Worms Battlegrounds Review: Worms for a new generation
Another generation of consoles has begun and it hasn’t taken Team 17 long to get a Worms title out for the new consoles. While Worms is always a fun series, is it worth your next-gen gaming time with its simple but enjoyable strategy based combat? Worms Battlegrounds is a good addition to any PS4 owners library even if it lacks much to make it look or feel like a game running on new hardware.
I don’t think I have to explain the mechanics of the Worms franchise to most of you but for the uninitiated the series pits players against enemies in turn based battles while imploring a heavy dose of humor. Usually most matches require you to eliminate all enemy worms and battles can get pretty intense as you have a limited amount of time to plot your course of action. The class system from Worms Revolution is back and long-time fans will either love or hate that aspect of the game. I’ve personally always dug the different Worms classes myself since it adds some variety to each turn.
What makes Worms so much fun is the whole risk vs reward mechanic. Do you spend most of your turn going for an item box? Should you approach an enemy for a close range attack that does more damage and leave yourself open or try to take them from afar over time? This is why the Worms franchise has stayed so popular over the past 19 years despite becoming a bit stagnant in terms of creativity with recent installments.
Team 17 puts the Dual Shock 4 to good use by having Worms voices come through on the controllers speaker. The touch pad can be used to navigate menus which is a nice touch.
Worms Battlegrounds is essentially last year’s PC game Worms Clan Wars with a different name. 4 players can battle online or locally and there are some decent timed missions to play through with Worms Ops. The story mode features the superb voice work of Katherine Parkinson, popular from the comedy show The IT Crowd. Her voice work is a breath of fresh air from the silly lines you’ll hear the Worms repeat. Parkinson’s inclusion is a nice touch and it appears that Team 17 has some sort of love affair with former IT Crowd actors since Matt Berry also did voice work for the franchise in the past. Parkinson livens up the game’s forgettable story and makes some jokes that would normally be gratingly childish more tolerable.
The writing isn’t going to blow you away but you’ll laugh from time to time playing Worms Battlegrounds. Be it with some sort of clever line of dialogue voiced by Parkinson or due to the wacky nature of gameplay, Battlegrounds is hard to not like. It won’t blow you away with visuals even if the PS4 version performs much better than 2012’s Worms Revolution. I experienced a few game crashes but overall the game performed well with very few technical issues to speak of other than that.
Battlegrounds won’t impress you whatsoever with graphics. That probably sounds unfair considering this is a Worms game after all. Worms is usually pretty simple and this is a retread of last year’s Clan Wars so the art style being a bit uninspired can be easily overlooked. Hopefully the next Worms game Team 17 makes for the new consoles sports some changes in the art direction to make it stand out more visually.
The gameplay is as much fun as you expect. Worms is a fantastic party game that every gamer should own on their device of choice. There are dozens of weapons in your arsenal and the environmental puzzles in each match can be leveraged to your advantage, adding an extra layer of strategy to the combat. There isn’t much in Worms Battlegrounds that will change up the core gameplay for Worms veterans so they will have to debate whether this game is worth their money but Battlegrounds is an easy recommendation for players who don’t have much experience with the series.
Worms Battlegrounds doesn’t re-invent the franchise but faulting it for not doing so feels a bit unfair. Its a must-have party game all new console owners should have though admittedly I hope future Worms games mix things up a bit more with mechanics and art style. It’s a tough sell at $20+ but if you really get into the traditional Worms gameplay it will more than make up for the sticker shock. Downloadable Worms games have always delivered value that was greater than their actual price tag only now Team 17 is asking for a bit more and its hard to fault them for that.
Worms Battlegrounds has some superb voice work and is a fun game that every Xbox One or PS4 owner should have ready for the next time they have friends over. It doesn't really add much to what makes Worms so much fun in the first place and lacks creativity but its enjoyable enough to overlook the lack of series progression. PS4 Review copy provided by Team 17.