It isn’t every day that fans get to make an official expansion for a game series they’ve spent years making mods for, but Croteam has given a team of modders such an opportunity all the same. Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem adds five new levels of pandemonium, set between the penultimate and final levels of the base game. The standalone expansion comes with hours of additional playtime, adding all-new locations, and even including new enemies, some of which were previously made by Croteam but weren’t finished in time for the main game. But the question stands: is Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem worth it?
Don’t expect to see the kinds of cutscenes that were a frequent presence in Serious Sam 4 here. Sam gets some new dialogue in places, but Siberian Mayhem is more of a strict gameplay affair. There are also humorous new recordings to find in the world as Sam continues slaughtering his way through Mental’s hordes. In case you were worried about the presentation, Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem looks, feels, and plays like more of the same, which I wasn’t sure we’d get considering that Croteam only helped out. The dev team did an excellent job.
The opening level, for instance, sees Sam running through a large snowy area that kept making me think of GoldenEye. Of course, this level also has indoor environments that are quite different from what we saw most of the time in Serious Sam 4. On the other hand, the performance issues of the main game are completely in full swing in Siberian Mayhem. I saw my framerate wildly fluctuate between 40 and 100 fps at 1440p. The optimization is just not at all up for a game like this. I was pretty surprised, as Croteam has had a lot of time to improve things. Hopefully, this will get cleaned up shortly after launch.
Gameplay-wise, Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem is more Serious Sam. You run around, find weapons, and then blast monsters to death with them. One new enemy here is an animal that rapidly dodges while running, shooting acid at you all the while. The fighting is what we’re used to, so if you liked 4, you’ll feel right at home.
Well, most likely. The aforementioned indoor areas can be fairly annoying. Due to the speed of the movement and the huge amounts of teleporting enemies, fighting in tighter areas can frustrate. An early-game section sees Sam fighting a ton of Kleers while locked into what basically amounts to a prison pen. The pen is decked out with columns, which makes backpedaling risky. I’m really not fond of moments like these.
Shortly after, there’s another indoor area that hearkened back to the older games, though. You’re inside a large warehouse with multiple floors and bounce pads all over the place. You need to run and bounce from floor to floor while gunning down tons of enemies. It’s classic Serious Sam combat that’s still enjoyable after all these years.
Overall, fans should absolutely pick Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem up, as it is indeed worth it. The only kind of iffy thing is the price tag, as the game is launching at about $20 USD. That’s not bad for around six hours of content, sure, but it’s half of what the base game launched for, which had considerably more levels.