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Tags: USA  


Writer Rating: 5.0000
Posted on 2016-03-12
Writer Description: Evanvinh
This writer has written 733 articles.

BY DAVE RUDDEN When it comes to shooter sequels, the delightfully animated and colorful Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 shows just the kind of growth I like to see. Like a big juicy brain, there’s lots to chew on with a variety of single-player and multiplayer modes, maps, and customization options.

While the simplicity and ease of use of the original quartet of characters on each side will be attractive to series newcomers and can certainly hold their own in battle,Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2's biggest attraction are the six interesting new classes and their fun abilities. On the Plants side, Kernel Corn brings much-needed heavy firepower to the floral troops with a rocket launcher, gun-assisted rocket jump, and airstrike abilities, balanced out by his extremely slow movement. The orange-based Citron is almost the exact opposite; he’s very defense-based, with a temporary shield ability and a ball form that can get him out of action fast. The magic-using Rose is the real wild card, as she can slow down enemies, turn them into goats, or even very briefly turn into an apparition with a powerful attack. While Rose has a bit higher of a learning curve, she can be pretty useful once you master some of her weirder attacks.As for the Zombies, there’s the melee-focused Super Brainz, who has extremely potent up-close attacks to compensate for underwhelming projectiles, and the Imp, who has extremely low health but – if he lives long enough – can summon a powerful mech every few minutes. If there’s one weak spot amongst the new crew, it’s Captain Deadbeard. He has a decent cannon attack, but his other abilities are done better by other troops and his primary weapon isn't quite up to snuff with the rest of the new recruits.

Feeling Wilted


Then there’s the original set of four characters on each side, but they’ve been in short supply in online matches thus far for good reason; short of the healer class, there’s little beckoning a return to Garden Warfare’s founders when the new classes have so many more interesting things to do.Across the board, Garden Warfare 2 could be a bit more welcoming to newcomers; instead of proper tutorials introducing each new skill, 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. If you're a complete newcomer, good luck – there are no such intros for the original Garden Warfare warriors.

For the entire cast, the character customization lets you expand their look and abilities via random cards in purchased packs (with earned in-game currency), and that’s is the constant carrot that's kept me playing Garden Warfare 2. Whether it's new attire like a jiffy pop hat for Kernel Corn, a harmonica for Citron, a Batman-like mask for Super Brainz, or entire character variants that offer neat tweaks to weapons or abilities (like a witch doctor Rose who shoots poison or a Deadbeard variant with a rocket launcher you can detonate in midair), I've found myself playing an extra match here and there to earn enough for a slightly more promising pack. The fact that the 75,000 coins to purchase the priciest packs that guarantee character variants can be earned within two hours of hard-fought battles makes the in-game economy tough but fair.With almost every standard shooter mode under the sun already a part of the PVZ experience and carried over from the original and its DLC, Plants vs Zombies 2’s truly new features are more about making sure Plants and Zombies can enjoy everything equally. There's now a Plant-focused version of the highly competitive capture-and-defend mode Gardens and Graveyards called Herbal Assault, while the prize flower of Plants vs. Zombies – the wave-based co-op of Garden Ops – can now be played with Zombies under the name Graveyard Ops. Allowing us to use all these diverse classes in every mode is a great improvement.While it’s great fun to go online and join in the often-crazy 24-player war between the eponymous factions, just about every single mode can also be tackled with AI partners and enemies, and in split-screen co-op. Even better, you can customize the layouts of each team and apply crazy modifiers like never-empty weapons, double speed, or crazy knockbacks that send you across the map when hit. The AI is pretty good, though it’s not the best at handling Imps - on higher difficulties they usually die long before their mechs are ready.

he go-it-alone experience is best in the wave-based Ops modes, where you can spawn three teammates and hot-swap between them to take on the randomized enemies. Garden Warfare 2 never needles you to switch up characters, but doing so is the best way to learn new ways to fight outside your preferred Plant or Zombie.

Aside from that, Garden Warfare 2 has some underwhelming mission-based campaigns for each side. Each mission is a slight tweak on a multiplayer mode, save for the crazy final mission. I don't want to spoil it, but the insanity of the new wave-based combat style is a wonderful capper that I was glad to jump right back into, even if it is a weird thematic shift. While the less-dynamic missions are still a good way to earn some coins and learn the ropes before heading online, I’ve had more of an impetus to keep playing thanks to the constantly changing active quests that offer up bonus XP multipliers and extra currency. Whether it’s taking out a specific enemy type a certain amount of times, notching kills with particular abilities, or just winning in a specific mode, I’ve found myself using the active quests as inspiration to try mix up my playstyle.

The Verdict

Under its attractively bright and cartoony art style, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 has a great amount of modes and customization options to enjoy, whether alone against the AI or with online allies and enemies. The interesting abilities options of the six new character classes gave me something to sink my teeth into, and the customization options are a great reward for playing outside my comfort zone. The sheer amount of enjoyment in this full garden will keep me in the war for some time to come.



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