Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
Overflowing with charm, humour and a playful tone, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare provides thrills of multiplayer third-person shooters in a family friendly package. It breathes new life into the series, moving from mobile to PC and console and from 2D to 3D, introducing an entirely new way to experience the iconic characters that captivated us in 2009.
Garden Warfare sees players control the plants or the Zombies in numerous multiplayer game modes, where they work together or are pitted against one another. Drawing inspiration from other team-based shooters, such as the whacky cartoonish Team Fortress 2, Garden Warfare provides players with eight unique classes—four for either faction.
The Peashooter and Foot Soldier are the standard ranged grunts; the Chomper and the All-Star engage in close-combat; the Cacti fight at range; while the Sunflower, Scientist and Engineer support their teams in the fight to victory. Each of these classes has three unique abilities, be it launching area of effect attacks or burrowing underground, which provides that extra punch to spice up the gameplay. And, as if that wasn’t enough, players can find Flower Pots and Bone Piles around each multiplayer map in which they can place defensive turrets to further support their team, harking back to the series’ origins.
Cooperative play offers “Garden Ops”, a game mode whereby four players take control of the Plants in order to defend their garden from waves of invading zombies. Here, the gameplay stays fresh with “boss waves” whereby a slot machine spawns different boss zombies and rewards players with coins. Furthermore, as players can choose their plant-based class, gameplay offers a large variety of opportunities. Once the plants have defeated the final wave, they must escape to an extraction point and survive until the clock hits zero.
This game mode, of course, mirrors similar horde-based modes in games from Gears of War to the more recent Overwatch PvE (player versus environment) modes. Although these modes play well and provide an equal amount of thrill and laughs, Garden Warfare fails to add to the genre, instead becoming a family-friendly clone.
In competitive play, up to 24 players can compete in six different game modes. These range from team deathmatch and capture point variants to the more unique Gnome Bomb which turns the traditional CTF (capture the flag) game mode on its head. For those scared off by competitive online play, there is also Welcome Mat, which pits new players against each other as they learn.
Throughout all the types of play, players can complete unique challenges and earn coins which level up the player providing them with access to upgrades, character variants and various in game cosmetics. These all extend the game’s longevity. Furthermore, two months after the game’s original release EA added microtransactions which allows players to fast-forward their progress towards these items and upgrades in exchange for real-world currency.
The real strength of the game, however, is in its playful mood and art design. PopCap managed to transition their characters from 2D into 3D without losing any of their unique flair or charm. As such, the light-hearted and family friendly art style means it is a game that can be enjoyed by any audience. That said, the game does suffer slightly by failing to innovate the third-person shooter genre in any way, instead providing a polished, universal art style to well established game modes. Furthermore the small pool of multiplayer maps and modes does result in gameplay becoming repetitive quickly.
Nevertheless, in the right hands Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare provides a polished multiplayer fps experience which can be played, and enjoyed, by anyone.
Download Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
The number of maps and modes may be paltry in this multiplayer-driven third-person shooter, but Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare still delivers a polished experience that could become as popular as the shooters that influenced it. Gameplay is well-balanced and fast-paced, especially when taking part in full 12-on-12 matches. It also sports one of the deepest customization systems you'll see, with hundreds of available items that give your characters that personal touch. The best part, though, may be that Garden Warfare marks a departure (at least for now) from the constant nickel-and-dime microtransactions for which many EA games have become known.