GamingReview: Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

Review: Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

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I’m that guy who always knew about the Plants Vs Zombies games and never really bothered to play any of them. Knowing fully well what type of tower defence genre game it was I chose to stay clear of those types that stress me out when under pressure. I guess it’s the feeling of being rushed into making decisions whilst the enemies pile up on top of your defences as I begin to get a sweat on. As I furiously click the mouse, usually missing the target due to my palm now covered in hand sweat making the mouse slippery I make mistakes and let out a over dramatic sigh. So hearing that there was another PvZ game didn’t even trigger off any excitement. I couldn’t have been any more wrong and is perfect example for why we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.

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I’ll be honest with you, this game being released just under 2 weeks prior to Microsoft’s other big anticipated game Titanfall sounded like a suicide mission and I didn’t expect it to be anywhere near a fun. After playing for less that 15 minutes across 2 different game modes I ate my words and would happily say  Garden Warfare is currently the best game I’ve played on the Xbox One and even pushed me to thinking that it’s a close contender compared to what I’ve played from Titanfall. Yes, it’s still a tower defence game in ways and does feature customisable characters but what exactly makes this Plants Vs Zombies game so enjoyable?

Garden Warfare

So this spinoff outing isn’t the usual: plant your flowers on the garden to the left and fend off the zombies coming to invade from the right anymore. Garden Warfare is a third person shooter which is a play on the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare title. The game revolves around 3 different game modes which are available to play all online or local co-op. ‘Garden Ops’ mode is the closest mode to the original game where you and you team get dropped off onto a map and you choose 1 of 3 bases to start at. Being Plants Vs Zombies it’s actually named a garden as opposed to base but you get the idea. This Plants-only playable mode then throws waves of  Zombies at you whilst you fight them off planting turrets, or green peashooters to keep in with the theme, and healing sunflowers nearby to build up your base. Survive to wave 10 and you’d have fought off various boss zombies that require true team work to take down before being whisked away if you make it back to the pickup zone.

‘Gardens & Graveyards’ mode is similar to anyone that’s played the Rush mode in Battlefield. In this game you can play as the plants who starts with a base they have to defend against the human opponents playing the zombies. The aim is to defend that base but if it’s compromised you have to move to another base to defend as the map opens up. In total the Zombies have to destroy all 7 bases to win this mode which usually is pretty tough if you’re not a team player.

‘Team Vanquish’ is the only game mode that is probably the most relatable to most online players. Vanquish means Team Deathmatch where each side fights to 50 kills. Even though this mode doesn’t feature any bases to attackor defend it still is a fun mode to play with friends and even learn what some of the characters can do without worrying about playing the objective.

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Green fingers

Anyone well acquainted with the game franchise will already know the various characters from this game. In the Plants side you have the Peashooter, Chomper, Sunflower and Cactus. The peashooter is your foot solider who’s quick with the ability to throw a bomb and even briefly transform into a stationary ‘Pea Gatling’ gun. The Chomper looks like a Venus fly trap and  only deals in melee attacks with the ability to burrow under the surface before dealing a one hit kill attack swallowing the enemy whole. The Sunflower plays like a medic with a heal beam and can even root itself into the ground and fire the Sunbeam toasting zombies in sight. The Cactus has the more strategic role with a longer ranged weapon, deployable mines, portable ‘Tallnut  Battlement’ walls for defence and a drone which you must manually fly and shoot with.

The Zombies team consists of it’s own Foot Soldier, Engineer, Scientist and All-Star characters. The Foot Solider is strapped with a rocket launcher on it’s back that allows it to rocket jump as one of the abilities as well as fire at opponents. The Engineer is armed with a disorientating Sonic grenade as well as the zombie version of the remote drone. The Scientist has a triple barrelled  gun and has the unique ability to warp at short distances to confuse the enemies. He can lay down a Zombie Heal Station similar to the Sunflower’s Heal Flower drop and looks pretty cool with his customisable options. The All-Star is your heavy class that has a light machine gun-like American football launcher with the ability to charge forward sending opponents flying and can  deploy a Dummy Shield to hide behind when things get heated.

Both sides have characters which you can customise the appearance of, from changing the weapon skins to adding face paint to. You can purchase more accessories, hats and other power ups through the in game Sticker Shop which will reward you with random goodies and rarer ones if you save up enough coins. Anyone that collected stickers in real life will see how fun it is  filling out your profile’s sticker book. As a gamer I can see this easily becoming the micro-transaction way into this game for players that can’t be bothered to grind for the more expensive packs. Luckily, Garden Warfare allows you to face opponents at a higher skill level and still have a chance in beating them with the great balancing work they’ve put into the classes.

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Verdict

My love for this game comes from not expecting much and then having all my expectations met and bettered. With nods to other shooters on the current market and taking what works from such games a Gears of War’s horde mode and mixing in Battlefield’s fixed classes with slight alterations that doesn’t unbalance your loadout, what’s not to love? I can see the appeal for  parents happily buying their kids this game with comic violence and not feeling guilty or worried. I can see myself returning to this game frequently to tackle the Garden Ops mode on harder difficulties for a replayable challenge. And with a Boss Mode where you can take to the skies and support your troops by dropping an airstrike, healing stations and the option even resurrect  fallen team mates, a mode that has tried and failed this in other games.

SUMMARY

Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is available now on the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Xbox One version reviewed.
Sean Labode
Sean Labode
Sean has been working as a Freelance Presenter and Video Producer for the past several years. Enjoys everything Geek, from Star Trek to Marvel. Loves Chinese food. Run's Sean's Game Night YouTube Channel.

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Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is available now on the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Xbox One version reviewed.Review: Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare