|9 Mar 2007, 00:50||#1|
Join Date: February 2007
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Impressions from a Long-Time Worms Fan
I've been playing Worms games since the original almost 13 years ago. I've been really looking forward to this game ever since hearing about it at the beginning of this year. As time went on and more details were released, old-school Worms fans learned more and more about disappointing elements of the new game, and it seems that some of our fears have been justified by the actual release of the game.
That's not to say the game isn't fun: It's a lot of fun, and is really worth far more than the 800 MS points. Anybody who cares enough about Worms to be on this forum should definitely buy it! There are some drawbacks, though, and I think the game could have been a lot better.
The most obvious problem is the missing weapons. And yes, they are missing. The gaming world has come to know and love the collection of weapons that has been available since Worms 2, 10 years ago. Suddenly, in this "third generation" of 2D Worms games, things have regressed. Worse, one of the elements that has become synonymous with "Worms" in gaming, the Holy Hand Grenade, is gone! I guess we should just count ourselves lucky that the banana bomb and sheep were left in.
Team17 constantly says that this is to "open the game up" and "make the game more accessible to casual gamers". I don't buy that explanation for a second. First off, I've never heard of anyone finding the old weapon sets daunting. Worms has always attracted more casual gamers than typical PC games, and all of the non-gamers I've shown it to have had a lot of fun with it. There is no reason that things had to be made more limited in order to make them more accessible. Most of the old super-weapons were usually only rarely available in a crate, and more advanced players could configure them to be more common if they did so choose. There's no reason a brand new player would be forced to choose between a Concrete Donkey and an Indian Nuclear Test. It would have been simple to have the default game types (and maybe the game types for ranked online games) include the current limited arsenal while giving advanced players the choices they would expect. Casual gamers wouldn't even have to know that there were more advanced options.
For reference, here are a list of the 2D weapons that are missing from Worms on the 360: homing pigeon, Patsy's magic bullet, mole bomb, homing cluster bomb, holy hand grenade, super banana bomb, petrol bomb, handgun, minigun, longbow, suicide bomber, battle axe, baseball bat, priceless ming vase, sheep launcher, super sheep, aqua sheep, sheep-on-a-rope, cloned sheep, mad cow, old woman, salvation army, skunk, homing strike, napalm strike, mail strike, mine strike, mole squadron, carpet bomb, MB bomb, french sheep strike, concrete donkey, earthquake, scales of justice, flood, nuke, armageddon, pneumatic drill, bungee, parachute. Some of those weapons are clearly redundant, but many others added fun elements to the game.
The weapons that are still there behave differently now, mostly in regards to the area that they damage. Splash damage seems to be greatly reduced for some reason (maybe to try to compensate for the smaller levels). The napalm effects of exploded barrels and crates are gone too. That cuts out an important dynamic of the old games. I remember the satisfaction that would result from a well placed shot at an explosive barrel that would leak its fuel onto a ledge below and push a worm into the ocean. That's gone now - yet another strategic element removed.
The new 3D backgrounds are neat for the first couple minutes of gameplay, but they don't actually affect gameplay at all so they are quickly ignored. The new levels are much smaller than the old ones - more catering to the "casual gamer"? Again, this removes a strategic element. Why did this game have to make sacrifices at the expense of the people who have supported the Worms series for years? Maybe this was a memory issue - because of the HD themes, levels had to be kept a certain size in order to fit in the old 50mb game limit? It is too bad Microsoft didn't raise the XBLA game size limit months ago, but I can't fault Team17 for that.
Or maybe the smaller levels are because of the reduced number of worms on a team. Again, I don't understand why the number of worms had to be cut down. The game can clearly support at least 16 worms at a time (in 4-team games), so why couldn't we have 1vs1 games with 8 worms per team?
I could deal with the lack of weapons - after all, the original Worms had a similar weapons arsenal and it was still fun. But by far the worst single change in this new game is the physics! One of the greatest parts of the old Worms games was the hilarious results of explosions. Sending a worm flying off a ledge with a shotgun blast, or rocketing into the air after a dynamite explosion. Everything is toned down now, as if the worms weigh 20 times more than they used to. I've seen results where a worm flies a bit horizontally, then lands and just sticks there rather than skidding along like you'd expect. Ninja roping has been crippled now as well. What happened to the physics? They were perfect the way they were in Worms 2-WA-WWP; what's been done to them in W360 is definitely a change for the worse, and for no apparent reason other than change for change's sake. The physics feel broken now, as if we're playing a poorly made Worms clone rather than a real Worms game.
