Date: 01-18-2011 00:01
Author: Jesse Dietderich

PDC profile: Jesse

Worms, the series, has been around for over a decade and a half. Even though the development team knew they had a great game from the start, they have found it difficult to keep the series fresh. Let's see if they were successful with their most recent PSP release.

I Got Worms!
This probably doesn't come to a surprise, but I think this is probably the fourth or fifth Worms game that I've owned, yet it is my very first portable version. While I'm going to attempt to keep the review focused on the title as it stands by itself, I will need to compare it to previous titles that I have experienced on both the PC and other consoles.

My Worms are Armed and Dangerous!




Worms: Battle Islands continues the time honored tradition of arming your armless, footless, and angry little worms with some serious fire power, to take down your enemies before they have a chance to take your team out. The classic weapons are back with the likes of the Bazooka, Shotgun, Dynamite, Ninja Rope, etc. However, not all the weapons find their way back. I've never understood the reasoning of the developers for why they remove certain weapons. Some of them might be unbalanced, but if both teams have access then it should be somewhat fair. All I want is my Super Banana Bombs back and I'll stop complaining.

Team 17 attempt to make the game more challenging by limiting the number of some weapons and utilities for each of the stages. While I enjoy the challenge, I can't help but feel very restricted as I play through the campaign. It really limits people who aren't extremely good with the Bazooka or the Grenades. I found myself having to play stages multiple times, because the effective weapons I was comfortable using were in short supply. Yet on those stages the AI of my opponents were able to snipe me from across the stage with Bazooka shells shot into the wind to curve back around. The fact that they never need practice shots and nail you in their first try really makes me believe the curve that this game has is too steep for many, especially those who have never played a Worms game previously.

One of the few things that they did add to this version of Worms, is the ability to build your own weapons. If you obtain the weapon crates that are scattered across each stage, you get blueprints that unlock better/stronger abilities for the weapons you make. However, the whole time you are progressing through the game the weapons tend to be weaker versions of weapons that already exist. They likely won't become substantial until you beat the entire campaign, yet at that point you are depending on the replayability of gathering all the collectible hats and voices. Allow me to address why that definitely won't be the case for me.

The Worms Need to go Back to School!
Well, even after playing entirely through every other Worms title up to this point and enjoying them, this one feels as if it is beneath me. The difficulty combined with a few other issues ruined the fun for me. The need to collect packages on a stage to build your own weapons was fun, but annoying as they would always place the package in the same place, and sometimes that would require you to sacrifice one of your Worms in order to get it. This didn't pose too much of an issue until later stages where you'd have a team of 3 worms against two opposing teams with 3 worms each, which effectively left you out numbered and out gunned. The music has never been amazing but it seemed even more forgettable this time around. The weapons and game mechanics seemed to be identical to previous Worms titles, which makes sense that they'd bring stuff over that wasn't broken. Where I feel the game ultimately suffered was with the graphics. I am sure they reused many sprites from their other games and I felt that the worms, their weapons, and other items all looked great, just as I remember them being. The failure comes from the terrain however, which seemed overly pixelated compared to the rest of the game's quality. The game menus were fairly difficult to navigate, seeming overly cryptic at times due to too many options or vague navigation directions. I really feel as if they dropped the ball here and just rushed the game out when it could have been given a bit more polish.

Every Worm Has His Day!
I really can't express how much I enjoy playing Worms games. They have been one of my favourite game series for a long time, and I don't ever recall the game looking this bad. It would seem in an attempt to save on resources to make sure the game would run smoother, they simplified the terrain too much. I think if you can get over the game's cosmetics and you want a challenging Worms title that will give you plenty of extra stuff to do, you will likely enjoy this game. Some of the extras I didn't really touch on would be the local and online multiplayer against friends, playing skirmishes against the computer, and even creating your own battle fields. This game does pack in a whole bunch of potential. I advise anyone who is considering this game to try the PS Store demos that are available before making your final decision.

Developed by Team17, Worms: Battle Islands can be found in the North American and European PlayStation Stores. This turn-based strategy weighs in at only 87mb and supports up to 4 person multiplayer. I put in 4 hours into the campaign mode getting through half of the islands before waving my white flag.


6/10
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