Back in July I brought you a preview of Worms W.M.D which if you haven’t already read it, then you might want to check it out which you can do by going here. Now I can bring you our XLC Gaming Network review as I have now played through the final build. Team17 certainly don’t use the title lightly as you really do have some powerful weapons of mass destruction. What I have experienced with Worms W.M.D is nothing short of spectacular. It falls back to proper old skool Worms yet has some well implemented game changing features that I never thought could fit into a title like this.
When I got my fighting boots on to take my Team of Horrors out to the battlefield once again the first thing to pop up was the Team17 25th Anniversary logo. I stopped to think, and that can be a dangerous thing, that it is quite amazing that a British gaming studio would ride out the storms of this tough industry and still be standing twenty-six years on. What’s even more amazing is that their number one franchise Worms is still going strong since its first appearance in 1995. I can fondly remember playing it on my Amiga 500 and then moving over to the PC. It was responsible for many a friendly feuds I can tell you. Fast forward to 2016 and Worms W.M.D manages to capture the good old fashioned titles that made Worms such addictively fun and yet brings in a couple of fresh ideas that are not out of place that changes the battlefield strategy.
Worms is first and foremost all about multiplayer, local or online. That said Team17 have for most titles provided an option for solo play. Over the years this has came in many forms from challenges to campaign type missions. In some cases this can be a hot or miss, but in Worms W.M.D they have really refined solo play and it feels the best yet. This year you have an XP bar you can level up and as you do you will unlock some extra features to customize your team with. This is a neat addition to solo play and gives you reason to go through the twenty training missions, thirty campaign missions, bonus missions and ten challenges. The training missions are a great place for new recruits but there are pro training missions for seasoned players. There was only one or two that had me slightly frustrated but that’s what it takes to be a pro.
When it comes to the campaign missions there are multiple bonus objectives which get increasingly difficult the more you advance. If you can’t do all bonus objectives in one run then replaying isn’t a hardship, and missions are fun to redo. The ten challenge levels are locked but as you play through the campaign you will be able to unlock them by collecting the wanted posters. The challenges will pit you against one Worm that you will have to kill in a very specific way. Those familiar with previous titles will know exactly how these challenges work. I have to say I really love the cut scenes during the campaign and resemble those from the earlier years in the franchise. Thanks to the All-Stars pre-order pack you will also get bonus missions and there is even one based around The Escapists game. As you would imagine this feature a prison which seems right at home on the Worms landscape. Team17 have certainly done a great job with the pre-order content with all the features on offer.
While Worms W.M.D calls back to the more classic style and gameplay that made Worms the franchise that is is, Team17 have perfectly implemented changes that will have you implementing all new strategies into you plans of Worms domination. Did someone just shout “Get to the Chopper”? For the first time in a Worms title Team17 now allow you to use vehicles to raise hell on the battlefield and boy is it fun doing it. There is quite a few on offer which include a tank, helicopter and even a Mech suit. If you pre-order the game (which I highly recommend) then you will get the All-Stars DLC which will include a Rocket League car, a flasher alternative to travelling from one island to the next. The helicopter is great for doing mass damage with the machine guns and the Mech Suit is a perfect alternative to the fire punch or the prod. Another new feature you will find laying around the landscape is gun turrets which take a few forms. You have sniper riffles, machine guns, mortars and flamethrowers.
The biggest change to the gameplay though comes in the form of crafting. Yes you read that right, you can now craft new and more powerful weapon variants. Now strictly speaking this isn’t new to the franchise as this was an experimental feature in a title for the Wii. However Team17 have really refined this and you will wonder why this feature didn’t exist in more titles. Before we delve in to the crafting of new weapons lets talk about what normal weapons you will have at your disposal. Two big changes come in the form of the Concrete Donkey and the Ninja Rope, as they revert back to there classic forms. No more bouncing about the landscape for the donkey and those classic physics that fans love are back with the ninja rope. More classic weapons in the form of the Carpet Bomb as well as the much expected air strikes and Banana Bombs all make the cut.
Crafting couldn’t have been more simpler and you will pick it up straight away. I know what you are thinking, “How can they keep things fair?”. Well to craft you need a certain number of resources from the selection you have available. The resources you can collect are Boggy’s Special Sauce, Sticky Donkey Paste, Banana Bomb Seeds and Tears of a Worm. These are obtained through creates or by breaking down any current weapons you may have. For example the Bazooka Pie requires four of Boggy’s Special Sauce and two of Sticky Donkey Paste. There is also the exclusive Joanna Dark weapon makes the OMG Weapon even more devastating in style. Why not call in an air strike USA style and craft the Liberty Strike or even the Turkey Bomb.
The resources you can obtain from dismantling is weapon dependant and some of the more powerful weapons require a resource that can only be obtained from crate drops. You can craft during your turn but the new weapon will not be available until your next turn. If you are quick enough you can craft during the enemies turn so the weapon is available on your turn. There are four empty slots available for crafted weapons so things are open to becoming much more strategic then in previous worms games. Do you go for the resource crates and have the chance to take out a team in one go or play as normal dismantling weapons increasing your resources? You decide and its this that breathes new life into an already superb franchise.
In terms of how the game plays online in multiplayer, you have your usual option of ranked or unranked matches. You will also be pleased to know that you can now have six players with eight worms each. Having this many worms in one landscape will ensure the most explosive action experienced in a Worms title to date. Having played a couple of games online things went smoothly but the true test of how the servers hold up will be once the game is out in the wild, so I will update this review if need be. Fans will also be pleased to here that you can customize pretty much everything when creating your own game. One customization feature that the XLC Gaming Network team are glad to have back is the ability to have infinite health. The only thing you can’t have is the ability to only select the weapons that would require crafting, but you can make sure that you start with plenty of crafting resources. Other than this everything is customizable just like the good old days.
When it comes to the graphics in Worms W.M.D things are very different to what was in Worms Battlegrounds. The team have gone back to the 2D hand drawn landscapes which was found in the classic titles. As you destroy the landscape it just leaves a grey outline making it much easier to differentiate the foreground from the background. I also like the way you can see shrapnel coming from exploding grenades and other weapons. The flames look hot and fiery as always but they now only burn for a few seconds. The worms themselves are much more animated as well, causing laughter when zoomed in on them. There is a great variance of locations on offer but I really do wish Team17 would bring back the Hell Landscapes which seems to be an urban legend now-a-days. The only other thing missing is tall landscapes but I can forgive that in the grand scale of things.
The Good Things
- Welcomed return to the more classic Worms gameplay.
- The classic Ninja Rope is back baby.
- The crafting, vehicles and gun turrets change up the strategy plans.
- The All-Stars Pre-Order Pack is something you should not be without.
And The Bad
- Would be great to be able to set-up a game where you can use only the crafted weapons.
- Please bring back the Hell Landscape.
- Worms W.M.D is a true return to form for the Worms franchise and builds upon what made the series so addictive in the first place. It’s not until you start ninja roping across the landscape’s that you realise how much you missed the classic physics of the ninja rope. Team17 always do take a risk when they introduce new features to breath new life into the franchise and the mix of old and new has paid off in bucket loads. The crafting system adds a new level of strategy and has been well implemented without sacrificing gameplay. The gun turrets and the vehicles offer new challenges for seasoned veterans. I also really dig having the feature of being able to enter buildings and unless you opponent has a worn in their they can’t see inside the building. The All-Stars pack really is a worthwhile addition with some really great additions from bonus missions to exclusive weapons.
What I have experienced with Worms W.M.D is nothing short of spectacular.