Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare Review–Did Zoolander Make This?

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Why might have Derek Zoolander made it? ‘Cause they’re both really really ridiculously good looking.

If there is any single word that can describe Popcap’s Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare it is absolutelyfrickinridicucrazy. Look it up. It’s strange to think that Plants vs Zombies started out as a simple mobile game when you see what it has evolved into. However without a doubt, it has all been for the better.

The first thing that stands out about Plants vs Zombies is just how wild and zany it is. No other game can provide an experience where you fight with and against zombies and lush vegetation. And it is the game’s core concepts of simplicity and ridiculousness;┬áprancin around in war shooting peas, beaming sunflowers, and running tackles as a zombie football player that makes Garden Warfare so great.

As you may imagine, the game’s humor knows no bounds, my favorite example of this being the Zombie Engineer, who is overweight and unhygienic–his butt-crack just constantly collecting a breeze. Really, there is no limit to how ridiculous Garden Warfare is, and it all comes together into an incredibly hilarious, enjoyable experience.

You came to the wrong neighborhood, mothaf-

You came to the wrong hood, mothaf-

However, do not let the game’s silliness mistake you, Plants vs Zombies is still a 3rd person shooter with some intense shooting mechanics. Garden Warfare is ultimately structured around class-based combat that players of games like Mass Effect will feel at home with. The shooting mechanics are great, and each individual character has its own unique feel that contributes to the match in its own distinctive way. Classes consist of your more “simple” artillery and firepower classes such as the Peashooter or the Zombie Footsoldier, support classes such as the Sunflower and Scientist, in-your-face heavy hitters such as the Chomper and All-Star, and more tactical characters as the Cactus and Engineer. As mentioned, even if in the same “class,” these combatants are all incredibly unique and do profusely different things.

They didn't dub it Grass Effect for nothing, there really are a lot of similarities

They didn’t dub it Grass Effect for nothing, there really are a lot of similarities

One thing I really appreciate about Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare is how accessible it is to all types of gamers with a wide range of skill levels. There’s little doubt that the game, if only in part, is targeting younger audiences. However, that should not lead you to believe that this is a kids’ game, because that would be a grave injustice. This game boasts several difficulties of play, ranging from Easy to Crazy, which allows for any player of any skill level to jump in and enjoy. Kids will be able to dive straight in and laugh at the hilarity of the game (or call your mother a whore, whichever). But even skilled, “hardcore” players will find plenty of challenge in the higher difficulties that definitively weeds out the “casual players” the game undoubtedly attracts. There is certainly something for any sort of player in Plants vs Zombie Garden Warfare, so do not let its childish, immature facade fool you into believing that it isn’t a game of serious skill.

As mentioned above, Garden Warfare is also really really incredibly good looking (Zoolander, anyone?). I will admit that I never expected this game to be something worthy of art and graphical praise, but I am very pleasantly surprised that it is. Indeed, figures look wonderfully polished and rounded, no awkward contours or lines of polygons (Seriously, I could watch the Sunflower bounce from behind all day. That wasn’t meant to sound creepy. Oh well.). But what really makes the game’s visuals come alive is the fantastic art design. Characters are designed in a cartoon style, with exaggerated limbs (boughs?) and bulging eyeballs. Colors are bright, vivid, and varied, and really help keep your senses alive and engaged. Maps are large, yet remain incredibly detailed. Really, it is all just a treat to stare at if you can ever find some respite from being shot at.

Ever wondered what it would be like to terrorize your foes as garlic? No? I'm pretty sure you're wrong.

Ever wondered what it would be like to terrorize your foes as garlic? No? I’m pretty sure you’re wrong.

Character customization is also a fun exercise in the game’s ridiculousness. All characters can obtain accessories to personalize themselves apart from others of the same class. True to the game’s zany nature, customization does not exactly involve simple changes in color or size. No, here you can do up your characters with some truly hilarious stuff; hippie sunglasses for your Sunflower, motorbike pipes for your Chomper, Shark Heads for your Scientist, and so, so, so much more. Really, Pop Cap’s board meeting where they decided all these different customization options must have been one of the funniest meetings in all of time and space. All the customization options really add to the wacky atmosphere of the game, and adds a fair bit of extra things to ogle over.

I mean c'mon, how wonderfully ridiculous is that?

I mean c’mon, how wonderfully ridiculous is that?

Still, there are some odd things about Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare that can be a bit frustrating. First at bat is obtaining coins for new packs (game currency which unlocks new items, accessories, characters, consumables, etc.). The better packs are a bit on the expensive side, and playing any given game mode doesn’t yield a significant amount of coins unless you perform incredibly well. Assuming you are an average performer, players will be playing for quite some time before they have amassed enough coins to buy a good pack of items. It’s a bit disheartening to see you’ve played a great match only to still be pretty short of buying a good pack that contains more than just consumables.

Yo man you want some blow?

Yo man you want some blow?

The other odd thing about Garden Warfare is the strange leveling system. Most games level characters via experience. But rather than follow a traditional system that is more logical and intuitive, Garden Warfare opts for a leveling system based upon the completion of challenges. Here, in order to level up a character, players will have to complete a certain set of tasks with a particular character such as “Vanquish three enemies from an elevated position” and “Damage enemies five times using the Corn Strike” to rank up. Really, it’s a quirky system that is at times both frustrating and senseless.

In this game, the level of a character is not necessarily correlated with skill and experience, but rather, how quick somebody can complete a set of challenges. While most challenges to leveling are simple and doable enough, there are others that are a bit on the pointless side that can be frustrating.

Still, don’t think that for its flaws, Garden Warfare is a game you should hesitate to purchase. For the price ($40 for the Xbox One version, $30 for others), it’s a parcel of fun and wacky shooting that cannot be beat. Packed with wild fun and outstanding visuals, Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare is a 3rd-person shooter that will have you laughing and playing for hours on end.

Final Breakdown

[+Silly, zany fun] [+Plenty of characters, classes] [+Accessible to all skill levels] [+Fantastic visuals, 3D rendering] [+Fun customization] [-Unlocking new things is tedious] [-Awkward leveling system]

Great Review Score

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About Author

(Editor in Chief)

Alex is the name. I'm a 20-something year old student of law at the University of Florida. Some of my favorite games are Pokemon, Mass Effect, Persona, Titanfall, and Final Fantasy. Outside of games, I lose my cool for such things as the Chicago Bears, Florida Gators, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, and Power Rangers. Always happy to have a conversation about literally everything besides Seinfeld. Send me stupidities on Twitter @thecastroregime!

  • http://walkingoceans.bandcamp.com Terrence Vitali

    Great review, Alex! I’m right there with ya, loving the hell out of this game but the leveling system is a little wonky. I think you earn coins at a pretty decent clip, but you do have to perform well. All the customization is awesome, but what makes it so great is just really solid gameplay mechanics.