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Even for the most hardcore Serious Sam fan, it’s hard to be impressed by Serious Sam 4 (Why?). Plagued with performance issues and filled with bland environments, unimpressive visuals, cringe cutscenes and characters, SS4 is clearly an unfinished game. This is precisely why the announcement of Siberian Mayhem, a standalone expansion to SS4 left me sceptical. When I learnt that Siberian Mayhem is not made by Croteam but rather is a mod-turned full release by a team of experienced fans cum modders did restore my faith in the game a bit. After all, the Serious Sam community is nothing if not passionate. So, what does my three-week delayed review of Siberian Mayhem say? Does it redeem the tarnished legacy of the Serious Sam IP or is it a half-baked cash grab attempt? Take a walk with me…on second thought,  since I’m already late to the party, let’s cut to the chase. Siberian Mayhem is everything Serious Sam 4 is not. It’s fast-paced, packed with adrenaline-pumping shooting segments, adds in a few super-overpowered alien ass-kicking weaponry and is made with love from start to finish. Want me to elaborate further?

Siberian Mayhem takes place during the events of SS4 when series protagonist Sam ‘Serious’ Stone travels to Russia to defeat Mental’s forces…and that’s all I’ll say about the story. Is there a plot? Sure there is. Is it interesting? Not in the slightest. All I know is that there are lots of enemies on screen and the game gives you a badass arsenal to blow their asses to kingdom come. If it wasn’t for the review, I’d have gladly skipped over the cutscenes to get back to the breakneck action. Serious Sam has never been a series known for its storytelling prowess and I won’t judge Siberian Mayhem for the plot/ The story only functions to further complicate the mess that is the Serious Sam timeline. At this point, the series plot is so stupid and full of plot holes that it’s better to avoid it altogether. At least the developers knew better than to not test the patience of the players and ditches the cringeworthy characters and dialogues from SS4 in favour of short cutscenes.

At least it’s semi-decent to look at

Siberian Mayhem is still built on the backbone that is SS4. For better or for worse (who am I kidding? Of course it’s for the worse), Siberian Mayhem uses the same engine,  the same ‘realistic’ art style (that totally doesn’t fit the tone), the same assets and the same core gameplay. The game is split into four new levels and as Sam, you are thrown into large frozen landscapes of Siberia to do what Sam does best- kick alien butt. From the outside, it is very much Serious Sam 4.1. But the real change comes with the treatment of the game by Timelock Studios. As avid Sam fans, they know what works and what doesn’t for the community (please take notes Croteam). The developers don’t waste time setting up the nonsensical plot and puts you straight into the action.

The biggest advantage of Siberian Mayhem over SS4 is that it actually has pacing. The empty and boring level design of SS4 (where nothing happens for most of the time) is put into good use here. You go from shooting waves of enemies (both old and new) to exploring the big open spaces for secrets, throwbacks and sidequests. There’s far more level variety, Indoor areas return and so does the trap secrets the series is infamously known for. The mech and driving sections that were so tedious in SS4 is made better by making them more focused and brisk. Even the sidequests are more fleshed out and interesting than the entirety of SS4’s main story. But, if you’re someone who’s just in for the action, you can ditch the exploration altogether and go from point A to B.


You can’t talk about Serious Sam without mentioning the weapons and Siberian Mayhem doesn’t disappoint in this regard either. Aside from the standard Sam arsenal which includes the likes of the ever-trusty shotguns, minigun, rocket launcher etc, Siberian Mayhem adds in several iconic weapons such as the AK (you can’t be in Russia and not shoot a Kalashnikov), the alien melter that is the XMPR Burner Raygun and the badass Perun Crossbow that’s just *insert chef’s kiss*. Combine these up with the returning skill tree from SS4 and you basically deal death at every step.

Hmmm…fresh meat

I mentioned earlier that Siberian Mayhem is still based on the SS4 engine. It brings me great pain to say that the performance issues of the former still persists thanks to what I assume to be unfinished code. It’s a bit better than its predecessor but I was still getting fps drops in the 50s even on a Ryzen 5 5600X and RTX 3070, especially during weather effects. Aside from the performance issues, there are other problems present like stiff animations, bugs, poor voice acting and an overall lack of polish. Thankfully, you’ll learn to forget the latter problems amidst all the action.

What is this, Rise of the Triad?

Real Talk

In short, Siberian Mayhem is a better version of Serious Sam 4 with tight pacing, well-thought-out combat arenas and some old-school touches. While the performance issues are a bummer, for ₹ 699/$ 19.99, there’s loads of fun to be had here. Devolver Digital should think of giving Timelock Studios more work in the future.



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