Recently celebrating its fifth birthday, PopCap Games’ Plants vs Zombies has rode the wave of the zombie rage-tsunami that has been flooding all aspects of pop culture with style and humor.
The original Plants vs Zombies is a tower defense game where you use your limited resource of sunshine to place plants in your yard to defend it from the zombie horde. The game is highly addictive in both gameplay and strategy but also throws in very cute and cartoony graphics to give the game a very light hearted feel. This gives the game its signature unique charm.
This past year saw PopCap update the original with the release of a sequel on mobile devices along with the addition of a title first announced at E3 2013. This newest addition to the franchise is called Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare and sought to combine the charm and feel of PvZ with the gameplay of Electronic Arts’ online shooter series Battlefield.
Peashooters, Cacti and Disco Zombies oh my!
You take control of a character from one of four classes taken from the PvZ universe in a choice of four online gameplay modes. These modes are based off of ones found in the Battlefield series like Vanquish, which is Garden Warfare‘s take on deathmatch or Gardens & Graveyards which is derived from Battlefield‘s Rush mode. Also included is a co-operative mode called Garden Ops, which is similar to Horde mode found in the Gears of War franchise, where you and up to three other players defend a garden against ten waves of increasingly harder zombies.
The game is played from a third person perspective and, as stated previously, the gameplay is bases off of the Battlefield series. However unlike the Battlefield series the gunplay is very stripped down and basic. Each character has only their primary weapon and three abilities. An example of this is one of my favorite characters Chomper… Chomper is the Plants’ heavy hitting melee class. His primary attack is, of course, his chomping. Abilities include a ranged goop attack that slows zombies in their tracks, an underground burrow where he can swim under the earth and gulp up zombies from below, and the ability to plant Spikeweeds on the ground to ensnare any zombie that unknowingly walks over them.
You can never have enough support!
The one thing that sets Plants vs Zombies garden Warefare apart from the Battlefield series is that you have the ability to use support plants or zombies depending on which side you are on. These can be acquired via packs of cards that can be purchased with in-game coins earned through playing. As the zombies, one of the support items you can summon is a zombie walking around inside an outhouse. Yes I said inside an outhouse. It’s just hilarious the first time you see a walking outhouse with beady little eyes looking at you and hearing it say “Brains.”
Graphics and sound are what we have come to expect from the PvZ series. Very cute and stylized graphics along with appropriate sound effects right down to Chomper letting out a hearty burp with each zombie he swallows whole.
Now onto the negative.
There are some minor issues I have with the game however. For me though, these issues do not really take away from the overall experience. Firstly, the Xbox 360 version has some graphical pop-in issues. This happens primarily the first few seconds after you start playing on a new map or upon respawning in a new area.
Secondly, there is no easy way for you to partner up with your friends and play online outside of playing Garden Ops. To play with your friends in any of the versus modes you have to send an invite to a match that you are currently participating in and hope there is room and then there is no guarantee that you will be on the same side. The matchmaking system is inconvenient for group play and could definitely use an overhaul.
These basic issues aside, the game is an absolute blast to play. It gets even better the more character variations and customizations you can randomly unlock with the in game card packs (to which there are many). A perfect example of this is the Marine Biologist variation of the Zombie’s Scientist class where his primary weapon is a dolphin gun that fires vomit like a shotgun. Hilarious.
And now for my final thoughts.
I would highly recommend this game for kids or for the kid in all of us. It is super fun, cute, and reasonably priced. It is not the most robust shooter by far but is one of the most fun shooters I have played in a while.
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare is available on Xbox 360 for $29.99 and Xbox One for $39.99. A PC version will be available in June 2014.
Feed Your Dolphin Gun and Prepare For Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare
A review from beyond the grave of Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare.What Our Ratings Mean