Plants Vs. Zombies 2: Not so Free to Play

Free to Play doesn't always mean free to enjoy.

The long awaited sequel to the run away success Plants Vs. Zombies is a free to play title available for iOS! Unfortunately, it's not really all that free. As with all Free to Play games, players can use real money to unlock components. With Plants Vs. Zombies 2, unlocking all the main plants will cost 19 big ones! Everything else behind the paywall can be unlocked other ways but unfortunately these plants are:

  • The Snow Pea
  • Torchwood
  • Squash
  • Jalapeno
  • Imitator
  • and a newcomer, the Power Lily


Now, I understand, a free to play game is well, free, but this sounds more like a free to play, pay to win scenario. Not wholly unexpected considering the fact that Popcap now belongs to the dictators of DLC, EA. However, it's a bit of dick move to have gameplay elements behind a forced paywall. I can totally get behind cosmetic elements, or even a few game modes being trapped in a paywall but seriously, main gameplay elements? 

I would gladly pay a flat rate for the sequel! I loved the original Plants Vs. Zombies. It was fun, quirky and somewhat unique, but more importantly it was totally worth the $20 I spent on it. 

I can't stand paywalls that withhold gameplay elements. Seriously, does the industry really believe that piracy is such a problem that they think they can force us to purchase add ins? Especially when it's an iOS game for crying out loud! 

I will not be playing this sequel. I don't care if it ends up being "The best game in the history of videogames," I will not support the underhanded technique of paying to win. 

If you ask me, Popcap and EA could stand to take a pointer from Valve. Team Fortress 2 is wildly popular and it's free to play. Yet you can get almost any item for free via trading or crafting and the rest are strictly cosmetic. 

Plants Vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time really is, all about time. Spend hours, grinding your way to victory only to hit a paywall for a significant chunk of gameplay. 

Nice. Really nice, Popcap!

Published Aug. 16th 2013
View Comments
  • cocosoup
    You don't have to buy anything. If you progress throughout the game most of everything opens up.

    But if you want to jump the gun and get a few additional plants early that is where the purchase items come in.

    Coins are hardly useful unless you reach an "Oh *&^%$ !!" moment and need to quickly kill a few zombies that have penetrated your defenses.
  • Ste Grainer
    Featured Correspondent
    "With Plants Vs. Zombies 2, unlocking all the main plants will cost 19 big ones!"

    Of the plants you list that cost money, I wouldn't describe any of them as "main plants". Most of the ones in that list that appeared in the previous version had to be purchased by earning coins in-game. I was able to beat the previous game (and then some) before I had earned enough coins to purchase all of them. The biggest difference is that you can now purchase those plants with real money instead of coins earned in game.

    As far as I can tell (I've only played through the first level so far), you don't *have* to pay for anything to enjoy the game. And it looks like at least *some* of the upgrades you can purchase (Plant Food Bonus and Sun Bonus) are available by unlocking gates in the first map. You can unlock gates without paying as well. I'm willing to guess other things you can pay for can be unlocked in later levels, but only time (and more playing) will tell.

    In any case, I will attempt to play through PvZ 2 in my spare time to see just how far I can progress on my own without paying a cent - more for the challenge than the thriftiness. (Then I will look for ways to thank the PvZ team and make any purchases that are worthwhile outside of that.)

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