As a series, Worms is now 19 years old (so we expect an anniversary edition next year!) and has seen a huge number of new releases and spin-offs. But it seems that the each new one offers very little new to push the series further.
That is pretty much the case with Worms Battlegrounds, retaining the tried and tested 2D turn based tactical battle mechanics of the 1995 release. It also seems to cherry pick some elements from many of the recent releases, such as clans from Clan Wars and the classes introduced in Revolution.
The point of the game is still to go into a level and destroy the opposing team, using an ever increasing selection of weapons. In Battlegrounds there are over 60 to choose from and we must admit, the sheer volume of weapons on offer is starting to feel a little bit like overkill. More often than not, you’ll find yourself using the same over and over, finding a few that best fit your own strategy.
As with most recent versions of the game, there is a dedicated single player mode, along with the various multiplayer options. In Battlegrounds the is a story of sorts designed to push you through the numerous levels. however, this feels a tad annoying, with the female narrator grating rather quickly.
It is a shame, as the progression of the story mode does a decent job of introducing new players to the game’s mechanics. Veterans of the series will maybe find the single player tedious and want to jump straight into the multiplayer.
Thanks to the introduction of online over the past few years, Worms can be played online and runs pretty well, again retaining the usual formula of games of old. Up to four players can take part in a battle, with modes split across just the two variations. Deathmatch, which has the usual setup, with your various team members spread randomly across the map.
Forts is pretty much the same set up, but each of your worms start in a home base and if we are being honest, we much prefer the original setup of Deathmatch, as it can take a long time for any real action to get going in forts mode.
You’ll likely want to use the clans feature to try and get regular games with people you know, because as per usual the AI isn’t the greatest and does feel like you are just going through the motions. That is because Worms is at its best when played with other people. Because people make real people mistakes, will do something out of the ordinary and well, it is always better to beat a real person than it is an arbitrary AI opponent.
Where the game still shines though is local multiplayer. This is where the game was born and where it is best. Thanks to remote play, you can play with a mix of Dual Shock and Vita and the game does translate really well to the small screen and let us not kid around here, giving some verbal abuse to someone in the same room when you destroy their Worms with a sheep will never get old.
As much as the basic game is as you will remember, the best addition to the recent entries in the series is classes, as these allow you to set up a team to your own strategies. The various classes offer what you’d expect, with some being better for attacking, others that can take more damage, that sort of thing. This is where the single player can come in handy, as you work out your strategies and test your team setups without having to test and lose online.
As usual with Worms, there are a ton of customisation options, from the usual changing of Worm names, team names and dressing up your characters. It does enough for you to give your team the personal touch. This extends to clans also, allowing you to customise a clan logo, create messages to send to other clans and try to create a rivalry online.
If you are new to the Worms series, or if you have done away with any of your previous generation consoles, then Battlegrounds is a great place to start, or update to. However, if you are still playing older iterations, it doesn’t really offer enough to warrant you moving on.
Worms has a visual style that has pretty much stood the test of time and again will be instantly recognisable. It has had some nice visual upgrades over the years, but it never really looks like it is testing the hardware it features on and it is the same here with the PS4 release, it is simply a nice looking game, nothing more, nothing less.
That said, it isn’t a bad game, it is Worms and it does what a Worms game does. However because the game has barely changed over the years, it is far from essential to get each new version. At £19.99 it does take the game from a impulse purchase to something you really need to think about. But fans who do buy it will not be disappointed, because if you love Worms, you’ll still love Worms.