You might have enjoyed his work in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, or in The Mighty Boosh. Maybe you know him from what is perhaps his most notable role as Douglas Renholm in The IT Crowd. Either way, you probably know Matt Berry and his distinctive voice, and it’s probably brought you many laughs. In Worms Revolution all you’ll want is for him to just shut the hell up.
It’s not a problem with him per se. His delivery is mostly excellent (although on occasion it sounds a bit like Berry doing an impression of himself) and the lines are laugh-heavy. The problem is that there’s just so, so many of them. Each campaign mission is introduced with narration that lasts minutes, when all you want to do is play the game. It’s as if the writers were being paid by the word, or by the joke, and they shoehorned in so many before each level that sometimes it takes longer to sit through these speeches than it does to complete said level. Just when you think the game’s ready to start, the screen fades back in and it’s just more Berry. Pre-release hype certainly suggests that he’s a major selling point but they’ve gone way, way too far.
Skipping this narration is, of course, an option, but you’ll miss out on most of the game’s humour with it. The move from cartoon-2D to an ugly pseudo-3D doesn’t really work, and the game loses a lot of its slapstick as a result of dull animation. Sure, the same deaths are there, the same weapons, but they’re just not funny now. This isnt helped by the in-game voiceovers. You can still choose voices for your worms such as the classic pirates, or angry Scottish dudes, as well as some newer ones like memes (“enemy worm, y u no die?”). The problem is that, like Berry, they’re overused to the point of absolute tedium. Instead of relating to the gameplay, such as worms exclaiming “u mad, bro?” when they kill an enemy, the utterances are uttered entirely at random, at a rate of about one every five seconds. They become completely meaningless and when one of them does seem to relate to the on-screen action it feels like a total fluke and so all the potential humour is lost.
The other problem with skipping the dialogue is that it doesn’t do much to speed up the game anyway. Loading is slow and menus are deep and confusing, with everything you need seemingly ten screens away from the last thing you needed. The obvious example is the game’s use of squads. If you start a mission and decide that your squad is ill-equipped to handle it, the only solution is a trip all the way back out of the match menu and into the customisation menu. Even though you can set up a number of different squads, you can’t quickly select the one you want pre-match and instead can only do it by delving into the (deep, confusing) customisation menu.
Squads are one of Worms Revolution’s two changes, which kind of makes a mockery of the term “revolution.” There’s very little in the way of revolution here because it’s really still just Worms, but far slower. Still, to indulge them: there are now four different types of worm. Soldiers are your typical worm, scouts are smaller and faster but do less damage, heavies are slower but strong, and scientists bless your team with +5 health each time their turn comes round. Being 2012, these worms are, of course, hidden behind an in-game economy. To use a team of scientists you’ll have to buy them using credits earned by winning numerous games.
The different kinds of worms are a peculiar addition, since any non-campaign level is randomly generated. This makes it impossible to select a squad based on the terrain youre going to encounter, and means you can easily lose a match before youve even begun.
So you’ve jumped through all the game’s hoops, got your team ready, started the game, exited the game, gone all the way back through the menus to get a team ready that’s more suited to the next mission’s map, and you’re ready to go. It’s all good from there, right?
Well, kind of. In keeping with the overarching theme, the gameplay itself is slower than David Beckham trying to spell the word “onomatopoeia”, with huge pauses between each turn and sluggish movement, as well as awkward, unresponsive controls. The core gameplay in Worms has always been brilliant, though, and it’s still good here in spite of the flaws. Revolution’s other change to the formula is with “physics items,” which come in two forms. The first are just random bits of scenery that are affected by gravity or which blow up, and are completely pointless, having very little effect on the game. The other is water.
Water is awesome, and is really the only positive to be taken from Worms Revolution. Pockets of water will be strewn around the landscape and shooting at them can cause the water to flood out, washing enemy worms away into the sea, or slowly drowning them if they can’t escape the murky depths. It genuinely changes the way you play, with areas that once would have been safe now becoming perilous. It also allows for the addition of new weapons such as the water cannon, or water strike, which can also lead to some new and interesting deaths. Outside water, it’s very much business as usual, and there’s very few weapons you won’t have used a million times before.
Worms Revolution is the fourth Worms game on the console downloads, and the third of those in 2D. If you strip away all the extraneous stuff, it still plays a great game of war, but therein lies the problem. You already have Worms and Worms Armageddon available for far fewer of your pennies, and both of them play great games of war with all the extraneous stuff already absent. The water is a great addition, but it’s just not enough.
This is not a revolution worth being part of. Or, as Matt Berry would say well, we dont really know what he’d say, but he’d use about a million words to say it.