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Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare Review


EA has an evil plan to hook kids as young as seven on shooter games and create a never ending conveyor belt of gamers that'll buy the likes of Titanfall and Battlefield. That's my theory anyway, after all, why else would it get Popcap, a company known for casual mobile titles, to create one of the most colourful and fun shooters that we've seen in a long time. A game so visually appealing that children can't help but watch the screen as its friendly characters blow each other to bits using all manner of weapons and gadgets. You may think Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is only for you, but you'll soon find out that this is a game which appeals to the whole family.

The very thought of Plants vs Zombies as a third person shooter is quite frankly ridiculous, however for some reason it works. This is no doubt due to the talented developers at Popcap Games, who've took an already winning formula in its popular mobile title and combined it with one of the most popular genres in gaming. Somehow this combination shouldn't work, but it does.

Garden Warfare is split into three different game modes, the first of which is Garden Ops. This mode is the closest to the original game, seeing you defend your Garden from 10 waves of zombies. Before kicking things off you'll be asked to choose from a selection of Plant 'Warriors' such as the Pea Shooter, Sunflower, Cactus and Chomper. Each Plant has its own ability, the Pea Shooter for instance can shoot peas, throw exploding beans, can leap high in the air and can even turn into a gun turret for a limited time. With the exception of shooting peas, all abilities are earned by completing certain objectives, which in turn will help your character gain in experience. Given that Garden Warfare is an online only experience, when playing this mode you'll often notice that other players will jump in and give you a hands. 



Garden Ops starts off simply enough, however as you take down the opening waves of zombies, more and tougher zombies start to appear, including boss waves which could be difficult to take down if you were on your own. Thankfully, as well as other players joining in you do have some other options to make things slightly easier as throughout the level are plant pots which you can plant various things in such as sunflowers to spawn health, or warrior plants such as the Gatling Pea which help cut into the waves of zombies before they get to your garden, although you'll still have a lot of work to do once the waves reach you, unless you go hunting for them first of course. 

Playing modes such as Garden Ops, or the Split-Screen mode (which sees you play a Garden Ops style mode with a friend but removes the 10 wave limit) will benefit you by the way of in-game currency. This then allows you to choose from and buy various booster packs, which depending on their cost, will provide access to character customisation, new weapons, character pieces and more. These packs feel like a great idea, although the items they offer can often be less than useful, well unless you want a tattoo for your Pea Shooter. Obviously it's always nice to gain new weapons and the ability to collect character pieces in order to unlock new characters is something that seems well thought out. You just get the feeling that later down the line you'll be asked to pay should you really want the cards you need as this system really feels like it has been built with micro-transactions in mind.

Perhaps the most important part to Garden Warfare is the Multiplayer mode. Although it doesn't really feel much different from other shooters in terms of objectives (Vanquish is Team Deathmatch and Gardens and Graveyards is Capture the Flag), it's still a great deal of fun. Whether you end up in a team with Plants or Zombies, each of the character's abilities seems to compliment the other. It's also pretty great that you are rewarded for helping team mates -for instance reviving someone in your team in Vanquish Mode will take away a point from the opposition. 



There's a lot more to say about Garden Warfare, although if you're interested you'll no-doubt find that out for yourself, as I don't want this review to turn into a guide rather than a critique of the game. Instead what I'd like to do is focus on what Garden Warfare brings to the genre. In this respect I must say that the most important factor within this game is fun. Garden Warfare doesn't really innovate or surprise, I also worry that unless we are met with a barrage of free DLC, that the severs will be empty within a few months. I'm still also undecided if there is enough content to justify the cost, given that there are only a few multiplayer game modes and around 10 maps. But for all these worries, 'fun' is the one word always shines through. So far I've not been able to stop playing, I've even got to the top of the leaderboard in a few matches, which is unheard of for me in shooter games. I love the fact you can blow up four zombies with one explosive bean; I love the fact you can revive teammates and heal them and I love the graphics, the colourful and fun characters and the fact that everyone playing seems to be having a brilliant time.

Like I say, there is so much more to talk about, such as it being just as much fun to be on the zombies team, or the fact that you or a friend can help the team by healing, dropping air strikes and reviving using Boss Mode via SmartGlass. Garden Warfare is lots of fun, but my main concern would be if the game has enough staying power to keep people on the servers over a prolonged period of time. 

There is no doubt that Popcap has outdone itself with Garden Warfare, no-one could have expected the game to come out quite as well as it has. If there is one big negative, it's that there must be an air of caution here, because games are expensive and whether this will only be an investment for the short term remains to be seen.

Words by Joe Anderson.
(Version Tested: Xbox One)

Pros

+ Great fun
+ Appealing Characters and Abilities
+ Fast and Frantic 

Cons

- Questions on Longevity
- Game Modes could be more original

Edited On 02 Mar, 2014

Comments
( 21 )
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
They have said that they will be adding new maps and gameplay modes for free with the first coming in March which is good. THe food thing with the leaderboards is that they don't just rely on kills its about playing as a team.
Joe2120's avatar
Joe2120 3 years ago
Never knew that. That's good, I think it needs new stuff for free.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Btw Micro-transactions are to be patched in on Day 1
Anonymous user's avatar
Kristan 3 years ago
@Loli-Nox-Tan, day one has been and gone, no micro transactions so no point lying
JoeToots's avatar
JoeToots 3 years ago
Yes Nox stop lying douche bag.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Ok I'm sorry, I never knew the game was already out but all you got to do is look at what the Producer said. "We're not going to have any microtransactions at all at launch" Keyword: Launch
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
While there are not microtransactions yet there is always a possibility that they will add them and it will work like it did in Mass Effect where you could pay to get them quicker.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
"pay to get them quicker" That is what microtransactions are Genius
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
They are not all the time, some give you stuff you can only get through microtransaction be it characters or cosmetic items that are only obtainable if you buy them with real money.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
You heard it hear first folks. Borderlands 2 has microtransactions since you have to pay for the Mechromancer & Psycho Characters
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
Technically yes. You pay a small amount of money to get something extra in a game so technically all DLC is a microtransaction but for some reason people now only seem to think a microtransaction gets you in game currency.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Lol. Turns out Borderlands 2 does have microtransactions but my point still stands
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
yes technically all DLC for games are microtransactions but the most commonly used microtransactions are the ones that speed up the process of getting something
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
& you can't have those without somehow messing with your progression system in said game along the way
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
If your initial point is that they may bring microtransaction to plants vs zombies then I agreed with you.
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
Some games can do them right others can't but then thats down to the developers/ publishers.For the likes of Mass Effect 3 you could purchase the points to get the packs earlier however it didn't take long to get the currency required two or three matches and you could get the most expensive box without having to pay a thing.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Yeah that was my point. I don't care anyway though since I have never played PvZ before & I don't plan to start now, I just like discussing stuff
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
When it comes out on PC I would recommend trying it, the games pretty fun and well balanced just now.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Nah, I have Orcs must Die & Revenge of the Titans for my Tower Defence needs (Also have Sanctum 1&2 though I haven't played them)
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
Not really tower defence though, it has the garden ops mode which is but it also has the vs modes. It has normal tdm and a mode thats mix of battlefields rush and conquest.
Im Going Space's avatar
Im Going Space 3 years ago
Can't agree with the opening statement more. Downloaded it on friday, and my nephew who is 5, came in and wanted to play it. Note on the microtransactions, youll not need it unless you are REALLY impatient. As the ingame unlocks range from 1,000 to 50,000 credits. An average game nets 4000 odd. Not much to unlock stuff. Character rank is based on challenges rather than points which is nice.

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