I couldn’t tell you how many hours I burned into planting, sowing and destroying waves of the undead; I had green thumbs not from gardening mind you more because of a lack of blood flow and lack of sunlight (and whatever else would cause flesh to go green!). Plants vs. Zombies is probably one of the best known Tower Defense games ever made, developed and first published by PopCap Games, it was released in 2009 to budding gardeners/gamers and critics with the game receiving several nominations for it’s innovation and design. Since then the series has expanded with a sequel Plants vs. Zombies 2 It’s About Time, Plants vs. Zombies Adventures; a Facebook game and a board game as well as becoming a pop culture reference and did I mention this cute little music video?
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare (do you get it?) is a very different direction from the marching waves of Zombies and strategic placement of potted plants – it’s a third person shooter. Yup! Third person shooter as a plant (or zombie!)! I don’t think anyone actually asked for the game, I don’t recall seeing message boards with gamers clambering over each others yearning posts, petitions bursting with hastily scrawled signatures but here it is! For better or worse so expect plenty of flora based puns!
Now PopCap and EA weren’t so silly as to completely uproot (1) their foundations entirely from the tower defense genre and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare could really be split into two multiplayer games albeit that would a little too money hungry even for the most heartless of publishers! The seed (2) of the game is it’s multiplayer gameplay from there it branches (3) out into two separate modes – tower defense and team deathmatch! In the deathmatch mode up to twenty four players are split into two teams, plants and zombies, before they go head to head and wrack up points from kills in a race for fifty points. I’ll come back to this mode in a moment because I’ve spent more time as a Sunflower aiding my teams in the tower defense side of things!
Across various stages with different difficulty settings you can team up with your fellow flora to combat waves of overly aggressive zombies (with favourites returning from the original game albeit equipment with powerful guns!) and protect your garden from total devastation.
Your team is composed of other players and you have the option of selecting your role in the game from the supportive sunflower, sharpshooting cactus, brawling flytrap or the foot soldier pea plant – each with their own specific and unique abilities to aid in your defense. The goal is similar to that of the original TD game but you’ll be roaming and rushing around a map instead of planting yourself in one spot – killing zombies, supporting your allies and planting backup plants will all earn you coins and experience. The experience will increase your rank and help unlock new abilities and the coins can be used to buy seed packs that contain character customisation items, new character parts and seeds for planting. Of the two modes, the tower defense plays best for me, while it’s frantic and busy, it does play a lot better in terms of controls and style but that makes sense with the developers confident in their skills to develop a new if not altered TD game!
The other mode, deathmatch feels a little lacking, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare lacks the warfare side of things when compared to the bigger shooters out there but that’s not to say it’s a disappointment. The character classes actually work and feel very balanced no matter what team you play for (zombies also come with their own classes and abilities) but it’s missing the frantic, adrenalin pumping action that rushes after a kill in CoD or Halo and at first the look of the game could be blamed but it’s more than that – it just feels a little clunky and slow.
Those familiar with Team Fortress will probably take to this game like (honestly I’v run out of plant puns and jokes) a duck to water and the ability to unlock new abilities, character items and the like really gives you something to strive for but Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare doesn’t bring anything new to the table – it’s bright, colorful, fun and it’s happy being what it is but if you want something new and different you’re better off looking elsewhere!
[easyreview cat1title=”The Arcade Verdict” cat1detail=”” cat1rating=”7″]
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!