Serious Sam 4 almost immediately disappoints. That’s not to say it’s bad — it's another generally playable slice of carnage in the long-running series — but it’s also yet another prequel, a fifth game in which the villain, the tastefully named “Mental”, does not make an appearance. It's another shooter much like the last one, with mostly the same enemies and similar environments. It’s challenging, with plenty of secrets and — for the first time — “side quests”, though these just lead to items and weapon caches rather than anything essential.

In some ways, it’s even a step back. It’s a better-looking game than Serious Sam 3, but honestly? The difference isn’t that striking. You’ve got the customary Quality/Performance toggle, but while the latter does provide 60 frames-per-second at times, it drops, and it drops hard. Anytime you’ve got a surplus of baddies on screen kicking up particles — which is almost all the time — the frame rate tanks. Last gen's The Serious Sam Collection managed what felt like a locked 60fps at all times and this sequel really isn't that big a visual leap that the PlayStation 5 shouldn't be able to handle it. The experience is compromised by the enormous firefights it’s gleefully sold on.

It also lacks local co-op, which was always the best way to play Sam; every game in the Collection had the feature as standard. We’re rather disappointed that split-screen isn’t a thing anymore. Online multiplayer is there, sure, but it’s just not the same.

While fitfully fun and well designed, Sam 4 disappoints as both a sequel and a next-gen product. While it wasn’t particularly optimised on PC it still represents a low for PS5 performance. A compromised port of a game that’s only slightly above average in the first place. A serious shame.