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Serious Sam 4

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Belegarsson, Apr 19, 2018.

  1. MotherMachinae Arcane

    MotherMachinae
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    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Israfael Arcane

    Israfael
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    The game is a buggy mess but it's on par with the SS3 after three levels or so. Found less than half the secrets, have to search harder (one took me like 5 mins of jumping to get it).

    If the game crashes on startup or launches but you can't set resolution/renderer API etc, you can do the following:
    1) Go to <steam directory (not the steam library, the steam itself)>\userdata\<random numbers>\257420\local\SeriousSam4.ini
    2) open SeriousSam4.ini
    3) find and replace this string gfx_strAPI = "Vulkan";
    4) it should work just fine. Smooth 120+ fps on my OC'ed 3900x and Vega 56 with highest CPU settings and medium-high GPU settings (and if you never played SS3, you'd never know that "maxing everything out" without reading what the options do will make the game essentially render in 4K with antialiasing on)
     
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  3. OctavianRomulus Learned

    OctavianRomulus
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    Man, this fucking hurts. I was going to buy this for the weekend...

    At this point they should just make expansion packs for the Second Encounter...
     
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  4. Bad Sector Arbiter Patron

    Bad Sector
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    Judging from Gman's review it looks like the game has a few highlights but the negatives overweight the positives by far.

    Very disappointing.

    (though part of me wonders if he'd focus so much in the graphics if they used a retro look... perhaps if Croteam wants to make a visually more well received game they should try to use PS2-like graphics, like the first couple of games :-P)
     
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  5. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Odds are good I've been gaming longer than you've lived.

    SSam2 was the game that finally nailed home the lesson for me of not buying a game on release-day, for a game that really screwed up on that angle you want to hear my tale of Ultima 9 (or probably not).

    Also, good news for some: Since I'm sticking with Windows 7 to the very end and Ssam 4 requires Windows 10, it seems I won't ever be playing this. Oh well.
     
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  6. JDR13 Prophet

    JDR13
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    Still interested, but this went from a week 1 purchase to wait for a sale. Croteam has always been good about improving their games post-release though.
     
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  7. Curratum Cipher

    Curratum
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    You can't improve a game when it tanks on launch week and you don't get the revenue stream you expected.
     
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  8. Curratum Cipher

    Curratum
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  9. Anthedon Arcane Patron

    Anthedon
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I was downright looking forward to SS4, oh well. Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment, and all that. :|
     
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  10. Gerrard Arcane

    Gerrard
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    They made Talos Principle which has 95% positive reviews, which makes you wonder what the fuck happened between then and now.
     
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  11. fantadomat Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Edgy

    fantadomat
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    LoL this game looks uglier than SS1. Gee the franchise has fallen a long way.
     
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  12. UserNamer Cipher

    UserNamer
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    I've been playing a bit, biggest problem is the graphics, they are not so bad but, no stylisation at all but just poor tech attempt at realism is a bit taxing on the eye. Certainly it's painful to explore for secrets.. But when you are in the middle of the action it looks and feels nice

    I am up to level 3. Still no sniper rifle, not enough assault rifle ammo so it's a pain to fight those guys with homing green fireballs.

    Lot of vampires and zombies to fight.

    The headless guys with grenades are back and also the firecracker guys.

    The shotgun doesn't require reloading.

    There is much banter, notes, radio transmissions, recordings, alien propaganda and enemy dialogue, would have preferred the ss3 approach to story

    Lots of sections with NPC's but you don't need to baby sit them.

    Game starts in the middle of a massive battle that gets interrupted mere seconds into it via cutscene.

    There is a powerup to enable sprinting and running at the same time.


    Humor. I think I smiled at "look, an angry steak" and maybe the gag with Sam collecting all the weapons with the NPC still defenseless was a nice idea.

    I think I'll play some more. Anyway, not a contender to doom eternal at the moment
     
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  13. Anthedon Arcane Patron

    Anthedon
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    :what:
     
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  14. Metro Arcane Beg Auditor

    Metro
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    Knew this looked bad in preview videos. SS3 is visually superior and it's nine years old. Never mind all the bugs and poor design.
     
