It may not be apparent that Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem is a standalone expansion to Serious Sam 4, mainly because it doesn’t have four in the title, but it is. Inserting itself into the main game as a lost episode opens the door for creativity without fitting into a mold. Timelock Studio (the developer formed out of making this expansion) offers up a challenging and memorable game, a rare case where it exceeds its predecessor. Croteam put hundreds of enemies onscreen and worked it around the gameplay. Timelock Studio instead built gameplay around the hundreds of enemies onscreen, and that’s the key to its brilliance and brutal difficulty within it.
The Serious Sam series probably doesn’t come to mind for many when someone asks about classic first-person shooters or memorable protagonists. Croteam aims to change that, and Serious Sam 4 works to earn its place in the pantheon of first-person shooters that you’ll remember first. There’s a not-so-serious story in addition to Serious Sam as a playable character seeing improvements by often going the Deadpool route of fourth-wall breaking humor and references. These elements combined, establishes why this series refuses to live in obscurity or niche any longer. Serious Sam 4 doesn’t change the formula, and this is to its benefit, making it a bigger, better, and more planet badass than ever.