Platform: PS4, Xbox One
Release date: 30/5/14
Worms Battlegrounds – Review
Team 17 returns! And what delights have they brought with them?
A new Alien Breed, maybe?
Or, even better, A NEW SUPERFROG???
Nope…they’ve brought out a new Worms game. I know, it’s a shocker, right? To be fair, Team 17 must be doing something right. We’re now 19 years removed from the very first Worms game, and yet they still find people to buy the latest iteration. In this case, that latest iteration is Worms Battlegrounds (Xbox One Games Store, £19.99). Being such a long-standing franchise, you’ve all played at least one Worms game before, right? Well, this game is almost exactly like that, ok? Thanks for reading, bye!
Wait, what? Some of you haven’t played a Worms game before, and would quite like a more in-depth review of the game? Well, alright then, but only because you asked reasonably nicely.
Worms is a turn-based combat strategy game in which you control a team of worms given the task of eliminating an opposing team of worms, using various artillery weapons, each of which is affected by real-world physics, forcing you to take into account factors like power and trajectory. Maps are designed in such a way as to ensure that you can’t just straight-line your way to victory, with enemy worms often being located in little pockets underground or on elevated ledges.
The game is playable in a single-player campaign mode, and both local and online multiplayer. The single-player campaign is contained within a bizarre overarching story wrapper – you, as a group of worms, has been tasked with aiding a world-famous female archaeologist, Tara Pinkle (Oh, and she just happens to be English, by the way. You know, just in case the parody was too subtle. On the other hand, she’s voiced by the wonderful Katherine Parkinson, so it gets a pass.), who needs you to recover a series of precious artefacts. Cue you taking your worms into battle against those currently in possession of said artefacts, using a series of weapons ranging from simple grenades to more unusual one such as the Winged Monkey or the Holy Hand Grenade.
However, as with all previous Worms games, multiplayer is where it shines, and Battlegrounds is no different. The campaign mode actually serves as a decent little tutorial mode to prepare you for the multiplayer, but enemy AI isn’t great. Playing another human though? That’s when Worms is always at its best. Maps devolve into theatres of pure tension, where you feel like you literally cannot miss one single shot, and it forces you to think several moves ahead. Think chess, but with worms instead of horses, and bazookas instead of, well, no bazookas.
Ideally, you want this to take place within the confines of local multiplayer. It’s always infinitely funnier to beat your mate in a round, when you can see his or her reaction to that defeat. The other reason that this is the preferable option is that Worms Battlegrounds suffers from the same problem as every Xbox Live-enabled multiplayer game that isn’t Call of Duty, Battlefield or the major sports titles – finding a game online isn’t always easy after the initial buzz of the first couple of weeks. As a result, I’d find myself waiting for decent chunks of time to get into a game, which is less than ideal, especially when games themselves can then take a fair while to complete.
Worms is a franchise that’s increasingly difficult to score, mainly because of its age, which both works in its favour and against it. If you played the original Worms in 1995, then you can play Battlegrounds with your eyes closed, because the game has only ever seen relatively minor increments with each release. As such, it’s impossible to score it as highly as the original game of 19 years ago. It’s more-or-less the same game, which means that we’ve seen it all before and arguably way too often. The price is also difficult to justify for the same reason. If it was in line with other recent downloadable releases, fair enough, but £20 (even more, if you prefer having a disc-based copy) is a pretty hefty amount of money to fork out for what you’re getting.
In spite of all of this, Worms Battleground is never not-enjoyable. In this sense, it’s to Team 17’s credit that they’ve created a game that’s as playable now as it was in 1995. There aren’t many game franchises out there that have proven to be quite so timeless, and I had just as much fun with Battlegrounds as I did with the original. As a result, it’s a title I’d definitely recommend but not at its current price point. My advice is to wait for a sale, then pick it up, because it would be a shame if no-one played it.
- Excellent narration
- The campaign is a great tutorial for the multiplayer
- The game’s as playable now as it was 19 years ago
- Its hefty price tag
- Sometimes difficult to find an online game
- The game’s practically the same as it was 19 years ago
I loved Worms Battlegrounds, especially in multiplayer. It’s still an excellent strategy title, and still retains that Team 17 charm. However, it’s impossible to score more highly, when it so rigidly sticks to the existing Worms template. It’s a franchise that needs to evolve.
Worms Battlegrounds - Review,