PC / Xbox 360 / Xbox One

Guest Review! – Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

Here’s our first Guest Post of 2014, and from a brand new contributor! Friend of the site, James Page, has been kind enough to write a full review of Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare for HippoChippies. You can check out where to find more of James at the end of this review.

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Since 2009, PopCap Games has been building a legacy of the popular tower defense game which has spanned into a sequel, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time.  With its major success, PopCap has now released Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare on Xbox One and Xbox 360.  I picked this game up on release day last week and have been playing all week long.  After pouring several hours into the game, I can honestly say that it is exactly the experience that I hoped for, expect for maybe one or two complaints.  The game has been an experience that I am happy to say that I have been a part of.

PvZ Garden Warfare doesn’t have a story involved in its 40 dollar price tag.  The game is an only online multiplayer game that has five different modes to it as well as a mode called Garden Ops.  The problem with this is that out of the five modes, one is a beginners mode.  The other four modes are really only two modes.  One mode is Team Vanquish (which also has another mode called Classic Team Vanquish) which is your standard team deathmatch.  The other mode is Gardens and Graveyards and classic Gardens and Graveyards.  This is a mix of the Rush mode and Conquest mode from the Battlefield games series.  Finally Garden Ops is just like the Horde mode from the Gears of War series.  These modes are unique to PvZ and make each mode fun.  The problem is that there are far too few maps and modes for the game.  The game presents itself well, and even has extremely unique character classes and hundreds of options for customization but with the few maps and modes, the game can grow stale after more than a few hours of continuous play.  That being said, if you take several hour breaks between a couple hours of play, the game stays fun.  Although you can’t play it all day long and it not get repetitive, the game is ambitious and extremely creative and although there are few modes and maps, for 40 dollars it’s hard to complain.

The graphics in PvZ Garden Warfare are gorgeous.  The graphics are 900p on Xbox One and everything looks fantastic.  It is one of the most beautiful looking animated, cartoon-like games I have ever played.  The only thing that keeps the graphics from getting a perfect score is the texture glitches that happen every now and then in such a small multiplayer game.  No game is perfect in the texture department but I have had texture pop ins and outs several times in the past week but other then the occasional texture issue, the game is beautiful.

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Sound:  The sound is the best and worst thing about this game.  The sounds that guns make, the grunts from zombies and plants and every sound effect in game is fantastic.  If sound effects and soundtracks were different categories this would get a perfect ten out of ten.  The problem is that they are calculated together in my reviews and the music is repetitive an unimaginative.  The music is by no means bad.  In fact, the music itself is okay.  But the problem is that there are only two to four tracks in the whole game.  Think about how repetitive that will get and you realize the problem.

The gameplay is phenomenal.  I never imagined that a Plants vs. Zombies third person shooter could feel and control so great.  The developers really outdid themselves with the gameplay and gave us something that feels fresh and unique.  Each plant and zombie has its own special abilities and they are different than anything you have experienced in a long time.  I would play the game just for its gameplay for hours straight.  I just hope other games can take this level of gameplay and apply it to other games in the future.

PvZ Garden warfare is surprisingly fun to play.  In fact, it is the most entertaining multiplayer game I have played in as long as I can remember.  The game itself shouldn’t really be as entertaining as it is simply because of the lack of modes and maps but the addicting nature of the flawless gameplay makes it entertaining.  It isn’t the most entertaining game I have ever played in my life but it is extremely fun and will keep me occupied for more than just a couple hours a day.

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The replay value is tricky.  Since the game has no story, I can’t base replay off of going back after you have beaten the story so I have to base it off of something else.  The game is fun to replay for several days as long as you have a goal to strive for.  PopCap games did an excellent job of giving you that goal.  Throughout the game, you gain coins which will buy you different packs of cards and the more you spend, the more different kinds of characters you can unlock and try out on the battlefield (each of these characters are slight character variations that give the four main classes different stat boosts or different weapons but main abilities stay the same).  As long as you are striving to get these characters, the replay value is great.  I can already tell now though that whenever all characters are unlocked, the replay value will be bad.  In fact, from the minute the last character is unlocked, you will probably only want to play a few more hours depending on if you like the character or not.  After that, you will set the game aside and probably not play it again for a long time or ever again unless you are bored and have no other game to play. I would say that replay value is good but after a while it will start to lose its flavor and eventually drift into the wind.

Verdict:  Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare is a blast.  It is a blast of fresh air and a great new take on the shooter genre. It has a few minor hiccups here and there but as a whole the experience is great.  Total Rating: 8.5/10

Suggested Price:  I have to suggest buying this game new for full price.  Show support for this 40 dollar game cause not only do they deliver a great game for 20 dollars less then most but also, you do not have to spend microtransactions to acquire the items and characters in the game because as of now, there are no microtransactions.  Give the developers (PopCap Games) the love they deserve and buy it new.  As much as I love used prices, I still recommend buying it new to give PopCap games the revenue they deserve for this great game.

You can find more of James Page on his Facebook, and you can follow him on Twitter @JHPage94. He’ll also be appearing as a guest on our Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Spoilercast.

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