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Worms 4: Mayhem PlayStation 2

Published by Codemasters
Developed by Team 17
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Worms 4: Mayhem, an introduction.

The Worms series has been tremendously popular for years now and after being a 2D game for years, it's amazing to think that we now have the third 3D title in the series. The shift from 2D to 3D was a move that not every longstanding fan of the series appreciated but I for one thought it was a good transition. Whilst I enjoyed Worms 3D though, I can't honestly say the same for Worms Forts: Under Siege where the game got too bogged down and seemed to lose a lot of what made the earlier games great. Let's hope Worms 4: Mayhem sees a return to form.

What's the game about?

Worms 4, like the previous games in the series, is a turn-based combat game. Essentially you'll control a team consisting of a handful of worms and you'll do battle with another team of worms on some kind of bizarre battlefield. What makes the game so enjoyable are the myriad of crazy weapons and the destructible environments. The modes on offer in Worms 4 are Quick Game, Tutorial, Story, Multiplayer and Challenges. You also have a Trophy Room, where you can look at your awards you've won, and an Item Shop where you can purchase (with the coins you earn whilst playing the single player game) maps, worm customisation items and game styles.

What's good about the game?

Worms 4 ignores the style of the often tedious Worms Forts: Under siege and returns to the enjoyable style of Worms 3D. Battles are shorter and not so drawn out. Customisation is the key word for Worms 4. Previous games in the series have allowed you to create your own teams and this is also a feature of Worms 4. However, you can now also create your own game type and, incredibly, your own weapons. The weapon customisation is pretty in-depth and allows you to choose such things as the gun body, gun barrel, powered launcher, whether or not it has homing missiles, if it's wind affected, poisonous, has a detonation or cluster spread etc., it's all very impressive. Creating your own game allows you to choose a style, number of rounds, chance of crates, types of ammo available and the fall damage amongst other things. The team customisation is also pretty impressive and includes such things as being able to change your worm's appearance and choose the gravestone that replaces your defeated worms.

What's not so good about the game?

The biggest source of irritation with Worms 4 is the loading times. I suspect this may be confined to the PlayStation 2 version of the game (indeed it's a problem with many PlayStation 2 games) but nevertheless it's a shame loading times were so long. It's also disappointing that the PlayStation 2 version has no online play. The AI can be too reliant on a select few weapons instead of making use of the whole range that's on offer. This isn't much of an issue but it sometimes presents you with opportunities to exploit the AI.

How does it look?

If you've played the previous 3D Worms titles you'll have a very good idea of how Worms 4 looks. Some improvements have been made. Explosions now give off cel-shaded clouds of smoke that are very reminiscent of those found in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and they look very stylish. The game camera is generally better than the one in Worms 3D but there are times when you'll have to adjust it yourself with the right analogue stick. The frame rate in Worms 4 is generally good but there are moments of slowdown. Thankfully it doesn't spoil anything. There are some clipping issues with parts of the worms disappearing into nearby buildings which looks a little ugly but thankfully doesn't cause any problems.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Worms 4 is not 100% deaf gamers friendly but it shouldn't give deaf gamers any problems. All the cutscenes are subtitled and the tutorials are subtitled too so you'll be able to enjoy the snippets of dialogue that weave the missions together in story mode as well as being able to learn how to play the game. Text messages also appear when crates are dropped which is great to see. Throughout a battle your worms (and those from the opposition) will make comments and these comments are not shown in text. This does prevent deaf gamers from obtaining the full flavour of the game somewhat but it's only a minor complaint.

Final Thoughts.

Worms Forts: Under Siege may have been a step back in the Worms series but Worms 4 definitely sees a return to form for Team 17. Those who just couldn't get on with the series after the move to a 3D environment probably still won't appreciate the game. If you enjoyed Worms 3D you will definitely enjoy Worms 4: Mayhem. It may not be a major improvement on Worms 3D but it's a lot better than Worms Forts: Under Siege and without a doubt it's the best 3D version of Worms to date.

Overall Game Rating: 8.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Worms 4: Mayhem sees a return to form for Team 17 after the disappointment of Worms Forts: Under Siege. The new customisation options are an especially welcome feature.