Serious Sam VR: The Second Encounter

Got VR? Buy it – http://store.steampowered.com/app/552460/

Easiest review ever.

What? You want more convincing?
~Sigh~
Okay then…

Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter released to positive reviews in 2010 and currently holds a Metacritic score of 76.  The game was praised for it’s 90’s first person shooter feel; that being fast paced and frantic.  A well made and robust Serious Engine 3 allowed the game to scale and run on just about any hardware and the game was, overall a success.

Move forward to 2016 and Crotream broke into the Virtual Reality scene with Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope a title that started with a positive response but has slipped recently, mostly because of the countless ‘wave shooters’ flooding the VR marketplace.  The game is still Early Access and I gave it a quick look late last year.

More recently though Croteam have been adapting the original Serious Sam and Second Encounter into VR and while both are fantastic the latter just has that extra layer of polish.

It’s evident that Croteam have learnt a lot from their previous forays into VR and plenty of care has gone into converting Second Encounter into a VR title.  The game is bursting with a swathe of VR options, with probably the most ‘tweakable’ movement system I’ve ever seen in a game.  You can absolutely fine tune this game to a movement system that suits you best.  As someone who suffers from motion sickness I was able to tweak a movement system that allowed me to thoroughly enjoy the game without any giddy feeling.

Regardless of the motion system you setup however, you WILL be moving.  This is no static or wave shooter, dodging and jumping and fast movement are all required to play the game.  Stay in one place too long (Much like any FPS title) and you will quickly find yourself squished.  Thankfully this is easily done with little fuss.  The only movement that feels a little odd to execute at the moment is the jump which requires you to squeeze the grip, no doubt a bit more practice on my behalf will make this mechanic smoother.  Swimming also feels a little ‘weird’ and at times I found myself struggling to get out of the water, again a little practice on my behalf will probably help there.

Up until this point we’ve seen little to no VR games with such large open maps, rapid movement and bountiful enemies.  Much of the time it includes no more than moving from one static point to another using a teleport function and remaining in place while you deal with a single or few mobs.  Serious Sam VR: The Second Encounter smashes that mold in all the right ways.

Another common complaint made against VR titles is the lack of content.  With many titles able to be completed in only one or two hours many players have been lamenting when those titles come with a $30 or $40 price tag.  Even titles like Vanishing Realms which received extremely positive reviews and I myself enjoyed immensely only takes a few hours to complete.  Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter is quite possible the ‘longest’ or most content filled VR title on the market currently, with the original game taking about 8-12 hours to complete (more if you want to be 100% thorough).  That’s not including the Legend of the Beast DLC which is included for FREE with Serious Sam VR: The Second Encounter.  Nor does that include the time you can spend in co-op or multi-player.  Did I mention you can play cross-platform with those on the non-VR version thanks to Serious Sam Fusion? Nice.

Visually the game looks fantastic and runs well with both outdoor and indoor environments.  Not bad for a game originally released in 2002, though it’s obviously had some tidying up over the years with HD and Fusion.  Audio is good with plenty of beefy explosions, yells and corny humour.  If I have any gripe at all it would be that some of the volume levels on certain sounds need tweaking as they felt a little too loud and drowned out other sounds.  No doubt an easy fix and likely just a by product of moving the game into the VR space.

Important Note:  The screenshots here really don’t do the game any justice as they are lifted from the monitor and not the headset.  What is shown on the screen is at a much lower fidelity and really only serves to give you an idea of what the helmet wearer is doing.

The weapons are all very easy and very satisfying to use, with the sniper rifle being one of the easiest and best scopes I’ve used in a VR game to date.  With your hands free of keyboard and mouse you can now equip two weapons and fire independently as well which is really cool.  Duel wielding chainsaws anyone?

Visuals, audio and VR aside Serious Sam VR: Second Encounter is just a whole lot of FUN.  I thoroughly enjoy playing the game, from those frantic moments of dodging and shooting while surrounded by a large group of enemies to quieter moments where I spend my time simply enjoying the virtual world around me.  One thing that Serious Sam VR: Second Encounter has also given me is hope.  Hope for the future of VR titles and the possibility of more game development companies taking inspiration from Croteam’s initiative.  I know we all want to see an open world ‘Elder Scrolls’ style VR RPG.

You might be a little nervous at dropping ~$40AUD on a VR title but I can firmly attest you wont regret doing so with Serious Sam VR: Second Encounter.   If you own a VR device you NEED this title in your library.

Head over to the Steam page here and buy it now.

Score: 95%

Reviewed On: PC
Specs: Intel i7 6700k, 32GB RAM, Nvidia 1070GTX, HTC Vive

The say a picture tells a thousand words, well this video of me playing the game should provide you with a few billion.

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