Several months after the release of the highly anticipated Peggle 2 as an exclusive to Xbox 1, Popcap and EA have come up with a fun, cute shooter to continue a close relationship between Microsoft and Popcap. Though not without some faults, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is the first attempt at something outside the normal lane defense game of the first two installments of the series.
With not much story to fill in the normal questions of who, what, when, where or why; you can assume the role of 4 different plants or zombies to play several modes on or offline with friends. Like most co-op shooters, there are classes on both sides filling the typical roles of tank, healer, and damage dealer. Added in is the option to set up defenses within potted plants placed around the map or to spawn zombies with packets you purchased from the store with money earned for playing rounds or completing challenges set forth in the game.
Frustratingly, there is a glaring lack of tutorials on how to do any of this and you end up stumbling around for several rounds until you learn how to do simple things; like how to buy seed packets to help shore up defenses. This seems surprising for Popcap considering they usually have long and annoying tutorial segments at the beginning of all their other games. Once you figure things out and start to level up the different classes and learning new abilities; the game that seemed cute and mindless on the surface, ends up becoming more interesting and cunning as you delve deeper into the content. The leveling system is different in the sense you are not just killing things to gain experience to level up. Instead they set forth challenges to complete in order to gain a new level. You may need to use a class power a number of times or kill a certain type of enemy and even revive fellow teammates.
Classes seem balanced and controls handle well. The classes that stood out to me are the Cactus on the Plant’s side that serves as the team sniper and defensive expert with abilities like the Walnut Barrier and Potato Mines you can set around the map. The Zombie’s Scientist is also really cool and he acts like a healer with deployable healing zones and is a close combat fighter with a shotgun like weapon combined with a teleport ability that allows them to close distances quickly to get into the heat of battle. The AI offers a fun challenge and the boss slot machine adds replay ability to the Garden Defense mode.
Polished nicely as you would come to expect from a company like Popcap, I can’t really get behind the high price of $39.99. It still doesn't feel like a lot of content for such a high price. Though still entertaining, it might be better to wait for a price drop or for it to go on sale.