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  15. HoboForEternity sunset tequila Patron

    HoboForEternity
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    Talos principle was excellent, it had creative concept executed well. I think it shows when they have no constraints within template of already known brand they can do great things. It is like the creation of the the encounter games. They didn't aim to create a serious sam game. They aimed to create a fun game, which naturally led to serious sam. After the encounters they tried to make checkbox of what makes SS what it is, and produce inferior copy of the original ones.

    This is compounded further and worse is SS4 they tried adding trendy new features in hope of "modernizing " the series.
     
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  16. JDR13 Prophet

    JDR13
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    :hmmm:
     
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  17. UserNamer Cipher

    UserNamer
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    Sprinting and shooting....
     
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  18. Zlaja Arcane

    Zlaja
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    Underworld Ascendant is actually decent now.


    :keepmymoney:
     
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  19. Tehdagah Arcane

    Tehdagah
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    Watching some streams, looks like typical Serious Sam but with even higher enemy count and crazier monsters so it's automatically good. Shame for the bugs and poorly optimization though (they will fix it!)
     
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  20. UserNamer Cipher

    UserNamer
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    So far I'm not liking it as much as I did bfe and of course tse. I think the layout of the battles and how they were set up was much better in bfe.

    There is something a bit unappealing in the graphical style. Just a half assed attempt at photo realism with some ugly over heavy restextures, sometimes it's like looking at one of those mods to have "higher res " textures in games but it's just ugly high Res textures. And sometimes you get stuff like doors where the handle is a flat texture.

    It had its moments so far and at times in the middle of the action it looks really good. But I didn't have the same feeling with some of the more extensive battles from bfe and tse where you have a large battle field to navigate around monsters, with extensive battles

    The exploration is not a pleasure at all, the image is not stylised and crystal clear but a mess of high Res uninteresting details, this combined with overly large empty levels, plus many jumping secrets were jumping is unreliable and filled with invisible walls, makes hunting for secrets not really fun.

    The gunplay itself is smooth and the monster design good it's just that I think the battles and arena layouts were better designed in previous games. But this might change later on

    Melee. Instead of the hammer which had a timing requirement to be effective and had unique death animations you get the knife which often just turns the enemy in a lifeless ragdoll on the spot.

    I have no performance issues however I am playing on recommended settings on low, which might add to the unappealingness of the visual design, but again in some moments it looked really nice in the middle of a battle . Anyway same pc was able to run eternal with most setting turned to ultra.

    Finally the plot was better handled in ss3, sometimes less is more, constant banter and plot plus having to see very ugly NPC models somehow detracts from the charm.
     
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  21. schru Cipher

    schru
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    Sorry about the delayed reply.

    I have to correct one thing I said originally, it's an overstatement to say that Serious Sam II is very casual. It's casual relatively to what the first two games were and what the third part is; it's also casual in the way that shooters designed to be released on consoles at the time were.

    As far as I'm concerned, I enjoyed it quite a bit despite those problems I mentioned, so I'm not really one of those who dismiss it. I just thought it more ‘pragmatic’ to bring it up when recommending the series.

    I came late to the series and I played all the games (except for SS4) within a year. Serious Sam 2 stood out as considerably more easy-going and stress-free compared to the other instalments (and it seems like the HD remakes of the Encounters, which I had played first, are easier than the originals to begin with). The fact that the shot-gun can take out kleers in one shot and that it has a low spread is just one example of how the enemies were made easier to deal with, while in the PC-centric games the player needs to be much more skilful in tackling kleers or else engage in a chaotic close engagement with them.

    The difference between the ‘onslaught of large numbers of enemies’ in SS2 and other instalments is that what the player needs to do to hold enemies back in SS2 is much simpler, doesn't require using many weapons, and often comes down to sustaining an even rate of fire for as long as they keep coming. In the other games if you just keep using the same weapon without changing your position, movement pattern, or how you prioritizing targets you'll get swamped and die in a few seconds.

