enemies, but there are so many variables that the levels and rebuilt combat system offer this time. As long as you are still up to shooting things in the face, the game will give you enough tools to keep it fun. The melee weapons in this outing are made to be used as secondary weapons, not last resorts. Your fists won’t do you much good, but swinging your giant hammer in a 360-arc will. The game’s weapon load-out might be a bit daunting at first, but you’ll soon find yourself comfortably switching weapons to match your enemy. Fans will be happy to hear that the classic laser gun is in the final game and it's as great as it ever was.There are some things that concern me about Serious Sam 3, however. Although the game only has 10 minutes of cutscenes, it does have some levels that slow down the pace a bit more than I liked. One found Sam walking through a dimly lit museum filled with alien eggs, when he should have been busting ass through a crowd of demons.  I’ll give the game the benefit of the doubt that these slower scenes will make for an interesting change of pace when played within context. However, everything else about Serious Sam 3 looks like a great addition or welcome return of a past feature in the series. You’ll still have your insane 16-player co-op (along with a very rare 4-player split-screen option), point system, and memorable weapons (THE CANON!) On the other hand, you also get new features like destructible environments, sand storms that limit your vision and a terrifying, Tremors-looking Sand Whale that keeps you within the level’s parameters (kind of like the shark in Jak and Daxter). I’m especially fond of the new enemy Scrap Jack that looks a direct throwback to Doom II’s Mancubus with its sagging gut and guns for hands.Based on what I previously saw and heard, I expected Serious Sam 3 to be a half-hearted sequel that tried its best to fit in with all the military shooters that currently populate the market. While I am disappointed the game’s levels don’t have the visual variety of Serious Sam 2, I am pleased to see that the game makes the most of its Egyptian setting. The changes to combat, level design, and other aspects are enough to keep me invested, however. It seems those four years Croteam spent developing this sequel were put to good use. I can't wait to shoot crazy numbers of demons with 15 friends when the game drops October 18.

[All this week, I'll be bringing game coverage from indie game festival Fantastic Arcade in Austin, TX. Be sure to check Flixist for my coverage of film festival companion Fantastic Fest.] A Serious Sam 3 ...

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