Friday, 27 June 2014

Worms Battlegrounds

In 1995 the gaming world changed for me.

Why? Because that was the year that saw the release of Worms, a turn-based artillery game that I must have pumped 300+ hours into. However, while I always loved the Worms franchise and hastily bought the sequel upon release, I didn't play any of them after Worms 3D. Worms 3D killed it for me, personally. Gone was the 2D slick aesthetic, instead utilising clumsy 3D graphics. It was an interesting take on the franchise and it did at least feel like a Worms game, but it just didn't do it for me. So, after countless Worms titles I haven't played, this is my first Worms game in a decade. Does it live up to the original?

Developed by series creators Team17 and out now for PS4 and Xbox One comes Worms Battlegrounds, the biggest Worms title to date. One thing worth noting is that this entry is a console port of last years PC title Worms: Clan Wars. Compared to other Worms titles, there is somewhat of a story here. Worms Battlegrounds takes place in a museum and is narrated by Katherine Parkinson, of The IT Crowd fame. Parkinson plays Ms. Pinkle, a mysterious woman who is highly interested in unusual artefacts. Through taking part in various worm-on-worm battles, your goal is to defeat the evil Mesmer and steal the fabled Stone Carrot. The story is simply and effective, and just enough to keep the game driven, but not consumed, by narrative.

Story mode is broken up over 5 different types of environment, with a total of 25 missions available throughout. The missions take place within the various historic installations around the museum, and depending on which era the installation is focused on, the level design will reflect the setting. From the Stone Age, Vikings and beyond, there's a diverse array of environments to battle in. However, compared to previous Worms games you won't only just be fighting in these levels, as some are solely geared more towards platforming, while others are heavy on puzzle solving. Even before being armed, your worms are pretty unique and fall under one of four classes, which come in the form of Scout, Scientist, Soldier and Heavy. As expected, each class is considerably unique, so having a squad that's an even-handed selection of each class is usually the best option.

As always the gameplay plays out like any previous Worms title. Through using a vast, vast selection of weapons you must eliminate the opposing team through turn-based attacks. It's not as easy as it sounds, as different weapons follow different trajectories and cause varied types of destruction. Another element to keep in mind (and something that the old Worms games didn't have!) is that because the levels are completely destructible, if demolished recklessly you may find that the environment itself becomes a threat. For instance, breaking a wall that's blocking water can potentially drown some, if not all, of your worms. This added element of environmental hazards is an excellent addition to gameplay, and is another factor that ends up keeping the player on their feet.

Multiplayer is fantastic too, with both local and online modes being supported. The multiplayer game modes follow the usual formula, but it's in those intense online or local battles where Worms Battlegrounds is perfected. I loved the game but it's only during multiplayer when I thought to myself, “This is just like the old days playing Worms on the PS1!”, which effectively made Worms Battlegrounds a roaring success in my mind.

Overall Worms Battlegrounds is a worthy entry into the series. I can't speak for the last few Worms titles, but as someone played it during its early years, I thought Worms Battlegrounds perfectly captured the feel of the classic Worms era. Blending lovely 2.5 visuals, a huge array of epic weaponry, delicious environmental destruction and a truly show stopping multiplayer mode, Worms Battlegrounds may be your next addiction.

Worms Battlegrounds worms its way into my gaming schedule and gets a 5/5.


Denis Murphy

Worms Battlegrounds at CeX

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