Xbox 360 Review: Serious Sam HD: The First and Second Encounters

Two great games on one disc, but is the price right?

I had previously played and reviewed the PC versions of Serious Sam HD and was ultimately impressed with the visual upgrade, but could see that the gameplay had become quite dated over the years when compared to today’s modern shooters. Serious Sam’s gameplay consists of killing hordes of enemies that charge at you, while running through the levels to the end, much like DOOM in that respect…but with a mixture of cheese that would make Duke Nukem blush.

You can pick up the disc with both games for £20-£25 which is a bit steep for two XBLA games, but remember they both came out at 1200 Microsoft Points each which ends up being just over £20, so you are actually getting a good deal for the disc combo compared to buying it digitally. So for once, I can’t complain about the price of these compilation discs.

Both games feature a great single player campaign that can be played through 4 player online co-op, but the games also come with achievements that require you to do things like completing the game solo without firing a single bullet or completing it on the serious difficulty. These sound pretty demanding and having tried them, I can say it is challenging to say the least. Its gameplay may be dated compared to today’s FPS’ but it’s on another level in terms of difficulty.

There are also plenty of secrets to be found in each game, with a minimum of 50 in the first and 80 in the second. Besides the campaign is your standard Deathmatch modes which are great fun, although the achievements for The Second Encounter require you to put a lot of hours in as they ask you to win 100 matches and accumulate a total of 100,001 enemy kills and frags combined, which is perhaps a bit too much for a game that only offers 200 Gamerscore.

Visually, both games are identical…but the upgrade from the old versions is impressive and the framerate is consistent throughout, even when you have dozens of enemies flooding towards you ready to explode. Sound effects sound dated and the voice-acting is minimal other than cheesy one-liners from Sam.
For more in-depth reviews for each Encounter, click the links below:

Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter review

Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter review

The Verdict

On the whole, it’s good to have both Encounters on a single disc. The games may have aged in terms of gameplay, but they are still classics that are amusing and highly addictive to play. Plus the added bonus of achievements make replaying them all the better.