Worms: Open Warfare 2 (PSP) review
"Basically, Worms plays like Lemmings would if the goal was to kill things with exploding fruit instead of to reach an exit. Each team gets a preset amount of time to maneuver his worm into position to strike at an enemy unit, and then the roles reverse. It's not just the opposing forces that you struggle against, however. The terrain itself is full of obstacles that need to be dealt with, but the actual method of dealing is quite open ended. Trickshots that involve ping-ponging grenades off of multiple surfaces and into the lap of a hostile worm are quite satisfying, but not the only choice."
In yet another installment of a long running series, Worms: Open Warfare 2 delves ever further into the secretive life of the noble worm. Worms are a deceptive breed of animal. Sure, they seem innocent enough as they wriggle through the dirt, underfoot and out of sight. They aren't often thought of unless you're a fan of fishing, and in that case their natural weakness to water is being constantly exploited. But what are they really like?
Bazooka-brandishing sheep-bombing maniacs would be a...strange answer, but it's precisely the one that Team17 is seeking to give. They paint a picture of society wherein everyone is a festering pool of ire against their fellow worm. The fires of inherent blood lust are only fanned by the constant sprinkling of weapons from the sky. Crates full of explosive bananas fall from above amidst a storm of more conventional weaponry...
The premise alone should be enough to at least catch nearly anyone's attention. It's goofy to be sure, and the game thrives in the unusual atmosphere it sets for itself. However goof is not the only thing to be found among our subterranean warriors.
Basically, Worms plays like Lemmings would if the goal was to kill things with exploding fruit instead of to reach an exit. Each team gets a preset amount of time to maneuver his worm into position to strike at an enemy unit, and then the roles reverse. It's not just the opposing forces that you struggle against, however. The terrain itself is full of obstacles that need to be dealt with, but the actual method of dealing is quite open ended. Trickshots that involve ping-ponging grenades off of multiple surfaces and into the lap of a hostile worm are quite satisfying, but not the only choice.
All of the terrain can be cut/dug/blasted through. Digging an elaborate tunnel to pop up beneath your foes is a viable strategy, though one that can easily backfire on you when they dig into your tunnel and fill it full of self-destructing buffalo. Climbing is another option that needs to be handled with care. Ninja ropes and jetpacks are handy options for soaring over the random boot in your way, but you risk the premature end of your turn at the hands of a few measly points of fall damage.
Anyone who's played any of the previous entries in the series will notice an immediate similarity to...all of the other games. Worms is by no means a new series, and there's nothing particularly new about the gameplay in Open Warfare 2. Those who did not like older titles for gameplay reasons will want to skip this game. It does not reinvent the series, instead it leaves what works alone, and adds to it new things that also work.
Have you ever wanted to raise an army of zombie worms with the lightning out of Frankenstein? Who hasn't? The fact that your opponents can raise their dead allies to new life makes kills by drowning more attractive whenever possible, changing the dynamics of any game with that weapon.
But while new weapons are great, they don't revitalize a series alone, but when they're coupled with some of the best use of wi-fi on the PSP, things look oh so sweet. Handheld multiplayer awaits you from anywhere with internet access. Worms was made for this as well, being the kind of game that is designed to move quickly. Bigger strategy titles boast match lengths that can be measured in hours, but a game of Worms will seldom exceed ten minutes. About the time it takes for the bus to arrive.
In addition to the multiplayer, content patches keep the single player interesting by adding new puzzles to play. These short sequences give the solo worm a chance to test his mettle against any number of challenges. From target shooting to platforming, it runs the gamut of necessary battle skills, and can often push you into the realm of frustration at the higher difficulties.
At its very core, Worms: Open Warfare 2 is a simple game. It's entertaining, but not overbearing. It's small, but not insignificant. The game keeps an aging license fresh enough to be worth a purchase. It provides a slew of gameplay options, and is basically a portrait of what all portable games should be. Playable for a short time, but fun for a long time.
Freelance review by Josh Higley (October 05, 2007)
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