gamebox.jpgIt’s grow time

Developed by PopCap Vancouver, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 is the sequel to one of the most refreshing and entertaining shooting franchises in recent memory—Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare. Building upon the over the top humour, and deep rewarding first-person shooter gameplay that made Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare so fun to play; Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 expands the franchise to all new heights.

With 12 new maps, six new character classes, over 100 unique characters to collect, an all-new Solo Player mode, a new 24-player Herbal Assault mode, the ability to import your characters from the first game, and a whole whack of new multiplayer maps—the fight for Suburbia has never been this much fun.

Game Details

Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Developer: PopCap Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Tower defense, Third-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E10 (Everyone 10+)

A new way to experience the Plants vs. Zombie Garden Warfare universe
Fans of the first game will quickly notice the new and improved interface implemented within Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2. The menus are gone, and have been replaced with the all-new Backyard Battleground hub screen as pictured below. Here you can access multiplayer modes, private matches with friends, or solo play in any game mode via the Portal.

You’ll also notice that the world of Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 is absolutely gorgeous. The environments throughout the game have a nice variety of settings, and embrace a diverse colour palate that is pleasing to the eye.

A unique feature of the Backyard Battleground, is the ability to access vending machines where you can get sticker packs—open them to access new characters, and customize your character’s abilities. There are also a whole slew of secrets and explorable areas to discover such as docks, parks, sewers, and caves. Each area has its own unique rewards for those with a keen eye.

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Bigger and badder characters

All of the legendary character classes make their return from the first game including the healing Zombie Scientist, the long-range specialist Cactus, and the infantry Pea Shooter. However, it’s the six new character classes, which make their debut in Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2, which will draw you to this game.

New plant class playable characters include Kernel Corn, a giant piece of corn, who comes equipped with a massively devastating rocket launcher, airstrike abilities, and a gun-assisted rocket jump that is simply awesome. Conversely, the time traveling, bounty hunting orange, Citron, is a defense-based character, with a transformation ability that allows him to get in on the action faster than any other Plant. Rounding out the new characters for the plant class is Rose, an extremely powerful sorceress, with a fully automatic weapon that fires homing projectiles. Rose’s projectiles can’t easily be dodged—making her a force to be reckoned with and my favourite plant class character.

Meanwhile, new playable zombie class characters include Imp and Z-Mech (summoned by Imp). The smallest and most agile of the zombies, Imp can double-jump, and hover in a blink of an eye. The best thing about Imp is his secret weapon, Z-Mech who can be summoned every few minutes and comes equipped with a Robo Laser. Delivering massive damage, and housing a colossal health gauge—Z-Mech is virtually indestructible. Captain Deadbeard, a peg-legged captain, has a Scurvy Scattershot that can damage enemies at close range, while his Spyglass Shot can be used to zoom in and take out enemies from a distance. Last but certainly not least is Super Brainz, his three-hit punch combo and long-range hand laser will help you smash your way to victory.

While it may take you some time to determine the right balance for the new character classes, there’s no doubt that the new classes are superior to the original characters. They all feel intuitive to use, and fill voids that were present in Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare.

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New and expanded ways to play
New to the Plants vs. Zombie Garden Warfare franchise, is a single player campaign mode with AI companions. While the previous game focused on the tower defense aspect of the original mobile games with a third-person shooter flair, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 has an actual narrative, and a story for each side. Gameplay within the story is a combination of the several different modes you can play with others, as well as huge battles against hordes of enemies. It’s a great place for you to start if you are new to the franchise.These missions are intended to give you some insight into the wild and wacky world of Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, and can at times be quite comical.

Even though the single player campaign is fun, it is the multiplayer that will get you hooked on this game. Plants vs. Zombie Garden Warfare 2 manages to expand upon the multiplayer aspect that made its predecessor fun to play. Thanks to the inclusion of several new ways to play and the six new character classes, choosing the perfect team combination adds an overall depth to the game that was not present in the first game. Do you stock up on healers and choose some brutes to help you charge through? Or, do you use the new magical abilities and supplement those with ranged forces? There are many options, and it is possible to make them all work as you move together as a team.

One of my favourite new modes that I had a blast with is the 4-player, zombie focused co-op mode called Graveyard Ops. Similar to Garden Ops from Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare, roles are reversed and now the zombies are on the defense and plants are on the attacking side. Your objective is simple; protect your base from ten waves of Plants or Zombies. If your base’s health bar is reduced to zero before the end of the tenth wave, or all four players are knocked out, it’s game over. If you survive to the 11th wave, everyone must rush to the landing zone and survive by the end of the 1:15 time limit. If you are within the landing zone by the time the clock reaches zero you will escape and win.

Final thoughts
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 does the unthinkable and takes an already fantastic franchise and makes it even better. However, I do wish that there were proper tutorials introducing each new skill for the character classes. As it stands, there are only brief videos without any text or dialogue to demonstrate, and it doesn’t give you much of an idea as to how they’re actually best used. In addition, if you are new to the franchise, there are no such videos for the original Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare characters.

Offering a substantial amount of gameplay modes and customization options, Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 is a sure fire hit. Not to mention, there are free content updates planned—Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 is only going to get bigger and better with each update. If loved the first game, you will love Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2— it’s some of the most fun I have had in a multiplayer game in recent memory.

+ Exquisitely crafted world that is absolutely gorgeous
+ An abundance of gameplay modes and options
+ Six new character classes are even better than the original characters
+ Multiplayer and co-op experience will keep you playing until the early hours of the morning

– Frame rate hit during split-screen gameplay
– Mission design can get a little repetitive

OVERALL

Gameplay: 4.5/5
Graphics: 4.5/5
Sound: 4/5
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5

Overall Rating 4.5/5 (90%)

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