    I would call myself a fan of the series and I wouldn't say any of the games were repetitive. Croteam put a lot of work into designing the levels to facilitate different types of encounters and then the composition and patterns of attack for the hordes. This is the main thing that differentiated these games from the new wave of what is called ‘arena shooters’ such as Painkiller, Doom 2016 and probably also the new Wolfenstein. There the arenas are more like backgrounds for encounters which are primarily defined by the basic dynamics of the AI rather than elaborate enemy placement, complementarity, and sequencing. They're a bit more straightforwardly run-and-gun (excepting the emphasis on harvesting resources by using all the additional attacks in Doom Eternal).

    I did find the more absurd humour in SS2 funny and actually better than what Croteam tried to do with the cutscenes in SS3 (and SS4, by the looks of it), which basically all fall flat in terms of humour.

    I don't have a problem with wide open areas as such as the First and Second Encounter also had those and it's perfectly fine to have additional decoration and vistas in SS2—they were quite nice. The problem is rather that the playing field itself, the area relevant to the gameplay, tended to be flat and open on all sides with fewer obstacles or variations of geometry relevant to the gameplay or enemy placement. It made the hordes more like a homogeneous mass moving evenly towards the player who could then dispatch all enemies in a rather monotonous manner. Of course the whole game isn't like this, but the big encounters in large areas were notably easier and didn't require the player to adjust the play style much.

    I don't recall the platforming sections being as elaborate or fun as in the Encounters; I do remember that floating sky-island level with all the harpies, if that's what you mean. The thing with the small, compartmentalized levels is not that it limited the exploration (though it did that too, to the extent it was part of the earlier games), but that it's a rather recognizable sign of certain hardware limitations. The levels in the Encounters are sprawling and feature long series of interiors together with large open areas in the same units. It was a distinctive feature of those games and it didn't feel right for the sequel to cut down on that. The First Encounter has thirteen levels, The Second Encounter has twelve levels. Serious Sam II has forty-two levels. The Xbox version of Serious Sam, which is made up of The First Encounter and The Second Encounter, has forty-six levels and it's glaringly obvious that the game is subdivided so due to Xbox's hardware limitations—The Grand Cathedral from The Second Encounter is subdivided into three levels for example.

    I think a distinction must be made between how good one can get at playing first-person games with a controller and what the average console audience targeted by publishers is capable of. It is true that most of the classic PC shooters (up to and including Half-Life) had some form of auto-aim, which didn't detract from their quality as PC games and made them somewhat adaptable to consoles. If you can play Quake with a controller just as well as one can play it with a mouse and keyboard, that's impressive. The matter of fact is however that none such elaborate shooters originated on the consoles and ports of PC shooters that were made for them tended to limit the scope of the original versions. Console FPSes tend to have slower movement, narrower field of view which goes hand in hand with more static action, more enemies on one level with the player, they rely more of the time on automatic weapons like rifles that are good in all situations, etc. This isn't to say they aren't challenging in their own way if well designed, but their general characteristics are different and it doesn't seem accidental that the cover-based shooter genre took off on consoles and was ported to the PC only afterwards.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
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  22. UserNamer Cipher

    UserNamer
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    Ok I'm getting into it, not looking bad anymore, interesting fights and things are starting to get proper serious, proper large crazy scale battles. The game play is smooth and dual welding is cool. You can dual wield sniper rifles and gattlings, what's not to love. I think this actually might get very good.

    Also I'm starting to think this might be a sequel after all, found a hint it might take place in a timeline altered by time travelling sam
     
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  23. Bad Sector Arbiter Patron

    Bad Sector
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    It may also have been a reaction to people disliking that part since it does break the flow. But i guess more people disliked the changes in SS2 so Croteam backpedalled on that too. Still, for me the changes in SS2 were an improvement there.

    TBH to me that describes all the games in the Serious Sam series... and the other arena shooters like Painkiller, Hard Reset, etc.

