Review: Worms Ultimate Mayhem
Despite how much I used to love to play Worms when I was younger I’ve always felt like it was a franchise that really just needed to be put to bed. One of the only innovations brought to the series was bringing it into the 3D world which, I think we can all agree, just doesn’t work with the Worms formula. Worms Ultimate Mayhem doesn’t do anything to really change things either. It’s a combo pack of Worms 3D and Worms 4: Mayhem. That means you’ll get the content from both of these games with some updated visual effects and nothing else that’s really new. If you’ve already played through these games before there’s not really anything here that’ll make you want to play through them again. (Besides an extensive trophy list if you’re into that sort of thing.)
As a 3-dimensional game Worms follows the same formula that made the 2D Worms games so great. You’ll control a team of Worms with a large arsenal of weapons from a bazooka all the way to an explosive super sheep. All the weapons you’re familiar with are here with the exception that they are noticeably less impactful than their 2D counterpart. For instance the Holy Hand Grenade, known for making exceptionally large craters within the game map, explodes in a rather lackluster way without leaving much of a crater at all. That tends to be an issue with a lot of the weapons and maps. You can still blow up a good portion of the map but everything feels much more toned down. This is made even worse by the fact that the camera is constantly fighting against you. It often feels like the camera has a mind of its own. Always positioning itself behind some other object to make sure that you can rarely ever see what kind of damage you’re dealing to oppossing worms.
Control issues aren’t exclusive to the camera either. Aiming your weapons switches you into an FPS mode where you can line up your shot as well as set how much power you want to put behind it. This is way too often imprecise and, with grenades especially, really tough to determine whether you’ll land a hit or not. With gadgets like the jetpack, fairy wings and rope the controls become too much of a hassle to even bother trying. While the jetpack is probably the easiest of the three to control I still found it annoyingly difficult to come to grasp with how to actually land where I wanted to. And in a game that’s all about precision these control issues are unacceptable.
Worms Ultimate Mayhem includes the story modes and challenges that came with Worms 3D and 4: Mayhem. There’s a massive amount of content that would be great if the game managed to be anything other than boring. The story modes contain mission after mission of a deathmatch that requires you to kill some worms and collect a set number of items. This of course requires you to traverse each map which, due to some rather imprecise and clunky jumping controls, is an exercise in frustration itself. It honestly got to the point where I had a very difficult time playing worms for any extended period of time simply due to how dull it is. Between levels there’s a short cutscene to connect some sort of coherent plot together about time traveling worms which I suppose serves its purpose but doesn’t really matter in the end. It simply gives a reason to have multiple different time periods to fight in. Most of the challenges in the Challenge mode have you focusing on mastering each weapon and gadget that you have at your disposal. It could serve as a good way to introduce players to how to use each weapon but that’s not the case since the controls still aren’t precise enough to make any sort of practice meaningful.
At the very least the customization options remain intact with more features than usual. You can create your own team of worms and customize what they wear, how they look, adjust voices, set a team flag and a team special weapon. These teams can be used anywhere within the game. You’re also able to customize your own weapons (this isn’t exactly as cool as it might sound) as well as set gameplay styles. There’s a shop that you can use points earned to unlock other customization options as well as a loyalty shop. The loyalty shop seemed interesting to me if only because it’s something I haven’t really seen done before. If you own the PSN version of Alien Breed or perhaps Worms 2 then you automatically unlock gear specific within those games which at the very least seemed neat to me.
Playing online in Worms Ultimate Mayhem seems to run as you’d expect it to. There are no hitches or weird bugs that I ran into while playing online. That is of course during the times that I actually managed to find someone playing. I eventually found people playing online but only after leaving my PS3 set to a lobby and walking away to do other things. I don’t see any sort of online community building around this game, there really isn’t much of one right now, so if you think that maybe you should pick this up for online multiplayer you should probably think twice.
I can’t tell you the last time that I literally had to push myself to play a game. I’d like to think that it’s possible to still have fun with a Worms game (I still think Worms Golf was quite good) but it’s clearly not possible with this one. Some sort of return to 2D might be interesting if there was something new added to the formula that could really shake things up but as it stands now Worms is just sort of dull. But the lack of anything new isn’t even the problem with Ultimate Mayhem. Worms absolutely does not work in 3D and quite frankly I don’t think it ever will. You lose the precision that’s needed in a Worms game and navigating maps just becomes far more of a nuisance. What you’re left with is a game that is tedious and boring.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Plenty of customization options
What I Dislike:
- Camera is constantly working against you
- Lack of precision when aiming
- Managing to get some sort of control over gadgets like the jetpack is tedious
- Navigating maps is annoying