Did you know that Worms
was originally released back in 1995? Developer Team 17 is celebrating 17 years of Worms this year, which lends the release of Worms: Revolution
a certain bit of gravitas. After stumbling with the XBLA version of Worms: Ultimate Mayhem
, which we'll be talking about further down this review, Team 17 has rebounded by bringing the Worms franchise back into the second dimension, with a revamped physics engine, new weapons, new tools, new accessories and four varieties of worms.
Let's start off with the good, which is clearly the move back to the well-animated 2D look of the original games but with 3D models. Oddly enough, the result is similar to the graphical upgrade of Street Fighter IV
over Street Fighter EX
. Animated backgrounds add to the visual appeal and yet they do not distract from the explosions, which as always, have a satisfying weight to them and you can "feel" the damage done by a simple bazooka round.
Using the term "a simple bazooka round" says a lot about the weapon variety of Worms: Revolution
which has even more ways to blow up your enemies then ever before. Series standbys, such as the Banana Bomb, Sheep and Holy Hand Grenade return alongside new weapons: Super Sheep (they can fly!), Bunker Busters, my second favorite new weapon Boggy B (a trained commando worm that breaks the 2D plane, shooting *into* the battlefield) and my favorite of the new weapons, a concrete donkey statue.
Alright, the concrete donkey statue, or "Heavy Ass" as it shall now be called, is not really my favorite new weapon. Water is my favorite new weapon. No, not the standard layer of water at the bottom of every Worms
map since 1995, but the new, physics-based water which can be found all over the new maps. Now you can blast open pockets of water and cause a flood that will shove worms around, opening up a whole new layer of warfare. Flush multiple worms into a valley and create a kill-zone or just wash them away and watch them slowly drown. No water on the map? No problem, create your own using the short range water pistol, the water bomb (it's a grenade which explodes....with water!) or call in an air strike that drops five water bombs on the poor, unsuspecting, dry target.
Without actually playing the game, it's easy to understimate what a difference the addition of flowing water makes to the classic, old enough to be visiting colleges gameplay. Just as new, but with less of an immediate impact are three classes of physics objects. These items, some of which poison worms nearby when they are inevitably exploded or release a torrent of water, reward careful shots and thinking a few moves ahead of your opponent. New utility items, telekinesis and the UFO can even pick up these objects and relocate them on the battlefield. During my play time with Worms: Revolution
I was only able to stratch the surface of the potential these new battleground hazards can have in re-shaping warfare.
The single-player campaign has also been revamped this time around, consisting of 8 "tutorial" levels before introducing you to the beach and letting your outgunned, outmanned, four-man team of worms blast through 7 stages to reach a boss fight. Beyond the tutorial, there's 24 levels to the campaign, narrated by the Matthew Berry voiced Don Keystone, a wildlife documentarian. In addition, there is also a puzzle mode, which gives you limited weapons to try and finish each level. These levels of course, start out really easy but they quickly reached the "my brain hurts" level of difficulty.
While there's a lot of single-player content, I was annoyed when the AI would alternate from "push-over" mode to "No E'ffing Way Are You Winning This Match" mode. Fortunlately, there's a ton of multiplayer options available to you. Worms
has always been a great game for local gaming, and Worms: Revolution
gives you the ability to customize almost everything for a local Vs. match. Want each team to have 9 Heavy Asses? Sure! 9 airstrikes? Sure! Nothing but sheep? Sure!
I had a lot of fun playing the game locally with friends, both deathmatch and the forts mode, which gives each team a fort and a small moat between them. With regards to the online multiplayer, as this review was conducted with pre-release code, I was not able to find anyone else online to play against no matter what time of day I made the attempt.
At least I can say without a doubt, that when you play online, it will be easy to tell your team apart from everyone else's crew of worms. There is an impressive amount of customiation options you can unlock through regular gameplay, including accessories (my team is sporting bright red handlebar mustaches like Yosemite Sam), gravestones, dance moves (alas, Gangam Style is hard to do when you have no legs), voices and even the actual worms that make up your team. Class-based warfare has come to the Worms
Your team can now consist of Soldiers (the basic work), Heavies (bigger, slower worms with more health), Scouts (really fast, can jump further and higher) and Scientists (restores 5 HP to your whole team each turn, enhanced utility items). You unlock more worms by purchasing them with coins earned from completing matches. Which is good, as you will be playing a lot of matches if you want the full 400 Gamerscore.
Oh yes, the achievement list for Worms: Revolution
is going to be a bit of a grind. Not only do you have to complete every single-player mission, both campaign and puzzle, but you need to go online. Killing 10 worms of each class shouldn't be too bad, but killing 300 worms online, even with boosting, will take you some time. After that, keep on killing, as the bodycount needs to reach 1,000 dead worms for another achievement. Setting up local matches for boosting purposes is easy and only requires one controller, so the list isn't difficult, as much as it is time-consuming and again, there's no in-game achievement counter. Can we somehow get every developer to start including ways to track your achievement progress?
Here's the part where I need to discuss last year's Worms: Ultimate Mayhem
for a moment. The reason the shadow of last year's release hangs over Worms: Revolution
is because Worms: Ultimate Mayhem
has an unobtainable achievement. Now, I know there's some of you out there will cry bloody murder over this and the fact that Team 17 never fixed it. That's fine, but at the moment, I have no information regarding an unobtainable achievement in Worms: Revolution
If someone wishes to spend 1200 MSP on Worms: Revolution
, they have every right to do so and enjoy the re-vamped warfare, brand new graphics engine and wealth of customization options coupled with great local multiplayer. I do not want to see anyone making any negative remarks regarding the personal purchasing decisions of others. If you want to boycott because of an unobtainable achievement in a previous title, go right ahead. If you want to take partake in the latest iteriation of Worms
warfare, go right ahead. Worms: Revolution
may not have total revolutionized the gameplay, but it added enough to be a great addition to the franchise and a clear step forward. Customization options, new weapons, interesting new physics-based options and in particular, the use of water move this game from the realm of simple, cash-in rehash to innovative and hopefully a sign of new life for Worms
. It's not perfect, but it's very good and for every moment of frustration with the AI, there was a moment of "THAT WAS AN AMAZING SHOT!" to provide some emotional counterbalance to my experience.
If you liked the early Worms
titles and have friends either online or locally to play against, Worms: Revolutions
would be well worth your 1200 MSP. As a pure single-player experience, it doesn't quite hold up as well. Team 17 is planning the release of four DLC packs, adding a new envionrment in each alongside new customization items and new weapons. The date and prices for these packs is currently unknown, but there's enough content in the base game to keep you busy for awhile. The reviewer spent 4 hours playing local multiplayer, experiencing all the modes and spent 8 hours playing the single-player content, reaching at least the halfway mark in both modes.The reviewer (Me) has been informed some weapons are actually old holdovers. While this dampens the uniqueness of them, they were super-fun to use and the enthuasism expressed in the review remains relevant. I apologize for the confusion on my end.