by Chris Scott
reviewed on X360
From PC to console
On some level it is funny that Team 17 has been able to make a successful operation out of a simple, cartoony themed strategy game starring worms but for the last 14 years that is exactly what they have done. It is not that Team 17 has not created other games outside of their fame series but Worms is the main constant for the company. Calling the franchise a juggernaut in the industry would probably be overselling it by quite a bit but it has proven to have massive staying power with a strong and loyal fanbase.
While the franchise got its start on the PC it has long been adapted to the console and handhelds. Two years ago it make the jump to current generation home consoles with the XBOX 360ís Live Arcade downloadable game, titled simply, Worms. The game did not light the world on fire but it brought it to an entire new crowd somewhat successfully. Which brings us to today, where Worms 2: Armageddon graces the XBOX Live Arcade with its presence, improving on all aspects of the original XBOX Live version and offering up some new features as well.
Worms 2: Armageddon is a sequel to both the original XBOX Live version of Worms and Team 17ís critically acclaimed 1999 release, Worms: Armageddon. Team 17 could have taken the easy road and just release this version as Worms 2, not tying the Armageddon moniker to it but they did not. By titling the game the way they did Team 17 invited high expectations to the title and on many levels it succeeds.
For those unfamiliar with the Worms franchise and general gameplay structure, Worms is a two dimensional, turn based strategy game where multiple teams of Worms set out to destroy each other. The game is set in a cute cartoon environment but the Worms are equipped with weapons of mass destruction, like your standard bazooka and grenades or more exotic fair like the Super Sheep or the Holy Hand Grenade. The environments are completely destructible, so it is just as much fun to blow out the property below your opponent and watch them fall to their deaths as it is to lay a stick of dynamite on their heads.
The original XBOX Live Arcade game had an overly simplified single player mode, limited voice options and was really just a stripped down version of the Worms formula. This approach worked for many but longtime fans of the series were more than a little disappointed. Turning those frowns upside down seems to be where Team 17 took their inspiration for this game from. As previously stated Worms 2: Armageddon is an improvement on all aspects of the old title.
The game features a fully fleshed out campaign mode, with 30 levels to work through in the main campaign and an additional five levels to be purchased with points accumulated while playing. The campaign challenges range from simple deathmatch style missions to ones where you are equipped with a limited range of equipment and set the task of eliminating the enemy based on what you have. For instance you may be equipped with just a girder and a super sheep and tasked with eliminating a worm that is entrenched in a solid landmass set over water. It is a lot of fun and a vast improvement over the previous gameís single player.
Of course if you really want to get the most out of the game it needs to be played in multiplayer as the game really shines as a multiplayer frag-fest. Worms 2: Armageddon shines in the multiplayer department, offering a variety of awesome weapons with which you can prey on your opponents. For an XBOX Live Arcade game it has a lot of customization, although not as much as your typical Worms retail release. Of course the game can be played over XBOX Live and it works quite well but if you really want to have some fun, the game should be played locally, possibly with only one controller.
Graphically the game looks great and it feels like you are playing a two dimensional cartoon, even more so than in previous iterations. Sounds are great, weapon effects are crisp, clear and appropriately leveled and there are quite a few options for personalizing your teamís vocal styling. I personally went with Polish which is genetically correct for me and also damn funny. Some people are reporting a few glitches but at this time I have yet to experience any of them in either single player, or multiplayer (local and online) so I cannot comment on them. But it should at least be noted that the game seems to be having its fair share of issues as any other game does.
Hours of enjoyment
Worms 2: Armageddon returns to Team 17ís roots and delivers a fantastic experience. From an overall value standpoint the game is well worth picking up over XBOX Live Arcade as the single player mode will have you addicted to figuring out the puzzles provided while the multiplayer will offer hours of destruction based enjoyment for friends and family of all ages.
No Pros and Cons at this time