Worms: Open Warfare 2 Review

If you’ve played one Worms game, you’ve played them all. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, and the latest Worms offering from Team 17 is particularly competent. If you don’t know what you’re getting into, think of the ancient game Gorillas, where you control the angle and strength of the bananas you hurl across the city-scape in an attempt to blow up your enemy, then replace the gorillas with adorable, gleefully violent (and mouthy) worms and give them the ability to move across their newly upgraded, lush murderscapes while unleashing an arsenal of high-explosive weaponry on one another and you have the game in a nutshell.

Open Warfare handles well, with good zoom (on the PSP) and camera controls to help you take in the large maps and launch those hail mary, long distance grenades. The DS has a much bigger vertical view, but the PSP makes up for that with crisper images and colors, and the aforementioned zooming feature. Unfortunately, things do slow down a bit with transitions between worms in each turn sometimes taking annoyingly long. As well, it’s something of a letdown, but if you’ve played any Worms game in the past 10 years or so, none of the weapons will totally surprise you. That being said, there are 20 of them and they still add up to plenty of options for violent mischief.

The graphics are nice enough, with the randomly generated landscapes looking smooth and colorful. The new backgrounds feature animated action taking place, such as a mounted AA gun shooting down a plane or two pirate ships battling in the ocean. The sound is quite good, with crisp background tracks and a good mix of both classic and new vocals for your snarky combatants. The old and new voices don’t match up quite perfectly, but it’s not really an issue.

All of that is window dressing however, for the basic, back and forth explosive-launching gameplay that is, at its heart, meant for more than one player. Open Warfare 2 only partially delivers here. There is hot seat play for the PSP, allowing players to pass a PSP back and forth for their turns, but there isn’t a game sharing mode, a seemingly obvious choice for inclusion. There is ad hoc play between two local PSP’s, as well as infrastructure play for competition over the internet.The DS allows you to play singlecard against a friend without a copy of the game, but the map variety is rather limited (even for a Worms game).

The single player aspects of the game is minimal, with a campaign mode and randomized battles available, but that’s never really been the focus of the Worms games. You have the normal campaign as well as a fun puzzle mode, which essentially requires you to get rid of enemy Worms with a very limited arsenal while solving an environmentally-based puzzle, such as finding a way to get close enough to punch him. In what may be the only true difference worth mentioning between the PSP and DS games other than the display differences, the PSP features a time-based escape game mode, while the DS features several minigames beating the horse of the touch and mic controls almost as much as the Worms franchise.

Even though the gameplay is largely unchanged (has it ever changed in any Worms game, though?) Team 17 did a good job allowing for more customization than past Worms games. This time around, you can name your entire team, select your flag and gravestone animations, and even create your own map. The map editor may not be the prettiest and simplest thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s a nice step in the right direction if they plan on keeping this franchise going. (At this point, is there even any doubt that they will?)

Under close scrutiny, Worms: Open Warfare 2 possesses the anatomy of a normal Worms game. If you’re a veteran of the series and you want something new, there are a few new options and some sprucing up compared to past games, but this isn’t the end-all-be-all for the franchise, and the customization really isn’t implemented as well as it could be. However, if you want more Worms on the go or if you haven’t tried any of the games yet, the fun has made the transition to this title perfectly and it’s a solid buy for on-the-go gamers.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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