When it comes to the Worms’ series, you either love them or you don’t; rarely have I seen a middle ground when discussing the series with other gamers. The series has been around for 15 years now and has hit almost every console imaginable. In recent years though, the popularity of the Worms’ games has dwindled, almost to the point of obscurity. Although the series was critically acclaimed early on during the mid- to late 1990’s, concerns regarding the lack of meaningful additions and changes to subsequent versions grew with every release. In short, many felt that the series was growing stale and that the game releases were simply minor updates to previous installments and not worthy of entirely new releases.
In an attempt to reinvigorate the series, the developers attempted to move the series into the third dimension with 2003’s Worms 3D; needless to say the reception was nowhere near as great as the original. The series bounced around from publisher to publisher over the years, until finally landing back at home with Team 17 for the 2007 Xbox Live Arcade release of Worms 2: Armageddon. The XBLA release was quickly regarded as the best iteration of the series in years and heralded for its return to the 2D style of the origjnal. It seemed as if Team 17 had finally managed to rekindle the original magic of the Worms’ series and the popularity started to grow once more.
All of those events led us to 2010 and Worms Reloaded for the PC (and in development for MacOS). The new game, available exclusively (currently) through Valve’s Steam service is a beefed up version of Worms 2: Armageddon for the Xbox Live Arcade. Reloaded includes all of the content included in the original Armageddon XBLA release with the additional content that was released on the Microsoft Marketplace as well as many completely new and original features that have never been seen before. The charm of Worms Reloaded, and the series in general, lies in its simplicity. The premise of the game is as simple as it has always been: players will control individual teams of multiple Worms and use various weapons and tools to eliminate their opponents which are spread across a destructible map. Players do nothing more than take turns taking shots at one another until one team is left standing with at least one member alive. In addition to the destruction that the weapons themselves inflict on the worms, the environment often offers its own with landmines and explosive barrels often littered about, as well as the ever-pending, and deadly, water looming at the bottom of each stage. Worms don’t like water and ending up in the drink will mean certain death. While the core of the game remains the same, it’s the new additions that make this package the best one compiled yet.
One of the first “new” features of the game involves the high definition graphical style. Worms has never looked better and brighter than it does in this version of the game. While the game utilizes the classic graphical style that fans of the series have grown to know and love, it looks as good as ever. The characters are crisp and animated and the animations are smooth and detailed. It doesn’t take much to run the game and it should look good on any computer it’s installed on. The game also includes widescreen support which is something that wasn’t present in the previous PC iterations. This is a welcome addition to the series as it makes it a lot easier to scan the environment in order to plan your attacks. Long story short, Worms has never looked better. The same thing can be said for the sound of the game too: it has never been better. Reloaded brings back the well known speech banks from the previous games in a higher quality and re-mastered form. There are 50 familiar voice sets for gamers to choose from and 20 new ones. Each bank selection has its own personality and everyone is sure to find one that they will love. Classics such as the Angry Scottish voices sound as good as ever, you are sure to find one that will put a smile on your face. Gamers will be hard pressed “not” to smile when they here styles such as the “l33t” and “Movie Trailer” speech banks; their hilarious and Team 17’s sense of humor truly shines through. Other additions to the series include a fully revised physics engine, especially notable with the fire and flame effects. Explosions are more deadly than ever because fire / flames can be spread across the map and manipulated with your tools / weapons. Gamers will also experience new and improved enemy AI, new vertical landscape stages, Steam achievements, and a ton of new customization options.
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