Worms Open Warfare 2 Reviews

Worms Open Warfare 2

Worms Open Warfare 2

The same, only different.

In 2000, Japanese director Takashi Shimizu helmed a direct-to-video movie called Ju-on. The same year he directed a sequel, which was pretty much the same as the first movie. In 2003 he directed a theatrical remake of the first Ju-on, this time subtitled The Grudge, and then promptly directed another sequel/remake before the year was out. In 2004 he remade the movie yet again, this time with Sarah Michelle Gellar for American audiences, and then in 2006 he directed another American-skewed sequel to this remake of a remake of a sequel. He's currently working on - you guessed it - The Grudge 3, which comes out next year. That's the same source material, reworked seven times, by one man.

Don't panic - Eurogamer hasn't gone all Total Film on you. It's just that the arrival of the latest in the endless procession of Worms games is usually our cue to grumble about how Team 17 now seemingly exists solely to rejig an old 2D strategy game ad infinitum. Many have sniffed and sneered at such unyielding reliance on one idea. Not that I begrudge (ho!) them this indulgence. Done well, Worms is still one of the purest and most amusing games of its type, and if this is what it takes to keep one of Britain's oldest independent developers above water then so be it. Even so, to see the company that once bestrode the Amiga scene, colossus-style, working on the same game over and over does make an old hack like me feel a little melancholy. Bring me next-gen Superfrog, dammit.

Naturally, when trying to keep the same recipe fresh over so many years, mistakes are bound to slip into the mixing bowl. The ill-advised move to 3D is now firmly in the past, but last year's grotty Open Warfare DS and the cute-but-truncated Xbox Live version both showed that remixing isn't always an improvement. Thankfully, with Open Warfare 2 the series has reached a sort of zen-like equilibrium, evolving the familiar Worms template in smart new directions and taking full advantage of the PSP hardware while retaining the fan-pleasing elements that have allowed the franchise to endure.

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