    I think you are somewhat overoptimistic about the effort Croteam put in their level design - there isn't much of it, really. The first game used environments they had created for a Quake clone and even later if you find and download the alpha version you can see the maps play very differently than the final game. The second game also had some maps cut from the alpha version. The fourth game (SS3) is mostly environments they reused from their cancelled COD clone. Only the third game (SS2) had maps designed for it from scratch. But all games are really just arenas - in many cases in all games you're just enclosed in a huge squareish corridor with waves of enemies coming from the other side. There isn't really much level design going on here.

    It was also rendering limitations as i wrote above, they'd most likely have the same limitations on PC too. But in practice having more smaller levels it doesn't make much of a difference beyond seeing a loading screen more often since after you clear an area you rarely need to go back to it - Serious Sam isn't an exploration game. You kill stuff and move on. And TBH from what i remember the levels weren't really that small, they were still large, just not as large as SS1 (but SS1 had very visually barren levels compared to SS2 so it wasn't hard to have them be large - it is like taking a cube and scaling it 10x its original size, sure you have a cube ten times larger than the other one, but it still just four polygons).

    I'll give you that at the time some developers thought that playing with controllers is much harder, however this is on the developers, not on the consoles themselves. As an example and to be on topic, check Serious Sam Next Encounter. I've only played it for a couple of hours (so i don't know if it ramps up later), but the game has been much easier than even the first level of the PC Serious Sam.

    The auto-aim in 3D PC shooters like Quake, etc is very minimal (it was the "2.5D" games like Doom that had more auto-aim but even that was only vertical) and modern source ports like Quakespasm -which AFAIK is the only source port to be both bug free and have controller support- have it disabled (`sv_aim` is by default 1, which counterintuitively means 'no auto aim'). Though truth be told, having no aim assist with a FPS/TPS game played with a controller is a PITA and just bad design.

    To be clear, i do not play Quake with a controller as well as a mouse and keyboard (unless the KBM user really sucks :-P), but i play it well enough to be comfortable with it and not find the controller an impediment.

    The console ports of these older games had their scope toned down largely because of the very limited hardware resources of the consoles of the time. However you do not see ports to newer consoles change much, if anything, from the original games because those limitations aren't valid anymore.

    Again i do not think this has much to do with the consoles - aside of performance limitations but after the gross limitations of PS1/N64, the performance limitations imposed on a game by a console could be alleviated by simply having less demanding graphics. But this is just the developers prioritizing graphics over performance - it'd be the same issue with PCs with similar performance characteristics as the consoles (remember that with the exception of PS4/XB1, when other consoles were introduced they were comparable to high end PCs at their time) and more powerful PCs can turn up the graphics.

    The other design considerations you mention might be true for some games but i think it was always the "casualest" of the most casual games to have such designs. Even in N64 days (with its awful controller) you can find many games that use height variations for enemies, require constant movement from you and use projectiles.

    I think it has more to do with developers copying other successful developers. AFAIK the first game to feature cover mechanics like we know them today was Kill Switch but pretty much nobody noticed that until much later when Gears of War was released and then everyone tried to copy it because of its success. It wasn't that cover-based shooters were obviously a good idea for controller use (which btw is different to console use - PCs can also use controllers and had them for literal decades with even the first IBM PC coming with a joystick and it has only been in recent years with the whole "pc master race" that stupid people took seriously that you see KBM elitism), it was that some very successful game used them so everything else also copied it.
     
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  24. schru Cipher

    schru
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    It may have been, but it went against the original game's defining character in that it simplified the flow of the combat and made weapon choice less important. The way kleers worked originally didn't break the flow if the player was up to the challenge, which is the point.

    Like I said, in Serious Sam II you can just pull out the minigun and keep the left-mouse button depressed to successfully hold back a horde of enemies for a lengthy space of time due to its large ammunition capacity and increased effectiveness or reduced resilience of the enemies. Painkiller and Hard Reset aren't that similar to Serious Sam despite the superficial similarity. The scale is different, they are more about sending a continuous and even stream of enemies that tends to be composed of two basic types (ranged and mêlée) that you can comfortably keep blasting away with one weapon, and the way Painkiller in particular is compartmentalized into small fighting zones makes its flow quite different. I didn't like Hard Reset much, but from what I recall it emphasized tougher and excessively harassing enemy design too much, making it kind of tedious.

