Back in 2009, Plants vs Zombies took gamers by surprise. PopCap were known for the highly addictive puzzle games Peggle and Bejeweled, and then decided to give the love it or hate it genre of tower defense a go.
Released on pretty much every format available, Plants vs Zombies received rave reviews from critics and gamers alike. It was fun, silly, challenging, long, customizable and addictive. Essentially, it was everything gamers wanted. The Xbox 360 version was a fantastic port, and it proved that a grid based tower defense game can work perfectly well on a console.
Fast forward three years to mid-2012 and gamers start to question what’s next for Plants vs Zombies. Where was the long rumored, long awaited sequel? Things didn’t look good when PopCap let a number of its staff go in a bid to reduce costs, what did that mean for the follow-up?
But fan’s rejoiced, as in early 2013 it was announced that Plants vs Zombies 2: It’s About Time will also hit every format imaginable during it’s inevitably successful release. Great, as the title suggests, it is indeed about time.
And then E3 2013 happened, and fans of the series realized that we were in fact going to be treated to TWO new Plants vs Zombies games within the next year (not including the Facebook game Plants vs Zombies Adventures). That second title is Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, one part third person shooter and one part tower defense. During E3 we saw a chunk of gameplay and early feedback has been nothing but positive.
But, and I have to be honest… I was a little worried when I first heard the announcement.
Plants vs Zombies was a hugely popular game, just like Angry Birds before it, and I was afraid that the franchise would take a similar turn to the aforementioned Angry Birds series by shoehorning itself into anything and everything it could. There are numerous Angry Birds games, toys, sodas (yes, sodas) and even a themed area at Thorpe Park in the UK – it’s safe to say they are milking the brand for all it’s worth.
The point is, they make money, so they keep doing it – and they do it until people stop caring.
Which is why I was worried when Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare was announced. I was worried that this would be the first of many new titles that were simply cashing in on the PvZ brand – and while that is thankfully NOT the case (yet, at least), what we do have is a fun, engaging, addictive multiplayer title which brings the Plants vs Zombies universe into a new genre.
The original Plants vs Zombies was a well-constructed tower defense game, and what Garden Warfare does so well is it keeps its origins firmly in mind while at the same time giving itself its own identity. It has essentially made a very difficult task seem incredibly easy.
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare combines tower defense gameplay with a third person shooter. You select your character and join game – it’s then up to you and the other players to choose a ‘base’ to defend. Once chosen, you must then lay your weapons in preparation for the onslaught which is about to happen – that onslaught, of course, being hoards of brilliantly designed, full-of-character zombies, many of which you will recognize if you have played PvZ or PvZ 2.
The character you selected (such as a pea shooter, sunflower or cactus) will each have their own ability, and along with the various arsenal of weaponry you plant in pots scattered throughout the level, you use them to destroy each wave as they attempt to attack your base. Personally, I always go for the pea shooter, as it seems to have the greatest power for knocking a zombies head clean off.
One unique feature the game has is the randomness of the bosses on each level. When it’s time for a boss wave to attack a slot machine will come on screen and select 3 random bosses, so you never know what you’re about to face and therefore you have limited time to prepare. This keeps you on your toes and gives you a great reason to replay.
The game offers a range of difficulties, so if you love the franchise but you’re not used to the gameplay the easier modes will break you and your team-mates in gently. And you do need to rely on your companions heavily during the game, and on higher difficultly levels if somebody isn’t pulling their weight then there is a good chance you won’t make it.
Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare is a great game and one franchise veterans and newbies are certain to embrace. It’s a perfect multiplayer title for the Xbox One and if all other spin-offs are of the same quality then I for one welcome our new Zombie overlords.
For more information on Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare, check out the Popcap official site.
Final Score: 8/10
What do you think about Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare? Are you a tower defense fan? Let us know in the comments below!
Article by - Mike Jeavons
Insert Date: 3/31/2014