Worms Battlegrounds Xbox One review
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Worms Battlegrounds Xbox One review – The classic game of Worms, now with clans

Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs launched on consoles this week. Everyone who plays mainstream games is neck-deep in that game’s free-roaming campaign, extensive multiplayer modes, and cyberpunk hacking gameplay. Yours truly is still busy with Wolfenstein: The New Order, so the only dogs I’m watching are of the mechanical variety.

Xbox One also has a new indie game to play, courtesy of the ID@Xbox program. Worms Battlegrounds is the latest in the long-running Worms franchise from UK-based Team 17. Although about a million miles away from a free-roaming epic like Watch Dogs, Battlegrounds does sport a fully-voiced campaign, 3D landscapes and physics, local and online multiplayer, and even clan support. It’s the biggest Worms game ever, is what people who measure Worms games say. Read on for our full review with exclusive screenshots and hands-on video!

The great Worms caper

Worms Battlegrounds Xbox One campaign museum map

Although Worms games tend to feature fairly lengthy single-player campaigns, they don’t usually have a story or much connective tissue holding them together. Your team competes against one or more AI teams in a series of deathmatches (with occasional puzzle levels or ninja rope challenges breaking things up), but that’s it.

Worms Battlegrounds (an enhanced port of last year’s PC game Worms: Clan Wars) actually starts out with a mildly cinematic introduction voiced by British actress Katherine Parkinson. The evil Lord Crowley Mesmer has stolen the Stone Carrot, a magical artifact that helped create the Worms World. Artifact in-hand, Mesmer and his army of hypnotized Worms have holed up within a museum. Under the direction of the oddball narrator (who ranges from funny to annoying), players must break into the museum and get the Carrot back.

The story’s pretty much an excuse to provide wacky intros for each stage and justify the history-based environments, but it does lend Battlegrounds a greater sense of import than previous Worms games. The actual levels are far more structured than before. You’ll command a single Worm (or a full team, depending on the level), navigate mazes and platforms, and complete various objectives beyond just killing enemy worms. There are even checkpoints now, reducing the frustration of falling into a pit, getting blown up, or otherwise dying.

Worms combat

Worms Battlegrounds Xbox One

Whether battling the CPUs or engaging in 4-player local and online matches, Battlegrounds plays just like every mainline Worms game to come before it. Each player gets a team of four Worms, which now come in four classes: Soldier, Scout, Scientist, and Heavy.  Players take turns controlling one of their Worms and trying to kill off as many of the other teams’ Worms as possible.

Much of the fun in Battlegrounds comes from the humorous arsenal of weapons at your disposal. Initially, you’ll only have access to basic armaments like the bazooka, grenades, and dynamite. New items include the Aqua Pack, Winged Monkey, and Mega Mortar. With a whopping total of 65 weapons and items to choose from, battles will be even more varied 9and crazier) than ever before.

The Xbox Worms games have always suffered from a somewhat unnatural control scheme in which the X button jumps. You know, like no other game ever. Battlegrounds starts out the same way, but also offers a Modern control option. Pick Modern and A becomes the jump button, which rocks. But B is the fire button and X brings up the menu – those two should really be reversed. Baby steps, I guess!

Multiplayer

Worms Battlegrounds Xbox One

Good news for local multiplayer fans who haven’t picked up four Xbox One controllers just yet. Worms Battlegrounds allows four players to share a single controller! They don’t even have to have their own Xbox Live profiles, either. Players can sign in as guests, which goes much more quickly than it did on the 360. Guests only have access to the teams the host player has created, so you might want to create a few extra teams before hopping into local battles.

Having set the number of players, you’ll need to choose between Deathmatch and Forts modes. The goal is to kill all enemy Worms in both modes, but Forts puts each team inside of its own base instead of out in the wild. In custom games, players can also choose the type of landscape, switch between landscape templates (shapes), and set the density of explosive barrels and other objects. You can even create your own levels for local games, though they unfortunately can’t be shared online.

No friends? No worries, Battlegrounds supports full online multiplayer as well.

Customization, clans, and new features

Worms Battlegrounds Xbox One WPCentral clan

Outside of battle, players can engage in the usual customization options like naming their teams and the individual Worms within the team. If your team doesn’t have silly names, you’re not doing it right! You can also dress your Worms in a variety of silly hats, eyewear, and mustaches as well as choosing what gravestones will show up when they bite the bullet. And yes, there are more voices to choose from than ever before. Who wouldn’t want their Worms sounding like comedians, boxing commentators, and movie announcers?

The standout new feature of Battlegrounds is clan support! Form a clan, design an emblem, and assign ranks to its members. Clans can take part in battles and leagues against other clans, bringing new long-term life to the classic Worms multiplayer mode. And of course, we already have a WPCentral clan ready to go! If you’re an Xbox One gamer and a Worms fan, be sure to join up as soon as you buy the game.

Other new features in Battlegrounds include larger environments, more dynamic water, day and night cycles within individual levels, and five new visual themes.

