Review | Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
The original Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare seemed an odd take on the strategy formula, but the shooter actually worked great, even if it was light on content.
Thankfully, Popcap and EA noticed this lack of content and tried adding new modes in. For the most part, these modes work nicely, even if they aren’t described in detail terribly well.
Before getting into the new modes, though, I want to talk about the six new classes, three on each side. Besides keeping all the classes from the original game (and being able to transfer unlocked power-up classes from the first game), both sides got some characters that balance teams a bit better. It’s also worth noting that Popcap put in a hero showcase to try two new variant skins for a plant and zombie each week.
On the plant side, there’s the new corn plant that wields two corn miniguns and launches butter airstrikes, a rose witch that can allow for quick hits and time freezes and a citrus with a powerful laser and ball form to get between locations quickly.
The zombies finally get a dedicated sniper with the pirate, who can also use his weapon as a shotgun at close range and has a parrot to rain down fire from above sometimes. They also get an imp that can get in a powerful suit if left alive long enough and is quick (but features low health), and a superhero that focuses on melee, but has a laser attack for long range use as well.
The game has also changed how experience is earned. Instead of being forced to do quest after quest, with no way to skip hard ones, everything can now give XP, from killing enemies to planting plants in Garden Ops to doing daily quests when you find quests you like. The levels can give new abilities to change in and out and some extra traits for classes you level up.
As far as multiplayer modes go, nothing much has changed there, which is good. You still have the normal deathmatch and attack/defend modes, some of which have a twist to victory conditions which makes the new maps all the more entertaining. The same maps are also used in the Garden Ops and zombie-specific Coffin Ops modes, meaning you can get used to a map on the Horde-style gameplay and figure out good locations that could be used in a multiplayer match.
The biggest change, though, has to be the Backyard Battleground. Instead of static menus, everything has been built into this overworld you get dropped into. Multiplayer is accessed via a portal, Garden Ops via the RV (or blimp for the zombies), stats via the central base on each side and more. The Battleground also features a constant battle of AI plants and zombies you can always hop in and join for some XP. Plus, friends can hop into your Battleground and assist you with killing, random quests that are in the world or even just finding gnomes that give money and unlock a secret for finding all of them.
The random AI can also be used for completing non-multiplayer daily quests, which can give money and stars. Stars are used to unlock chests in the world, clear rubble that can be used to place statues around the land and eventually access a minigame involving Robo-triceratops and gnomes that can give nice rewards.
Honestly, I loved the mode. I spent a lot of time just running around taking out weak enemies and some heroes for quick levels while exploring the area looking for secrets, or just rushing the enemy base to spawn huge bosses for bonus XP. Plus, with the ability to play in splitscreen and online multiplayer, it’s nice to have friends jump in with you.
It is worth noting that a lot of these overworld features aren’t explained. You never really find out what stars do until you run across an area that needs them. Also, it never really explains what to do with the flag in the middle, except to raise it after you complete a single player story mode (that’s right, there is a single player mode complete with small quests and some solo Ops quests). I never have gotten through the wave of enemies to get it completely raised yet, so I can’t actually tell you what it does, but good luck trying.
Like GW1, the sequel also has quite a bit of a grind as well. You’ll be playing match after match to build up coins to spend on packs to unlock new characters, minions to use in the Ops mode and more. You’ll also grind for experience for new levels, and stars for chances at the end-game bonus mode and finding all the chests. Thanks to the temporary unlocked classes and random ones you unlock, though, there’s still plenty of classes to try out and get used to as you unlock new characters.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 introduces a lot more bang for your buck. If you have some younger family to play with, or friends to jump into multiplayer with, Ops will be able to entertain you for months as you keep unlocking characters and items. If you’re itching for a new shooter, or even a more humorous shooter, GW2 may be right up your alley.
Final Score: 8.0