Worms Battlegrounds Review

By Lexley Ford,
Worms has been a mainstay of the video game world since it first hit the stage back in 1995. With the dawn of a new generation of consoles, the worms have returned in their newest title, Worms Battlegrounds Achievements on the Xbox One.

The extra power of the Xbox One isn’t greatly noticeable, images are sharp and the sounds are crisp but any improvements over previous titles are hardly anything spectacular, though the game still retains the charm that the series is known for.

Gameplay is unchanged from previous Worms titles and is nothing more than using the tools at your disposal to blow away the opposing team. Of course Worms Battlegrounds features a massive arsenal of weapons that includes many of the franchises most iconic weapons including the Old Woman, Holy Hand Grenade and Concrete Donkey alongside some of the new physics based weapons introduced in Worms: Revolution Achievements, namely the Water Pistol and Water Bombs. Despite the number of weapons at players' finger tips, it still isn’t a complete arsenal as some weapons from earlier games such as the Ferrets, Homing Pigeon and Mail Strike aren’t present. Even so, there are still a large number of tactical options open to explore.

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Alongside the plethora of weapons is an equally large number of utilities that can be used to gain the upper hand in the heat of battle. Old favourites such the Jet Pack and Ninja Rope return alongside a few new items like the Teleport Gun. Unfortunately, the Ninja Rope, which was once one of the most versatile pieces of equipment available and could be used to traverse the entire map as easily as Spider-Man navigates the New York skyline, continues to be plagued with poor controls and is now best used to only cover short distances.

All of these weapons and utilities are introduced through the game’s substantial single player campaign, however despite its length, this campaign is more akin to a drawn out tutorial. The story follows a character named Tara Pinkle, a member of the Guild of Historic Hooligans, who serves as the game's narrator and provides our intrepid worms with the missions they need to carry out in order to thwart the plans of Lord Crowley-Messer, a failed stage hypnotist that has got his hands on an ancient worm artifact known as The Stone Carrot. If all this seems a little confusing, that’s because it is, but it does provide some narrative as well as an added air of comedy to a franchise that has never taken itself seriously.

Players are tasked with navigating a series of maps, dispatching a team of enemy worms while completing a series of secondary objectives such as collecting crates or activating switches scattered across the terrain. Checkpoints are also placed strategically across these maps so that if a horrific miscalculation is made with a grenade that results in the death of your own team, or an enemy worm pulls off the most spectacular, albeit lucky, shot with a bazooka, all that progress isn’t completely wasted. Its twenty-five missions make it a substantial mode that will eat up a fair amount of time but isn’t likely to hold your attention as much as some of the other modes available.

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Alongside the main story is Worm Ops, a selection of ten challenge missions that task players with dispatching a group of enemy worms using specific weapons and utilities as quickly as possible. Not only are these mission challenging but they act as training missions, teaching players how best to use the items at their disposal and helping them to become more proficient with them.

As with previous titles in the franchise, Worms Battlegrounds is at its best when going head-to-head with actual people rather than the game’s often moronic AI. Whether it is sitting on a couch with three of your closest friends or going online to battle with Worms fans across the world, Worms Battlegrounds still delivers the carnage and fun expected from the series. The strategic gameplay still demands a high level of precision which can lead to moments of frustration as you miss time a swing with the Ninja Rope causing your worm to tumble down a rock face into the water below, or moments of pure joy as the grenade you have thrown perfectly bounces of four different surfaces, reaches its intended target, explodes and sends the enemy worm into a waiting mine.

The customisation elements we expect from a Worms title are ever present and allow you to dress up your team of worms in a variety of different hats, moustaches and masks with additional customisation items becoming available as you progress through the game’s story mode. A large selection of different voices are also available, each one unique and full of memorable phrases, thankfully if you do get bored of hearing the same things over and over again there are plenty of other voices to choose from.

Worms Battlegrounds also gives you the opportunity to create your own clan, design an emblem and invite other players to join. Clans can then take part in friendly matches against other clans, compete in leagues, earn points and level up.

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Something that may surprise many is the fact that a level editor makes an appearance in a console version allowing the creative minds among the community to dream up crazy environments to take online. One of the more memorable user created maps I came across was a mass of floating platforms that looked much like an asteroid belt and when played with a team of Heavy worms with nothing more than an unlimited supply of Jet Packs and shotgun shells the battle became a highly entertaining, if not slow moving, game of chess.

The twenty-nine achievements required for completion are varied but nothing spectacular. You’ll be required to play through the entire campaign, complete Worms Ops, and generally play a large portion of multiplayer games online with a few thrown in for dispatching your enemies in specific ways and exploring the various customisation options. One of the toughest achievements though requires all ten of the game’s Worms Ops missions to be completed in a cumulative time of eight minutes, adding a massive time constraint to an already tricky set of challenges.

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The Worms formula hasn’t changed since its conception almost twenty years ago and while each iteration makes some minor changes, for good or bad, its heart remains the same. Worms Battlegrounds continues this trend with a solid performance that brings very little new to the table but still manages to deliver an enjoyable experience. Fans of the series should enjoy the game as a whole but may find the lack of anything new to be disappointing. The single player campaign does allow for a change of pace when the multiplayer carnage becomes too much to handle, though it may not be enough to convince non Worms fans to pick up the title.

The reviewer spent approximately fourteen hours playing through game's story, attempting various Worm Ops missions and destroying worms in a varied number of ways, unlocking seventeen out of a possible twenty-nine achievements. The Xbox One copy of the game was provided courtesy of the publisher.
Lexley Ford
Written by Lexley Ford
Lex has been gaming for nearly three decades and has been a Newshound for TrueAchievements since 2011. When he’s not writing news he can normally be found immersing himself in a good story, both written and in-game, or just blowing stuff up (only in games).