Another problem is that you don't have a lot of control over the game options. You can choose your worm team and the various names for your four worm soldiers, but gone are all of the cool game modes that added so much charm to all of the other Worms iterations. For example, many of the recent Worms games have featured a mode called Arms Race, a game type that started you out with only a few basic weapons but added something new every few turns. This was a great mode if only because it allowed you to strategically use your weapons, but there's nothing like that in this game. Instead you only have a few game types, and none of them are that different from one another. It would have been nice to see some of the classic game modes thrown in to shake things up a bit, but instead we get a very barebones Worms experience.
As usual the single player experience leaves something to be desired; you can play against the computer in a standard game, practice in one of three Training modes, or battle various computer opponents in something called the Challenge mode. The Challenge mode sounds the most interesting, but it proves to be nothing more than a basic Worms match with computer opponents of varying skills. At first it's nice and easy; you have your team of Worms at full health (100 hit points) against a bunch of computer opponents who are limited to only 20 or 30 hits each. But as you progress through this Challenge mode you will have to deal with teams that have 80, 90 and even 100 hit points. The challenge here is that instead of going after other teams, all three of the computer-controlled opponents only seem to want to target you. So not only do you have to kill 12 other worms, but you have to survive all 12 of them targeting you and only you.
The real fun of this game isn't in the single player modes, but rather when you get a bunch of friends together or play online. This series has always been about bringing people together, and it's great to be able to do that online. I can't tell you how long I've been waiting for an online Worms game for the console, and although the game is limited in a number of ways, it's still just as much fun to play against your friends (and strangers) as it ever was. Best of all the turn-based structure of Worms means that you won't have to worry about lag issues, this is the type of game that could probably be done over a dial-up modem (no t that there is an option for that on the Xbox 360). It's also worth mentioning that those of us long-time Worms fans can also prove their worth with the worldwide leader boards. While I rarely check these boards on other games, I am excited to see how I stack up against the rest of the Worms playing population.
Although it's easy to complain about the limited modes and weapons in Worms, there's one thing you can't complain about … the graphics. Make no mistake about it; this is easily the best looking Worms game I have ever experienced. From the characters to the weapons to the backgrounds, Worms has never even come close to looking this detailed. All of the characters and backgrounds are modeled in 3D, but the game still has the traditional 2D point of view. To some this may look outdated, but to those who are familiar with the series chances are good you'll really like the facelift.
The music and worm voices are good as well, although I miss not being able to customize my worm's accent/speech pattern. The incidental music during the matches are soft and fitting, it's the type of music you might not even notice at first. It all works perfectly to set the sometimes serious, sometimes comical mood that is Worms. I am disappointed that Team 17 took out the memorable Worms song that has been in just about every Worms game since its inception, but it's not that crucial to the overall experience.
Fans of other Worms games on the various console (be it Dreamcast, Saturn, PlayStation, PSP, DS, or whatever) will need to take a moment to get used to the rearranged button layout, but it won't take long before you're jumping, back flipping, shooting and surveying the level with the best of them. The controls all make perfect sense, and you can even zoom in and out of the level as you wish. Worms has always felt natural on a control pad (even one without an analog stick), so it shouldn't surprise anybody that the game feels good on the Xbox 360.
I won't kid you, I'm definitely disappointed that some of my favorite weapons and modes have been stripped away from this game, but I'm hopeful that Team 17 will offer some of it via the Xbox Live Marketplace. Whether buying weapons and levels that should have been there in the first place is a good thing or not is debatable, but all of the missing stuff isn't going to ruin the overall game experience. That said, if you're looking for a great Xbox Live Arcade game that you can play with a bunch of friends or online then Worms is a prime choice, at $10 it's not a bad price for all of the fun and excitement the game delivers. This may not be the definitive version of Worms, but it's still a great game no matter how you slice it.
Companies: Team 17
Worms for the Xbox Live Arcade does an excellent job of recreating the fun and excitement of the series, but it's slightly disappointing to see so many modes and weapons stripped from the experience. Still, if you're looking for a great game to play with friends or online, then you can't go wrong with Worms!
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