PopCap meets Frostbite 3 in this experimental third-person shooter.
Developer(s): PopCap Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
PLAYED ON XBOX ONE
ALSO AVAILABLE ON PS4, PC, PS3 AND X360
In recent years, there's been a surge in popularity of mobile games. And while other titles have had a strong, but forgettable appearance on iOS and Android (such as Flappy Bird), there's one particular franchise that has had a lasting impression on gamers everywhere. Plants vs. Zombies first launched in 2009 with a mass appeal that slowly spread across every imaginable gaming platform. It's certainly left its mark on modern day gaming, with merchandise and sequels that proved a hit. But one thing I'll admit is that I really wasn't expecting PopCap to lean towards a third-person multiplayer action title that revolves around the world of PvZ, where we first heard about the game at E3 2013. I was way too excited for this game, but only because it seemed like such a radical concept for an extremely cartoonish, family-friendly franchise.
In hindsight, it really does make sense. Garden Warfare is a charming parody of all things action and gun shooting. It prides itself on its brilliant realisation of the world that started on mobile and PC some five years ago, holding everything the series stands for very close to it. With signature character abilities available for everyone right from the start, like the sunflower's jolly attitude (even in the face of adversity) to the potted sunflower's collectable sun orbs for all-important, mid-battle healing, and nods to Crazy Dave's taco addiction. And what it has going for it in the smaller details, it does an impressive job doing in its experimental TPS mechanics and multiplayer warfare aspects. Fan-favourite characters like the peashooter, sunflower, zombie foot soldier grunt and undead engineer (with that sexy buttcrack showing) return, all sporting their own weapons; it makes for some enjoyable running and blasting moments with more on the side.
PvZ: GW knows what it wants to do and does it well. Your typical garden defense modes are back and better than ever, and gorgeously presented in a smooth 60fps for pick-up-and-play sessions. Build up your garden, fortify your base and hold off against the comically deranged zombie army. Grab a buddy and blast the heads off of the characters that will make you say "Hey, I know that one! He's the one with the cone on his head! Marvellous!" and rekindle your love with the name that arguably changed the face of strategy/tower defense titles. And don't get me wrong, Garden Warfare continues the "Okay, just one more round" trend that began when you thought you'd be bored after a while, but then realised that you couldn't put the bloody game down and upon doing so, felt bad about it and was dying to return. It's because it's just so attractive in the way it presents such a colourful world and a fun competitive experience that greatly differs from that of which we see today. Frostbite 3 (the game's engine) is also borrowed from Swedish developers DICE, well known for their work on Battlefield and the yet-to-be-released Star Wars: Battlefront (as well as Mirror's Edge for those with an above average memory) which admittedly doesn't add much to a game that doesn't care to go for a destructable world, and rightfully so, but one would assume it's to add the allure to potential consumers who enjoy online gaming in its entirety. Nonetheless, it's a fluent game that needs little on the side to attract gamers to its awesome universe. Customisation certainly isn't bad either, with very FIFA UT-style sticker packs available for unlock via coins (collected through all game modes and easy to acquire) which allows players access to a set of items, tattoos, weapon skins, character skins, perks, etc for use on different characters, ranked in a rarity scale from common to ultra-rare. Different styles of booster packs available, as well as ones unlocked through levelling make for a rewarding journey through the ranks of multiplayer to the top. It's EA's way of running things, and they certainly know how to keep players going after release.
PopCap Games' meeting with EA has made for some cracking games recently, and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare's venture onto XBOX ONE proves that developers can still very much invest their time and money into the more unusual and quirky of titles, provided it has that seductive gameplay style and visual appeal that drags gamers in from all genres and tastes. Solid shooting, cool personalisation and lovingly-crafted environments show other solely online titles where the good stuff's at. Definitely worth a play.
Me Love Cars - Founder of Motopedia, Gameopedia, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Wiki, Gran Turismo Wiki and TV and Film Wiki. 03:58, March 3, 2014 (UTC)
Great map design.
Sweet character personalisation.
Solid shooting mechanics.
Uninspired multiplayer game modes (and lack thereof).
A cracking shot at something new to kick off the new generation of gaming, and one that everyone can enjoy.