is back, and it's back to basics for the turn-based
strategy game in the latest in the series: Open Warfare.
by Greg Yu
11, 2006 - This
game is being released for the first time on the PSP
and the Nintendo DS. For my money the PSP version
is the one to purchase or rent. It's much better looking,
the controls are easier to use and the wider screen
format makes the game appear to be about twice the
size of the DS version.
is a basic, but incredibly fun, strategy game. It
features teams of wacky cartoon worms doing battle
with rival worms in a fight to the finish. Unlike
many turn-based strategy games such as Civilization,
Battleground, Heroes of Might and Magic, and to a
lesser extent Advance War, Worms is a hell of a lot
easier to get the hang of, especially if you've never
played a turn-based strategy game before. Turn-based
means that each player takes a turn making a move,
such as occurs in checkers or chess. In fact you could
compare Worms to checkers the way the aforementioned
games would be compared to chess.
Open Warfare, the Worms series returns to its 2D roots
after a disappointing rendezvous with the third dimension
on the next-gen console. The PSP's wide screen is
perfect for the 2D battlefield, while the DS duel
screen is less desirable. You can zoom in to get a
better look at the terrain which is filled with all
kinds of booby traps and pitfalls, or you can zoom
out to see both factions in action. The environments
look like the kind of surreal landscapes that cartoonists
would dream about. They are nicely rendered and full
of color but they also contain edges and ledges that
could cause your worm soldiers to land in the water.
You also have to be on guard against mines and other
explosives that the enemy may have planted on your
brings me to the weapons. Each side has approximately
20 weapons, which is less than the number of weapons
available in console versions but at least there's
a good assortment. They range from the sublime to
the ridiculous. We're talking machineguns, bazookas,
grenades and homing missiles in addition to banana
bombs and exploding sheep. The humor element is always
present in Worms and it's always used to good effect.
Not only is the exploding sheep a great comedic device,
it's also a very effective weapon that can cause plenty
turn is a minute long. During that turn you select
you weapon, make your move and fire. You then have
five seconds to retreat. You are basically allowed
to fire only one shot but there are ways in which
you can trigger combos and cause more extensive damage.
For instance, you could launch an enemy into the air
and have him land on a mine that you placed there
previously thereby causing a "free" explosion.
and short-ranged weapons are at your disposal. When
using the long-ranged weapons you have to take into
account the trajectory and the wind. Weapons can also
be affected by a certain "cartoon" physics
which makes things such as grenades bounce like rubber
balls. Worms can also get hung up on parts of the
environment which can be devastating if you're trying
to get away after planting a bomb or mine.
playing against the AI you'll notice that it's usually
pretty weak or suspiciously accurate. It's terribly
unbalanced. Sometime the enemy will not only miss
its target, but it will end up standing in the line
of fire becoming a very easy target to hit. Other
times the enemy will pick you off so cleanly that
you'll be certain that the CPU automatically trigged
the higher difficulty setting. Thankfully there are
multi-player modes where you can play against less-than-perfect
humans that are a few notches above stupid.
Warfare is pretty skimpy on the modes. As far as the
single-player modes go there is one-off battle that
requires no extra commitment, and the challenge mode
which features tiered battles that get more complex
as you go. The multi-player component is not very
player-friendly. First of all there is no online mode.
You can only access this mode locally. Secondly, each
player requires a copy of the game. Good luck finding
four players with their own copy of this game. If
you do manage to find a few people to play with you'll
notice that you can't be as free with your moves as
you could be in the single-player mode since being
foolhardy and taking unnecessary risks could affect
the other worms on your team. I'm not saying this
isn't as much fun, it's just a different style of
strategy that you have to master.
Warfare is not a perfect game but it's got a lot going
for it. It's a great debut on the PSP and even if
you're not a strategy buff, it's easy enough to learn
and highly recommended for a rental. Unfortunately
the DS version doesn't fare nearly as well.
The unique "Two-and-a-half dimensional environments"
of the PSP means that the player has althe attractiveness
of 3D environments, but without complex camera mechanics
or the problems of locating enemies.
full overhaul of the balancing of weapons and AI
engines Streamlined menu system and play modes,
tailored especially to suit the needs of mobile
gamers inc the addition of mid-mission saves for
the first time means that gamers on the move needn't
lose the progress they've made in either single
or multiplayer games.
mode allowing up to four players using one unit
mode via WIFI technology allowing connection of
features a huge collection of favourite Worms weapons.
all-new graphical themes, with randomly generated