Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Review

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a unique third person shooter that manages to rejuvenate a genre that's been cursed by the same boring mechanics and dull gameplay.

Since the day of its announcement, many were skeptical about how a tower defense game would play as a shooter. Well there is only one thing to say to those people: it works. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is strictly a multiplayer game and forces you to play with others. This game trades its traditional tower defense mechanics for a third person shooter in which players control both the Plants and Zombies. 

Characters

Both sides of the battlefield have different classes that fulfill specific roles on the team. For example, the Plants have the Sunflower, who acts as the medic of the team, while the Zombies have the Scientist to satisfy the medic role.

Although the Sunflower and the Scientist are healers, they have completely different play styles. The Sunflower’s primary weapon consists of rapid fire, sun-powered bullets (similar to a machine gun), while the kooky Scientist sports a close range shotgun type of weapon.

There is a combined total of eight characters altogether. Each character has 5 different variants that add enhancements to them. For example, the Sunflower has a variant, named the Shadow Flower, who has an increased rate of fire. There are a bunch of combinations and character choices that outweigh the measly eight characters.

Gameplay

Garden Warfare is a game that rewards players who play as a team. It has three game modes to have mindless fun. The first game mode is Garden Ops, which is like horde mode in Gears of War 3. You pick a garden and your goal is to protect it until Crazy Dave comes to pick you up.

Simple enough? Not really. This mode is strictly built for players who can work together to withstand the endless waves of zombies. There are only ten waves, but each wave becomes increasingly challenging with boss waves at rounds five and ten. I played on CRRRRRAAAZY!! difficulty with some people online and although we made a really good team, the final wave was absolutely relentless and unforgiving. 

The next game mode is Team Vanquish which is just a standard team deathmatch between Zombies and Plants on small maps. The last game mode is Gardens & Graveyards, which is like the Rush game mode in the Battlefield series. The zombies need to capture the garden which would then allow them to move to subsequent gardens and then finally to the final stage which varies depending on the map being played on. 

Gardens & Graveyards is the epitome of teamwork as players need to strategize together to outwit the enemy team.The Xbox One version of the game includes two exclusive features, Boss mode and split-screen co-op. Boss mode allows the player to take control of Crazy Dave (on the plants’ side) or Zomboss (on the zombies’ side). This allows the player to show enemy locations, send health packages, or shower the enemy with explosives.  

Visuals and Sound

Garden Warfare has elegantly designed levels that range from different locales, making each map a brand new experience. The game always has an array of bright colors displayed on-screen, even on the night levels. The characters are well designed and exhibit those charming qualities we all have come to love. The plants’ leaves and petals sway according to their movements on the battlefield and seem life-like.

Garden Warfare has an exquisite soundtrack, from the title screen to the zombie waves of Garden Ops. Every song displayed is appropriately played and actually enhances the mood of the game itself. There are also remixes of the original Plants vs. Zombies theme song that creates a sense of nostalgia when played.

Ranking and Challenges

Garden Warfare, as most shooters do, has a ranking system. To be able to achieve a higher rank, challenges need to be completed beforehand. Each character have different set of challenges that are unique to them. Once the challenges fulfilled, the character levels up which in turn gives you experience points to rank up.

During a character’s first few levels, I learns special abilities to use while in combat. Afterwards, sticker packs of that character are unlock which contain taunts, customizable items and character variant pieces.

STICKERS!

One of the fascinating features of Garden Warfare is the Sticker Shop. Upon seeing a symbol of a coin on top the main menu, I immediately believed that EA had included their pay-to-win microtransactions into this game. I was completely wrong. Every action performed while playing gives the player credits that allows them to buy various sticker packs that add taunts, accessories for characters, weapon upgrades, and even new character variants.

The sticker packs vary in price. The higher the cost of the packs, the rarer the items. There is a sense of nostalgia when the player opens the packs because you’ll never know what you’re going to get, which incites the need to get more credits to buy more. Although the sticker shop is a great economy within the game, microtransactions may still be implemented in the near future.

Wrap-up

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare seemed like a skeptical idea on paper, but it turned out the complete opposite. It uses the charm of the lovable characters to create a unique and entertaining shooter that both casual and shooter audiences will enjoy. In a genre plagued with unvaried and monotonous gameplay, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare manages to revitalize the shooter genre. 

Our Rating
9
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a unique third person shooter that manages to rejuvenate a genre that's been cursed by the same boring mechanics and dull gameplay.

Contributor

Just a gamer who is trying to get the word out to the world

Published Mar. 3rd 2014
  • Samuel Franklin
    Featured Contributor
    The game looks really impressive and everything I've read about it so far seems to be positive.

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