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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Game Review - Worms:Open Warfare 2

More is good.

If the experience of my debut Worms game is anything to go by, I must say that Worms fully deserves to be recommended to everyone. From bottom to top, the latest iteration of Worms, Open Warfare 2, is a solid game providing tons of options, be it in the gameplay department, choice of maps or variety of weapons. Basically, Worms: Open Warfare 2 is a turn-based strategy cum platformer 2D game, but to see its confusing genre mix and merely dismiss it would be doing yourself a disservice. You will find out why soon enough.

For those of you who have never played any Worms game before, I will give you a quick introduction. As I mentioned earlier, Worms: Open Warfare 2 is a turn-based strategy game. You start out with your (combat) worms scattered throughout the landscape, which well, will have various platforms. At every turn, you and your opponents will be given a limited amount of time to select your weapon and attack your opponents. Being a platformer, the game also allows you to navigate obstacles by jumping across them to get closer to your opponents before unleashing your attacks. The concept hits the sweet spot and makes for some interesting gameplay. Don’t worry though – the game will enlighten you quickly enough with its handy tutorials the moment you start.

If you have been asking yourself on why there have not been many gameplay options in the games you played lately, Worms: Open Warfare 2 may just be the right material for you. Everything about this game screams options. The campaign mode essentially pushes you through different exciting environments and scenarios with its humorous story. Equally laughter-inducing cut scenes appear between each environment, making the campaign mode more fun-filled. And if you feel campaign mode isn’t your kind of stuff, there is also another progressive mode that is the puzzle mode. The levels in puzzle mode are more challenging, forcing you to work with limited or restricted weapons and equipments in order to score a win, be it parachuting to an exit point, standing on top of explosive barrels and shooting them to propel yourself sky-high or using boomerangs to build a long stairway. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but there is a ton of variety in the other objectives given as well. Or maybe if you just want a quick game to pass your tea break, the quick game and custom game options are also available. Still unsatisfied? Well, the exclusive DS mini-games should keep you occupied. These mini-games make full use of the DS’s unique functions like the touch-screen and microphone, but what’s more important is that they are totally enjoyable. Online multiplayer over local wireless play or Nintendo Wi-Fi connection is a boon too.

But it’s not just the gameplay modes which are enjoying this treatment. You see, as you progress through the levels of both the campaign mode and puzzle mode, credits will be earned and these can be used to buy bonuses like extra landscapes for maps, extra weapons, extra team flag designs, and so on and so forth. Choose to play a custom game, and the game will further enable you to customize the maps to a small extent. You can choose from a huge variety of landscapes types (for example: one flat piece of land or one with several platforms), landscape structures and environments. In fact, the choice of maps is endless. Customization of your teams is also possible with Worms: Open Warfare 2, and this goes as far as to change the name of each of your team members, as well as the flag design. Oh well, now, you have started playing a match, and another headache begins for the choice of your weapon. Missiles, grenades, Uzis, shotguns, dynamites, mines, and even wacky ones like a self-destruct sheep and a fire punch! Indeed, Worms: Open Warfare 2 is all about choices and this proves to be one of the game’s strong selling points.

On to the actual battlefield, the adorable voice acting for the worms attempts to grab your attention from the actual combat. Each environment also has its own matching piece of music that would make your ears dance. The graphics are another nice touch. 3D elements are seamlessly fused with 2D elements and certainly are they pleasing. Typically, the top screen is used to display an extended top view of the battlefield, but just hit select and the upper DS screen will turn into a tactical map. Another useful design choice here!

But despite the gargantuan amount of options, Worms: Open Warfare 2 is not without its shortcomings, albeit those that are only minor and can be easily overlooked. First-off, the game may get quite frustrating in some parts. Secondly, if you happen to choose the same map twice during a custom game, you will notice that the opponents will do EXACTLY the same thing as it did before the previous time you selected the same map for play. But their strategy will start to differ the moment your worms move into a different position from last time, so it’s only the beginning where your worms all start out at the pre-defined locations that gets affected.

Final Comments
With so many game modes available, jumping right into a game of Worms: Open Warfare 2 is anything but a simple affair. Even before entering the battlefield, be awestricken by the deep customization features and the sheer number of maps. On the battlefield itself, you will be spoilt for choice with the huge variety of weapons. The game goes on to provide you with several unlockable goodies that you can obtain with the credits earned. The voice acting and music are also spot-on. All in all, Worms: Open Warfare 2 is an all-round superb package.


The Good:
- Lots of game modes available
- Varying and interesting objectives
- Huge variety of maps
- Deep customization features
- Weapons galore!
- Several unlockable goodies
- Great voice acting and music
- Pleasing graphics

The Bad:
- Game may get frustrating in some parts
- A.I. opponents do exactly the same thing it did before in the beginning of the round if you happen to select the same map that you have already played previously


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