Review: Worms Battlegrounds (PS4)

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Title: Worms Battlegrounds
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (2.1 GB)
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Team 17 Software Ltd.
Developer: Team 17 Digital Ltd.
Original MSRP: $24.99 (US), €24.99 (EU), £19.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 12
Worms Battlegrounds is also available on Xbox One.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Worms Battlegrounds is the latest in the Worms series that spans almost twenty years and began life on the Amiga. A small version of the game was originally created by Andy Davidson and later developed into a full title and published by Team 17. After many sequels on almost every gaming platform imaginable it’s now on the PlayStation 4.

Gameplay:
One thing that I thought impossible has come to fruition and that’s a full-blown story for a Worms game. It’s surprisingly good, partly due to the funny script but mostly due to the excellent voice talent introducing each level.

The core design and gameplay has never altered that much during its long history and that’s fine with me as it worked back then and it still does today, for the most part anyway (more on that a little later). The single player story mode spans twenty-five levels that vary the type of mission and the amount of worms you have at your disposal. Most levels have you dispatching other A.I. worms using a wide array of weaponry and tools. If you have ever played a worms game before you’ll know that some of these are funny, deadly, and quite often require some skill to kill the enemy without hurting your own team or wasting a turn.

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I have to mention the brilliance of the weaponry at your fingertips. A perfectly timed water pistol spray that sends your enemy careening off the edge of the level to a watery death or a bazooka shot across the entire level and hitting your foe square in their little pink body is extremely satisfying. On several occasions I’ve accidentally killed my own worms by mistiming a rocket or drowning them from a poorly thought out jump. This kind of thing usually sparks a fit of laughter from the other people in the room. This dynamic is why I’ve always felt the best way of playing a Worms game is with other people.

Getting a group of friends or family round and setting up a versus match is where the beauty of this game truly lies. If truth be told I struggled to play the single player mode as the only thing keeping me from ignoring it completely was the voice talent. You are able to customize every single thing in this game, right down to your worm names, look, type, and even gravestone. Team 17 have even created a competent level editor complete with drawing and dynamic objects.

If you’re a newcomer to the worms games don’t fret. The developers had the foresight to include Worm Ops, a mode specially designed to teach you about all the different weapons and tools at your disposal. You can also try to complete each mission in the quickest time possible and aim for the top of the leaderboards.

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Visuals:
A soft focus multi-layered background warmly hugs the vibrant side view 3D stage like a soft embrace from an old friend. With several different themes and cute little animated worms this looks good on the PlayStation 4 but doesn’t push the hardware in any way. This series has never been about its graphical prowess but the gameplay. You’ll encounter various dynamic objects and liquids that react somewhat realistically and quite often are the cause of your little pink worm’s demise.

Audio:
The brilliant Katherine Parkinson, star of The IT Crowd, introduces the game and narrates the amusing story mode. Her whimsical tales and remarks are more than enough to pull you through the story. Add some funny sound effects and cute little worm voices and it all becomes a delight to the ears.

A nice little feature is that your worm’s speech comes through the controller as well as the television. It isn’t continuous and works well. There is also some nice background music that changes depending on the theme of the level.

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Online/Multiplayer:
This game is best played with friends. With two to four-player co-op fun and a highly addictive versus mode that kept me coming back for more and on one occasion even had the father-in-law try a few rounds. You can pick a theme and level layout, even adjust the amount of dynamic objects, or just pick a random level and play. Your team spawns in random location on the map and you take turns to kick some worm butt. It’s all still just as much fun as the first time I played a Worms game and we always have a good laugh at the expense of the poor little worms.

There is a Battlegrounds mode which is a massive league mode that’s very customizable. You can also play a ranked or friendly online match or jump into a quick game if you prefer. There weren’t that many players online each time I checked, which is a shame as this game works well online.

Conclusion:
Worms Battlegrounds is like an old childhood friend that you bump into on the street. Whilst you run through the obligatory catch-up banter you slowly realize that while your tastes and likes have grown and changed over the years, your friend has sadly stayed the same apart from a bit of plastic surgery and some new clothes.

Your Wormy old friend is still just as fun and easy-going as you remember and just like the good old days, can still become the center of social gatherings making everyone laugh. However the novelty quickly wears off when the party ends and everyone goes home and you’re left with that awkward moment when you realize they are here to stay.

In summary, Worms Battlegrounds is a great version of a classic multiplayer game that desperately cries out for a group of people to play it as the single player game only has the brilliant voice talent that kept me from ignoring it completely.

Score:
7.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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