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September 2 2007
Worms: Open Warfare 2 - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
30/8/2007THQTHQTeam 17
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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Firing a missile at the enemy.
Worms is a series that has had its ups and downs over the years. After bursting onto the scene in 1994 on the Amiga before being ported to numerous other systems the turn based action title offered a unique spin on the Scorched Earth styled game - teams of worms battle on a series of maps to destroy the opposition. There are plenty of weapons and tools at your disposal including Rocket Launchers, Jetpacks, Machine Guns, Dynamite, Grappling Hooks, Exploding Sheep and so much more. It's addictive gameplay certainly; and even better in multi-player. This latest PSP version could quite possibly be the best version we've ever seen. So onto the review of Worms: Open Warfare 2.

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Hitting the enemy with a lightning bolt.
As you are probably aware this is actually the second Worms based title to hit the PSP after the impressive first Worms: Open Warfare. The game is set to six differently themed war backdrops with the teams placed on a range of 2D maps. These are often several screens in size both horizontally and/or vertically making the battles quite intense - and often quite lengthy. The premise behind the game is that you have to destroy the enemies before they destroy you. Fortunately the range of weapons is large, but what you will have to take into account is not only the terrain - you don't want the weapons bouncing off a wall back towards you after all! - as well as the wind which will affect the trajectory of the projectile. Players also have a set period of time to move your worm and fire at the enemy, if you run out of time you're out of luck - and that could be the difference between life and death.

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Make sure you jump the gaps!
While the single player game is good its when you hit the multi-player that things really heat up. The development crew at Team 17 have incorporated support via Ad-Hoc, Infrastructure modes or even 'pass the PSP' around between friends. Multi-payer supports up to 4-players which becomes pretty chaotic, and also tremendous fun - especially when several players decide to pick on one person.

There are several new modes in Worms Open Warfare 2 including Puzzle mode, Race mode and Forts mode. These are pretty entertaining - especially Forts which sees two towers loaded up with one team on each, often separated by impassable water. Several new weapons have also been included in the game such as the electromagnet, boomerang and bunker buster. Worms can now be customised quite a bit. It's not only to modify their look and sound, but even create entirely new teams. The game also includes a level editor so you can design new battlefields and share them with your friends.

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Backgrounds are pretty nice actually.
One of our big complaints with the original title was the lengthy delays for loading, and when AI controlled characters were determining their next shots. Fortunately Team 17 has been working on this area and the CPU controlled worms now determine their next move with a few moments. It makes for a much faster and fluid game.

So what disappointments do we have. Well I still desperately wanted to see more, and new, weapons in the game. Sure there are some new weapons including the previously mentioned Electromagnet and Bunker Buster but the vast majority of the weapons have been seen before and I would love to see some more variety added into the mix. I am also still quite disappointed in the AI for CPU controlled worms. At times they're as dumb as bricks and will blow themselves up accidentally while at other times they will make near impossible shots with the strongest of winds.

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Only 2 seconds remaining on the clock.
As we've already mentioned the graphics in Worms Open Warfare 2 retains the 2D styling of the original (we mean those from a decade ago) games and the previous PSP title released last year. The backgrounds are animated, and while they don't do anything in terms of gameplay they add in a little more excitement. The game allows you to zoom in and out from the battlefield and move around it smoothly with the analogue nub. The worms, although small are brought to life with some nice animations when they are shot at, or shoot at enemies.

As with previous games in the Worms series the audio is fairly restrained. There is plenty of lively music, and some backgrounds ambient effects, but by far the highlight is the sound effects and speech from the worms - with different effects depending on the teams available. Now we're not saying this is award winning, but it's a solid effort that won't offend.

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Another of the nice cartoon explosions.
I have always been fond of the Worms series but when the developers moved 3D versions for the Playstation 2 the game seemed to lose much of its charm and 'pick up and play' feel making it quite disappointing. Fortunately Team 17 have returned to the 2D roots for the PSP versions and the series is all the better for it. This second game feels more complete then the original and if you like your turn based action titles there is no reason to ignore Worms: Open Warfare 2 on the PSP. It's a blast!

Review By: Dave Warner

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GRAPHICSImpressive 2D visuals again, great presentation from start to finish.
SOUNDA variety of sound effects, lively music; solid overall.
GAMEPLAYSame gameplay as always, CPU AI has been sped up considerbly.
VALUEPlenty of things to unlock, many game modes, multi-player thrills.
OVERALLWorms: Open Warfare 2 is a fantastic follow up that adds a bit more spit and polish and quite a few more game modes. This is a fantastic title - let's just hope Team 17 continue to remain in the 2D realm with this series.

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