Jeremy Jastrzab
14 Oct, 2007

Worms: Open Warfare 2 Review

PSP Review | At least it has explosions.
The mercurial Worms franchise received a handheld revival when it was released on the DS and the PSP over the last year. Worms: Open Warfare on the PSP was a reasonably solid effort, but there was definitely room for improvement. Not to be outdone, Team 17 are back again with Worms: Open Warfare 2, again for the DS and the PSP. There have been a few improvements, but are they enough to allow the handheld versions to hold their own?

Indeed, there have been a few substantial improvements and additions over last year’s effort. While the way that the game plays hasn’t been changed much, it has been the fleshing out of modes, options and content that makes Worms: Open Warfare 2 a better game then its predecessor. Unfortunately, a couple of past minor issues have crept over as well. While there is a campaign mode in the game that is meant to go through various historical and non-historical situations, it doesn’t really provide much of a story. Still, this is hardly a detractor from the game, as the franchise has never really tried to get into any kind of real story telling.

For those who haven’t already given the series a go, the Worms franchise pits the two teams comprised of cartoon worms against each other, the aim of each being to blow the living snot out of any and all opposing worms. To do so, each team has a wide arsenal of weapons, ranging from the destructive to the incisive to the completely ludicrous (Dragon ball anyone?). There are 33 weapons in all, and each team also has a wide variety of different tools that can be used to help your team’s position including, for example, ninja ropes and teleporters. However, players need to think about things such as position, obstructions and the wind direction, so there is a fair amount (turn-based) strategy involved. If you rush into things without thinking about what you’ve done, you’re unlikely to taste much victory.

Worm goes boom!

Worm goes boom!
New players and first time PSP Worms players have the option of checking out the tutorial as they enter the game. It does a good job of teaching the players the basics, but for the rest of the game’s intricacies, you’ll just have to play through and find them out for yourself. Within the campaign mode, there are dynamically generated maps, hopefully keeping the experience fresh. Aside from the campaign, the main other single player modes include puzzle and mini-games. Puzzle requires you to solve a typically Worms situation within a specified time limit. The mini-games cover a wide variety of series staples as well, though they will primarily consist of races.

The Worms franchise has always had a strong focus on multiplayer. Worms: Open Warfare 2 isn’t any different and actually manages to expand on its predecessor. The game contains the usual modes, including deathmatch, fort and a mode that allows players to race. However, the game now supports infrastructure on-line play as well as ad-hoc. Furthermore, there will be leaderboards that will allow players to track their progress against others. Multiplayer is really the only way to truly get into the Worms experience, so these additions are certainly welcome.

Among the new additions are a host of customisation options. On the PSP version, your worms can now get some new headgear, and the options have been opened up to allow for players to customise their own team flag and to create their own maps and scenarios. These creations can then be taken online, for all to play. Putting together all the additions that have been made to the game, you have a game and an experience that is superior to the one that we had last year. That being said, there are a few undesirable issues that have come through this again year.

Concrete Donkey ay...

Concrete Donkey ay...
That primary issue that faced Worms: Open Warfare within the single player has come from the game’s particularly inconsistent AI. It’s not a new issue, as it’s something that has plagued the series through out its lifespan. Unfortunately, the whole procedure where you watch as an enemy worm will blow themselves up one turn, only to knock out three of your worms on the next turn. Still, there’s always the multiplayer, right? Well, the really endearing issue throughout the game is the pacing. AI takes quite a long time to make their decisions and the worms (literally) crawl across the screen. For a handheld title, things are probably drawn out a bit too much for anyone's liking.

Graphically, the game is an improvement from last year. The visuals are sharp, smoother and much more vibrant. It is much easier to distinguish between the worms and the surroundings, particularly when the player has zoomed out. There are some fairly impressive and hard-hitting effects on screen as well. In terms of sound, it was quite amusing to find that we could get our worms to speak in several different languages. It’s just too bad that it was sometimes hard to hear, or to understand what the high-pitched voices were saying. The sound track was suitably upbeat and had a comical, light-hearted air to it.

While the gameplay in Worms: Open Warfare 2 is essentially the same as has been seen through the series, it’s the content, customisation and multiplayer additions that have been made to the game that put it above last year’s effort. While AI issues have always been prevelant, the real issue with the game is it’s sometimes sluggish pace, which is particularly noticeable on a handheld format. So long as you have a few friends to join in with you, there is no better combination of turn-based strategy and unashamed destruction then Worms: Open Warfare 2.
The Score
Worms: Open Warfare 2 hardly reinvents the wheel but is a much better package this time round. It also can be a lot of fun.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Worms: Open Warfare 2 Content

Worms: Open Warfare 2 Preview
19 Aug, 2007 We catch Worms.
Worms wriggling to handhelds again
04 Apr, 2007 PSP and DS follow-ups just three months away.
Worms franchise coming to the Wii
03 Sep, 2007 The invertebrate combat continues.
1 Comment
6 years ago
Agree with this review, from playing the demo, it is better than the original, and fun, but can be annoying nonetheless.
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    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  30/08/2007 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $59.95 AU
Year Made:

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