Review by lce_

"Confirmation that worms are just as efficient in war as humans."

I never played a Worms game before this. Not even Armageddon. The closest experience I've ever had with a game similar to Worms would be Gunbound, but Worms: Open Warfare 2 is my first Worms game, so what do I think of it?

Worms is basically a turn based strategy game. You'll have a team of four worms up against up to 3 more teams, and you're pretty much waging an all out worm war. The worms are more deadly than they appear of course. They'll be armed with well known weapons like shotguns and Uzis, to wtfs such as sheep and bananas, and they're more dangerous than they sound, trust me. You'll take turns, moving your worms around one at a time, taking aim, and launching whatever weapon to animal you've selected. Items like a teleporter, a rope, and a jetpack also make moving your worms around the map easier.

If you have no clue about any of this, never fear. As soon as you turn on the game, you're thrown in to a tutorial (that you can skip if you already have some experience with the game), and you can customize your army of worms. Customization ranges from things like a team name and names for each from, to the colour of your worms, and even what grave will appear once they kick the bucket. There are even a number of speech samples that give your worms accents, like Italian or Australian, and also some more interesting one such as US Sports and Double Oh Seven. You can also pick from a few preset flags for your team, or create your own. Hell, you can even chose from a variety of victory dances.

Customization doesn't stop there though. There are a few other things to do as well. First off is a Scheme editor. Basically, you can create different sets of custom rules and settings that you can use in a match. You can set the number of rounds, the time limit, weather or not you want to make the land indestructible, if you want special events like earthquakes, if you want health drops, how many of each weapon you get and more. If you want a match where your only option is to prod worms until they die, then go right on ahead and make one. You can use these schemes in custom matches and multiplayer matches as long as you're playing with someone else who has the game.

Next up is a full blown, fully customizable level editor, which happens to make great use of the DS touch screen. You'll use the stylus to draw land on the screen. There's an eraser tool, a pencil tool, a fill tool, and a few different stroke sizes so you can make the ground as thin or thick as you want it to be. You can also place items around like mines and explosive barrels anywhere you feel like. You can also choose the spawn points of the worms, as well as the general location of the stage, from a war setting, to outer space. You can make some really rediculous levels that require no strategy, such as one small hole filled with as many worms and mines possible, to mazes and caverns that require tricky maneuvering to get around. Like the schemes, you can later use these levels in custom matches, or even in multiplayer matches, although again, you'll need to be playing with someone else who has the game for the latter.

If those alone don't give the game enough replay, there are a variety of modes in the game to play as well. First off, the single player. There are a few modes you can play by yourself. First off is Quick Game, which slaps you in a randomly generated level with randomly generated teams. Next is Custom Game, where you can use your custom teams, levels, and schemes and set up a match against a computer.

Last, there's a mode actually titled Single Player. Within that is a handful of modes. First off is Puzzle. Puzzle mode puts you in a stage and gives you a certain objective to accomplish, from simply jumping to an exit platforming style, to killing worms with certain restrictions. Next is Laboratory, which is a set of stages that use the DS functionality such as using a parachute and going through an entire level without landing by blowing into the mic to gain height. Next is the Campaign. It's basically standard Worms gameplay. You'll go through sets of levels defeating the enemy, with a silly story. You won't be using your custom team here, though, but preset teams of worms. The computer seems to have near perfect aim, but otherwise, the difficulty ramps up pretty well. There are a few instances where a small rule will be in place, like you having to attack the enemy at close range. It adds a sort of variety to the campaign, and gives it a bit more challenge.

As you play through these, you'll get money, which you can use to purchase things in the shop, such as new worm colours, victory dances, weapons, and more. You'll can also purchase additional missions to play in the campaign mode.

But of course, the main attraction is the multiplayer mode. Multiplayer in Worms: Open Warfare 2 consists of Single-Card Play, Multi-Card Play, and Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Single-Card play starts a match with a randomly generated landscape and two basic teams. It's fine, but you'll need both players to have the game to get the best out of local multiplayer. Also, the game seems to desynchronize sometimes. What you're doing on your screen may not be what your opponent is seeing on their screen, and vice versa. This doesn't happen frequently, but it's kind of annoying when it does.

Multi-Card play allows you to take advantage of the customization possible in the game. You can use your custom teams, schemes, and levels, or select from a few preset level types, such as single island or square caves, although the levels themselves will be randomly generated.

When playing online, there are a few different options. Random matches are simple matches that pair you up against another player. Ranked matches count towards a record that goes on a leaderboard. There are also friend matches, which work just like matches played in Multi-Card play. You can also do rival matches. You can add rivals after a Wi-Fi connection match. The online play works well, and is generally lag free. The only real downside is that you may wind up against a disconnector. You could have your Holy Hand grenade ready, but your opponent will leave the game. Granted, this isn't a problem with the game, but it sucks that there are people out there who can't take a loss.

Worms also looks good and sounds good. The visuals are clean and 2D, paired with some nice looking 3D backgrounds, and everything animates nice with no lag at all, apart from the rare occasion online. Music sounds great as well, with some nice, decently catchy background tunes that fit the game perfectly, and never gets annoying or repetitive. The worms voices sound great and high pitched, explosions sound like explosions, falling into water makes a splash, and it's all really great and fits with the game.

Pros
+Tons of customization
+Excellent level editor
+Scheme customization
+Tons of stuff to buy in the shop
+Good single player
+Amazing multiplayer
+Great online play
+Leaderboards
+Confirms that worms are just as efficient in war as humans

Cons
-Single-Card play is limited
-Single-Card play can desynchronize
-Occasional lag online

Overall - 9/10

So, what do I think of Worms: Open Warfare 2? It's great. A very enjoyable game for the DS. Loads of customization options, and excellent multiplayer and online, some of the best on the system in fact. If you're a Worms fan, I think you should definitely get this. If you're not a Worms fan, this is probably a great place to start.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/05/07

Game Release: Worms: Open Warfare 2 (US, 09/04/07)


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