The new graphics looks good, but not spectacular by any means - the old 2nd generation 2D Worms games looked good at higher resolutions too, and after playing Worms 360 and Worms: Armageddon back-to-back, I actually think some of the animations were smoother in WA. That said, the terrain, backgrounds, and water do look good on an HDTV. But I fear that so much went into the HD graphics and 3D backgrounds that gameplay was sacrificed. I'd have much rather had a port of Worms: Armageddon, which was a much more complete and fulfilling game experience even though it was released 8 years ago.
This all makes me think of what happened with Deus Ex and Deus Ex 2. For those who aren't familiar with it, Deus Ex was a very highly regarded "role-playing first-person shooter". It won a lot of awards and critical acclaim. When it came time to make a sequel, the developers removed a lot of features from the game in the name of "making it more accessible" and reducing it to a "core gaming experience". The developers kept assuring everyone that the new leaner game would be more fun because of the reduced complexity. Then it was released, and anybody who was a fan of the first game was very disappointed. The soul of the game had been removed. Deus Ex 2 was regarded as a decent if not great game in its own regard, but a lousy sequel, and it alienated the people who made the first game a hit. Consequently, it had somewhat dismal sales and now there's practically no hope of a Deus Ex 3. Now I know that Worms for the 360 is not a true full sequel to WWP, but it seems as if Team17 is going down this same path.
I understand perfectly well that this game was only $10 and it's not targeted to the old-school Worms fans. But it's unnecessarily missing so much of what Worms 2/Worms: Armageddon had nearly a decade ago, and those games can be found in $4.99 bargain bins now! I can only hope that there will be downloadable updates to plug some of the holes in this version.
To summarize, here's a list of what are (I believe) the major problems and my suggestions on how to fix them:
Problem: Weaponset is limited and feels like it is missing features, reducing replayability and fun for some users.
Fix: Restore the mole bomb, petrol bomb, handgun, longbow, baseball bat, napalm strike, pneumatic drill, bungee, and parachute as standard weapons (with limited quantities in the default schemes). Restore the homing pigeon, minigun, skunk, and old woman as weapons found only in crates. Restore super banana bomb, holy hand grenade, priceless ming vase, super sheep, and maybe carpet bomb as super weapons available only very rarely. These changes would not negatively impact the game for people who like the current limited weaponset, but would restore the missing elements so many fans were hoping for.
Problem: "Flame barrels" don't produce flames.
Fix: Add the napalm effect back into the game. The flame barrels at the least should produce napalm, otherwise they are simply mines that you have to shoot to detonate. The crates don't really need the napalm effect if you wanted to keep it limited.
Problem: Levels are too small.
Fix: I'm not sure if there's anything to be done about this because maybe it's a memory limitation. If so, the level size is not a major problem.
Problem: Teams are too small.
Fix: Allow teams of up to 8 worms, but keep the limit of 16 worms per game. That way in a 1vs1 you could use your full 8-worm team, in a 1vs1vs1 you'd each have 6 worms, and in a 1vs1vs1vs1 you'd each have 4 worms. This would extend the replayability of the game for people who like to play 1vs1.
Problem: Weapon effects are too limited. The way it is now is too difficult for novice players because it requires very precise aiming for weapons like the bazooka, and weapons that should cause a great deal of damage often don't because of odd proximity effects. Mines are not a challenge at all because they barely have an impact when they explode unless you're right on top of them.
Fix: By default, increase the distance at which explosion effects are felt. Add an option so that users can select "high impact" or "low impact" weapons.
Problem: Worms are too heavy. Shotgun blasts often don't move a worm at all, explosions even right next to a worm usually leave them standing in the same spot, etc.
Fix: Reduce the "weight" of the Worms by ~15-20%.
If Worms on the Xbox 360 incorporated these changes, it would have a greatly increased appeal to new gamers and old Worms fans alike.
Last edited by phoenix96; 12 Mar 2007 at 19:30.
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