Review: Worms Clan Wars
Worms has been a mainstay of the gaming industry for years, with Team 17 continually trying to adapt a basic formula to make sure that blowing up the poor little fellas doesn’t get stale; thankfully, on the whole, Worms Clan Wars is a worthy addition to the long long line of previous Worms games and adds enough to make it not feel like a basic retread of old material.
Worms is always played best against someone else, whether online, against an AI or, back in the day, handing over your Game Boy to the other poor soul on a long journey. This in particular always makes a single player campaign more and more interesting as it’s never been the biggest selling point for the game as a whole. In this adventure you are dragged into a drama by Tara Pinkelton, British aristocrat, part time artefact stealer, full time Lara Croft wannabe, whom is trying to steal back an artefact to make sure that the worms of the world don’t lose their free will, all whilst her butler sorts out the mess. Frankly, the story doesn’t matter, but the comedy aspect is pitched perfectly and the tangent from just the standard death matches that Worms is known for gives the campaign a little more spark and reason to visit than before.
Added to this is the ability to do various ‘Ops’ missions, essentially mini challenges within maps. Whether it be being restricted to just using a bazooka to beat down your enemies (such a hardship) or dodging every other enemy and ‘stealthily’ whacking a unsuspecting worm, there is enough variation to give you reason to skip the multiplayer aspect from time to time. Worms is, and never will be, a story driven game and anyone expecting some sort of layered meaning to blowing up invertebrates should : A) avoid this game and B) take a minute to think why on earth fire punching worms needs any meaning behind it.
Gameplay is standard fare, and, considering how long the series has been around, should be second nature to anyone who has had any type of console over the last 15 years. Aim of the game is removing the other team from the map using weapons at your disposable; first team to wipe out the other wins. Weapons are still as fun to use and combining both lethal and non lethal weapons (leaving a stick of dynamite and then jet packing off to the distance never ceases to be satisfying) allows you to manoeuvre your troops out of trouble. A class system is used but never really to its full potential as it never really impacts on the game other than in the story mode. Four classes cover the basics of pretty much any online multiplayer game (fast moving Scout, Heavy with higher health than the others etc) but tend to feel a bit artificial considering the bonuses to each class are pretty remote and charging in with any of your worms tends to lead to quick deaths.
Worms Net and the use of clans is a fantastic idea and works really well. You are able to customise your worms, as well as create a clan name and logo and fight the world as you see fit. The ability to add people to your clan and allow them to fight in the same death match adds an extra dimension of strategy, whilst having a healthy online community means you can get into a game of your choice relatively quickly.
There are a few negatives as Worms isn’t perfect. Graphics tend to be pretty ropey at times and the constant clipping in some scenery can completely screw over your match or level without any wrong input from the player. All the Worms now have their own voices, but they repeat themselves all the time which grates exceptionally quickly and some of the weapons are lacking in any impact which can be a bit of a shame especially as the bulk of the explosive weapons are still a joy to play with. The biggest problem with online play is how much time each player is given to make a move, with a three second counter before the 25 or so seconds you get to put your worm into position. Downtime is great for strategy but engagement is so minimal when it’s not your turn, and crawling worms isn’t exactly exciting, means that the down time you get between each turn tends to drag considerably.
To sum up
Worms Clan Wars is an incredibly fun game, and continues the legacy of wacky humour and tight game mechanics that have made the series great. A few niggles hold it back from perfection but any Worms lover should pick this up, as the lively community, easy drop in play and timeless formula make it just as fun as the first iteration was.
Version reviewed: PC