Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

Posted On: 3/7/2014  Publisher: EA Games

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PopCap Games has taken one of their prestigious franchises and turned it into something totally brand new and exhilarating. Not only have they taken a very recognizable franchise and turned it into something new but they also shot a breath of fresh air into a genre that seemed to be getting stagnant. Yes, I am talking about Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. This game takes the franchise and the first person shooter genre to a whole new level. An extremely fun level I might add.

Garden Warfare takes everything you know about the shooter genre and packs it into one cute and beautiful third person shooter. The game looks absolutely fantastic and youíll find your favorite PvZ characters scattered throughout. One thing you do need to be aware of though is that the entire game requires that you have an Xbox Live Gold account. There is no actual single player mode even though you can play single player in the Garden Ops mode. I am not completely sure why this decision was made, but for most folks it shouldn't be a problem.

One thing you can rejoice about is the price of this game coming in at $39.99. You get a whole bunch of gaming for that low price and I have to say you definitely get your moneyís worth. There are multiple modes you can play and plenty of collectibles to be had. The replay value of this game is extremely high. For some reason, this game just never seems to get old and you continue to just want to play one more match to reach your next goal.

 
 

PopCap has really done a great job of combining the things you enjoy with shooters along with aspects of any tower defense game. Layer on the Plants vs Zombies universe and you have got an irresistible combination in my opinion. Bright colors, cute sounds and characters only add to some stellar gameplay that puts this game on the level with other great shooters on the market.

So what does this game offer you? Well, letís talk about the game modes first. The first game mode you will see listed on the menu is Garden Ops. This mode if your standard ďhordeĒ mode style of gameplay. You along with up to 3 others will face off against 10 waves of varying enemies. Your goal is to protect your garden from being destroyed by the incoming zombies. Youíll recognize a lot of the characters from the franchise making appearances throughout this mode. To mix things up, on the 5th and 10th waves there is something called the Zomboss Slots which randomly chooses the adversaries for your next wave. This adds quite a bit of variety in gameplay. At the end of the 10 waves, youíll have to escape to an extraction zone and survive until you are picked up. Think of this mode as your solo or co-op mode.

Next we have the multiplayer mode which is chock full of adversarial game variations like Team Vanquish aka Team Deathmatch as well as Gardens and Graveyards aka Conquest Mode. Team Vanquish is a lot of fun and as with regular TDM game modes the team that reaches 50 kills gets the win. Youíll have various characters to choose from in the online multiplayer as well as a special Boss Mode which Iíll discuss in a moment. The plants and the zombies offer up 4 basic characters for you to play as and you can level these characters up by completing challenges specific to each of those characters.

 
 

You can also unlock new characters buy purchasing sticker packs available in the sticker store. The sticker store offers up a variety of packs at varying coin costs. No worries, the coins are all in game currency that you will earn just by playing the game. You can purchase smaller packs in hopes of getting good stickers or you can save up your coins and buy expensive packs in hopes of obtaining a super rare card or special character. These special characters can be used in multiplayer mode. You can also unlock weapon upgrades, character customizations, potted plants and more. Donít be afraid to spend your loot because you will find it comes in very handy online when coming up against other players who have upgraded their characters. There are classic modes online that only allow for default characters which levels the playing field greatly. So no worries if you don't invest too much time in trying to collect all the stickers.

Online play is fast paced and always a blast to play. Again, even though this is a shooter in many regards it doesnít lead to the same frustrations that more realistic shooters tend to provide. That could be because of the colorful, comical nature of everything going on throughout the game. As I mentioned you can be a designated character taking on the enemy on the front lines or you can choose to do Boss Mode. Only one person on the team can be the Boss at any given time.

In Boss Mode youíll get an overhead view of the map and where your teammates are at as well as your enemies. Youíll collect either brains or sun power ups as you did in the original game. These collections allow you to perform certain tasks once you have collected enough. For instance, you can set down a healing point, or revive a teammate, or call in an air strike. Once you perform one of these abilities it will take a little time to reload before you can use it again.

 
 

The game is pretty solid with only a few short comings. Some will say the fact that you can only play this game if you have a Xbox Live Gold Account is a shortcoming. I can see an argument for that to either side. There are a few times when the camera angles will get a little wonky. And there were a few times when I was being revived by a team mate and just as I was about to be revived they got killed so now I was stuck in limbo. No one could revive me and I would have to respawn my character. Didnít happen often, but a few times was enough to make it noticeable.

I have to say that in my opinion, Garden Warfare is a great change of pace for the shooter genre. Itís not hardcore in anyway, but keeps you playing just because it is so much fun. There is enough replay value to keep you coming back for more whether its collecting all the stickers, trying to boost your stats, or just leveling up characters. With Titanfall right around the corner, I am sure that a lot of folks will make the jump over but I can see this game being popular for a while yet. At least until there are more big titles on the market. I canít suggest this game enough if you like Plants vs Zombies or you are just looking for something fun and different. Garden Warfare is well worth its price tag and more. It provides a unique and fun experience for all ages and this is one shooter you can absolutely let your kids play.

 
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