Game Rant’s John Jacques reviews Worms: Ultimate Mayhem
The Worms series is no stranger to repackaged content and bundle packages (check out our review of the repackaged Worms 2: Armageddon game). Worms: Ultimate Mayhem is the next opportunity to offer players some mostly pre-existing content.
The bundle game combines both Worms 3D and Worms: Mayhem, adding some new content and bonuses for those who buy the $15 value-priced title – available on Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network, or Steam.
Both games play out in the relatively new 3D world of the Worms franchise, which is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. While the 3D views of Worms: Ultimate Mayhem offer more versatility to the maps and strategies, the maps often feel a little too big for the classic, and most popular, variant of Worms combat – hectic and clustered. It wasn’t uncommon to kill a few worms with one shot in the 2D variants, but this is something you simply don’t see much in Ultimate Mayhem. The landscapes, while still destructible, just can’t be mangled in the way that they used to be, and worms are often very spread out, making combat take somewhat longer than it should.
There are a few new weapons and maps offered in the bundle package – like an Alien Abduction or Old Scouser. While it’s nice to see a few new things, they aren’t as zany or wacky as one would like – in short, the added weapons don’t offer the initial surprise that the sheep or concrete donkey did back in the day. On the brighter side of the new features, players can customize worms to a much larger depth than previous outings – choosing their hats, shades, and gloves as well as the standard voice and grave options. This level of customization has been a long-awaited feature – and one that players of all ages will probably enjoy (this is the first 3D Worms experience to be rated 10+ instead of Teen). Each team can also use a custom-built weapon, and nothing quite says hello like a series of giant exploding doughnuts from the sky.
The camera system in the game is mediocre and had some especially terrible moments – where it may zoom in far too much or have a hard time making it around the edges of obstacles (and this is after we were promised improved camera angles)! Likewise, sometimes the worms will get caught on half-destroyed objects, making for an awkward jump-session as players try and find a way to get untangled from the mess – before the turn time is up. Some odd control choices were also passed on from Mayhem, like the inability to simply hit a button once to use the first-person view – instead, players have to hold that button down to keep the view going while aiming their weapon of choice, which gets a little annoying.
Both campaigns from Worms 3D and Worms: Mayhem are available to play (and now feature voice-acted cutscene introductions, a la Worms 2) and, difficulty-wise, follow the same formula as every Worms game: it starts off ridiculously easy and, by the end of the game, players will pit half-dead worms against a team of supercomputers who can successfully shoot a bazooka all the way across a map. While there’s nothing too special about either campaign (Mayhem is filled with annoying fetch-quests and 3D is all about simple combat), there’s certainly enough content in them to keep players busy should they decide to give them a spin – combining for a total of over 70 individual missions.
Of course, Worms was always most famous for entertaining multiplayer, where up to four players can take their teams head-to-head (notably in more than just deathmatch) – or play defensive games like Homelands or Statue Defend, which gives players forts and defensive objectives. There’s also Survivor, where gamers only use one worm at a time until one of the teams is out of worms. The modes add a surprisingly fresh breeze to a series which has seen a large decline in originality over the last few years. To keep things going, Team17 uses Wormpot, a slot machine which can optionally change three aspects of gameplay, whether it be Super Explosions, Wind Affects Worms, or Respawning Mines, among others. Gamers can play online or locally and, once again, the multiplayer aspect of the game is still the most enticing – offering a decent experience when playing with friends using custom-built teams. The features combine to make multiplayer the most redeeming aspect of a game that falls flat in campaign, controls, and innovation – meaning gamers will have to decide what kind of experience they’re going for before they make a purchasing decision.
All-in-all, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem oddly doesn’t live up to its name, giving a relatively tame experience whether – you’re new to the series or not. If you’ve played a Worms game in 3D before, there’s not much new in this bundled package – though it rings in at an appropriately low price. Fans looking to simply blow up some friends may be tempted into the bundle, which will provide a few hours of enjoyable multiplayer entertainment but little else of equal value. In the end, Worms: Ultimate Mayhem provides a decent – but not memorable – experience.
Worms: Ultimate Mayhem is available now for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
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