    The early stages of SS games are indeed similar. However, the size of the hordes and intensity of the onslaught are much greater in Serious Sam, there are many more enemy types at a time that complement one another in interesting ways, the way they enter the stage and move towards Sam is also much more elaborate, which forces the player to adapt his tactics often. Failing to prioritize targets doesn't merely result in the annoyance of having some ranged enemy take occasional shots at you, but again, can determine early on if the battle is going to be manageable at all. The games are rather like grand gladiatorial battles of sorts. Not that this helps us determine if Serious Sam II was simplified for Xbox.

    It doesn't matter much what designs Croteam experimented with during development if the concept they ultimately decided on is quite different. Certainly, the early, more enclosed levels in The First Encounter are the least interesting. The level design in the Encounters is quite distinct, especially for the time when they were released, and it certainly couldn't support gameplay like in Quake, while it would be quite useless if it were used in combination with monsters from Painkiller.

    Temple corridors and chambers with fun traps; large open areas where you have to deal with ranged troops, enemies that try to run up to you and blow you up, and big, towering enemies that shoot rockets which you have to dodge—however simplistic such open areas might seem, nothing else would work for large, drawn-out battles like that; then we have long narrow corridors with a horde of enemies that's hard to keep back; open areas with lots of buildings that make for a sort of hide-and-seek gameplay, with the additional danger of being unable to determine where the headless kamikaze are; open areas with special spots for the enemies that attack you with the homing projectiles and some cover as protection; chambers with lots of columns; barrel-shaped chambers that revolve with you and enemies inside; chambers with special darkness tricks; interiors with gravity tricks; arenas where you're in the bottom of a pit and enemies descend from all around; etc.

    Yes, rendering limitations of Xbox, a console from 2001, while SS2 came out in late 2005. PC hardware at the time was much more advanced and there are notable examples like Deus Ex: Invisible War and Thief: Deadly Shadows which have tiny maps and simplistic gameplay in comparison to the originals because they were designed for Xbox. Also, somehow Croteam wasn't bound by the much less capable hardware for which they designed the first two games and didn't feel the need to sacrifice the map size for slightly better visuals. Having more frequent loading screens is a minor annoyance in itself, but it also breaks up the flow of the game as the Sams designed for the PC have levels that develop in much more interesting and elaborate ways.

    This is sufficient to indicate that games designed for consoles, especially at the time, are easier in comparison to PC games, as consoles are aimed at a broader, therefore more casual audience.

    The auto-aim in Quake is significant. Not sure about Unreal and SiN, but Half-Life also has a generous auto-aim on by default.

    Seeing as aim assist has largely been dropped as mouse and keyboard became the standard, it seems to indicate that consoles do require their games to be easier.

    Well, I don't mean to argue that the situation is the same today, even though consoles necessarily will remain less capable than PCs. While what you say is mostly true, a considerable part of the reason for it is that most of the big titles are designed primarily for consoles nowadays (which isn't to say that the designs aren't less restrained now).

    I think it has rather to do with the way playing with a controller and sitting further away from the screen feels. I was thinking there of games like Halo 2, the various Medal of Honor instalments (which could be pretty unforgiving in different ways), Project Snowblind, Black, etc. As for N64, I'm familiar with Turok and while it's a faster and all in all a fun game, the way it works as a shooter is still more straightforward.

    Consoles had fun shooters before that which I do value, but why is it that it was the cover-based shooters that became so popular? Might it not have to do with the casual tendency inherent in the consoles, at least starting with Xbox and PC genres that were ported to PS2?
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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  25. Metro Arcane Beg Auditor

    Metro
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    This is spot on. SS games were never meant to be photo-realistic and yet, for some reason, the devs decided this was a good idea for SS4. The end result is an blotchy mess compared to the vivid art style of the previous incarnations.
     
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