Achievements

Worms Battlegrounds Xbox One

Battlegrounds includes 29 Achievements worth a total of 1,000 GamerScore. Many Achievements revolve around scoring particular types of kills or cumulative kills. Several involve online multiplayer, such as winning five games in a row and winning a Clan League Match. Thankfully there aren’t any grindy Achievements requiring a ridiculous number of online wins, unlike past games.

The most challenging Achievement should be the one for completing all 10 Worm Ops single-player missions in less than eight minutes. The game also has two secret Achievements: one for killing an ally during an online match, and the other for using every weapon and utility in the game. All told, Battlegrounds should be a fun and varied completion for Achievement enthusiasts.

Expensive but good

Worms Battlegrounds is basically a bigger and better game of Worms, building off of the new graphical engine introduced in Worms Revolution for Xbox 360. Like other indie games we’ve seen so far, Battlegrounds doesn’t push the Xbox One hardware. It also takes a bit too long to load, as with practically every Xbox One game out there. Next month’s external hard drive support should help with load times though. Load times aside, Battlegrounds is just a smooth, fun game with serious multiplayer appeal.

The only problem Worms fans might have with Battlegrounds is its price: $24.99. Given that Worms 2 launched at $9.99 and Revolution at $14.99, Battlegrounds is the priciest downloadable Worms game to date. I wouldn't have priced this one above the $20 mark. But with a more expansive single-player game than ever and robust clan support, you’re also getting more bang for your buck than with previous games. If you enjoy Worms or non-FPS multiplayer games, don’t let the price scare you away from Worms Battlegrounds.

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Reader comments

Worms Battlegrounds Xbox One review – The classic game of Worms, now with clans

34 Comments

This is an enhanced port of Worms: Clan Wars, which came out on PC last year. So it's basically on PC already. You can get Clan Wars from Steam for the same price as Battlegrounds.

Agreed. Unfortunately, everyone wants everything free or a buck. Eventually, the market will correct itself, or the days of new large ideas will be gone. People complain about things like Office 365 pricing and such. Well, you've all made your own freemium bed, lay in it.

Surprised they priced this so high. If you like blowing things up but have a lighter wallet, I'd suggest getting Super Time Force instead. It's $15 and fun as hell.

Hey Paul, why do you say the external hard drive should help with loading times? Wouldn't it be the same RPM anyway? Or are you suggesting an SSD external?

Beta users have already tested non-SSD external drives and found that they improve loading times in many games. Several factors at play including USB 3 being faster than SATA II, the internal hard drive constantly having to record the last few minutes of gameplay, simple drive seek speeds, and more.

Check out this NeoGAF thread for more details.

Thanks for the detailed reply mate, you're a champ. I always look forward to your articles, I'll check out the NeoGAF link.

Thanks Paul! And a question...

 

How is the hotseat customization now? Revolution was awful when you played with guests, since you had to mirror your own team so they could have different types of worms etc. Can you sign in with one Xbox profile and then create a bunch of teams with the unlocks from that one profile? Like it always was before Revolution?

Yes, you can do that. Either everyone can use the same profile and its teams/unlocks/etc while passing a controller around. Or they can use their own separate profiles and whatever they have individually created and unlocked, which requires multiple controllers. Best of both worlds.

But I can create an infinite amount of teams on my profile so guests can create their own teams and worm names and utilies my unlocks, right? Just want to make sure.

Thanks for the reply. I will definitely pick it up when we get an official launch of Xbox One in september here in Sweden. And I'll join the clan. :)

Its a good game :)  Worms has been out since the 90's. Back then, each worm was only about 6 pixels in size.  That game is where i got my alias from!  I picked up battlegrounds yesterday and it still has that classic charm of the older worms games.

So a review on Worms, but not Watch_Dogs? :-/

And yes, I read the article. Just curious, do you only do game reviews? Because all these games to be reviewed by one person, that must be tough.

Two factors: we received a review copy of Worms but not Watch Dogs, and I only have so much time to go around. I'd review every Xbox One game under the sun if I could play them enough to get the reviews out in a reasonable time frame.

I mostly write about games, but I do some accessory reviews and earlier this week we ran my editorial about Windows Phone versus Android in emerging markets. I don't care too much about non-gaming stuff but it's fun to stretch my abilities now and then.

Originally, the idea was for a couple of the other writers to review Xbox One games as well... But that didn't end up happening.

A classic.  Got to go in but I think 19.99 is as far as I can justify to my wallet. I'll wait a bit but hurry. I want this game.

I may be exaggerating, but isn't WP the ONLY platform that Worms has never been on since the original for PS1? Makes no sense!

Can anyone explain to me how to play 2 players on separate controllers? It defaults to playing versus mode by sharing a single controller.

At the local multiplayer screen, there's some kind of option for extra players to use their own Xbox Live profiles. If they do, they must use separate controllers. Lemme know if that helps... I'm away from my console right now.