Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem PC Review

Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem tacks onto Serious Sam 4 without much difference.

By Fragnarok, Posted 14 Feb 2022

Serious Sam Siberian Mayhem is a standalone expansion to the FPS Serious Sam 4, once again developed by Croteam and published by Devolver Digital. The expansion picks up with Sam on the heels of General Brand, the villain from the main game. Brand has returned from his dimensional voyage and is leading Mental back to earth. Sam heads to Siberia solo to secure the area and save the world yet again.

Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem, PC, Review, Brand, Screenshots, Devolver Digital, Croteam, NoobFeed

Siberian Mayhem consists of just five levels without much onboarding of what is going on. In fact, without reading the Steam page it may come off as if the game has no connection to Serious Sam 4. It isn’t until around one hour or more that players are first briefed about the situation with Brand or what that means. Very often outright contradictions to Serious Sam 4 and Serious Sam 3’s plot will be made, typically as a joke. With how goofy the franchise is infamous for, players should expect inconsistencies and retcons.

Even though there are only five stages, they are quite long and can take up to 10 hours to clear. Levels are made up of hordes of Mental monsters and other deadly creatures. While Sam has many options in his arsenal, the main strategy is to kill enemies at range and only get in close if there is no other option. Often times most enemies of Mental are either slow or weak from afar, but either has a deadly melee attack or high enough health to soak up damage. Additionally, there is no health regeneration and players will need to conserve health packs and armor if they want to survive the onslaught of foes.  

Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem, PC, Review, Screenshots, Devolver Digital, Croteam, NoobFeed

All of the weapons from Serious Sam 4 return, but this time around they are upgraded with alternate fires right from the first mission. The most iconic is the shotgun fully mounted with a grenade launcher instead of a zoom-in scope. This can sometimes make it cumbersome scrolling through weapons, as one might hastily pick the wrong attachment. This is especially detrimental while already fighting, as one might accidentally deal poor damage or harm themselves from an unexpected alt-fire. Outside of ranged weapons, Sam can also execute enemies with a quick knife slash.

The SAM egg skill-up system also returns but is limited to just 10 points throughout the expansion. Many of the eggs are also found during side objectives, so it is possible to be missing quite a few if keeping to the main story. Siberian Mayhem has also changed several of the tree’s perquisites. This includes being able to gain Full Speed Ahead directly from Dual Wield Harder. However, all of the skill options still exist, allowing players to make a character who specializes in melee, speed, or shooting.

Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem, PC, Review, Screenshots, Devolver Digital, Croteam, NoobFeed

While Sam Stone is the only playable character in the story, players can quickly switch to a number of skins representing past heroes. This includes Fiona Starr, Penelope Quinn, Dwayne Rodriguez, and more - including many unlockable characters. However, this is only an aesthetic change and characters will always be voiced as Sam. Even in four-player multiplayer mode, voice lines will only come from a player’s client-side perspective while other teammates will remain silent.

Multiplayer is the main draw of the game, bringing in four players to the main campaign. This serves two purposes: both allowing more firepower against the stacked forces of Mental, but also allowing quick revival instead of having to reload a save game. More players will lower the overall challenge, so hosts should consider pumping up the difficulty setting. There are additional co-op options including damage, ammo, pausing the game, and skipping cutscenes. 

Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem, PC, Review, Screenshots, Devolver Digital, Croteam, NoobFeed

One strange aspect though is that multiplayer games do not wait for all players to be ready, instead each individual joins in as their system loads the full level. This can cause many players to arrive mid-mission and even just in time for the level to be over. Additionally, joining a multiplayer game will only grant the minimum weapons, gadgets, and SAM eggs. This means the player might be a bit underpowered if the host has not taken the time to do side missions and collect rewards.

The biggest hindrance in Siberian Mayhem is load times. In single-player, every death and reload requires sitting through another loading screen. This can even include if certain objectives do not trigger and require a hard reset to spawn. Still with a huge army of Mental enemies, dying at least a few times is inevitable. It is highly recommended in multiplayer sessions simply to allow single loading thanks to respawns. This does mean completing each stage in one sitting - there is no mid-mission saving online - but stage progress is recorded if the entire co-op mission is cleared.

Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem, PC, Review, Screenshots, Devolver Digital, Croteam, NoobFeed

Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem adds directly to Serious Sam 4 without changing much. Despite being a standalone expansion, players should go through Serious Sam 4 first. Only after, should Siberian Mayhem be considered for purchase? Still, it is best experienced as a co-op making it highly dependent on the active player base and regional ping.
       

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Devolver Digital
Developer(s): Timelock Studio, Croteam
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Action, Aliens, Comedy
Release Date: 2021-12-25

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