When Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare debuted on the market last February, it introduced an innovative new entry in a long-running franchise. Instead of relying on the usual puzzle tactics, the game introduced a competitive multiplayer experience, where you could either jump on the side of the plants or zombies and fight for dominance on a number of maps. The game came with a number of perks, including a Garden Variety pack and the Ode To Joy Peggle Easter Egg.
However, there were some things that could be improved upon, mainly with online limitations of the game – there was only so much you could do locally. Thankfully, Popcap was listening, and will improve upon this formula with the forthcoming sequel Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. It’s bigger, better and provides more options when it comes to fragging the opposition – and that’s for players of all ages.
This time around, Garden Warfare is fully playable both online and off, featuring better single player components against bots, as well as co-op support, so you can fight locally alongside a friend in split-screen mode. This is a great option to have, as you can practice before heading online in traditional and ranked matches.
In addition, if you built any progress in the previous Garden Warfare, you’ll be able to carry it over into the new game with hardly any trouble. This goes for both sides, so if you have a Level 42 Peashooter or a grunt zombie with plenty of abilities, you can use them from the get-go.
However, variety is the spice of life, and the sequel will have lots of new characters to choose from. For our demo, we were only able to try out the zombies side of things; and yet, they provide enough variety to keep things interesting.
First up is an Imp Zombie that gets around via a large mechanized suit. This enables it to have better speed, as well as a lot of firepower to mow down opposing plants with. It’s also heavily armored, although it’s not invincible – a few well-timed hits with rockets and it could be down for the count. Still, it’s worth a try, especially if you’re a fan of heavy firepower.
Next is the pirate Zombie, one of my favorite characters in the game. He’s a lively fellow that uses a shotgun-like weapon to pick off enemies that get near him. In addition, he has secondary abilities that open up over time, including the ability to transform into a large cannon, as well as creating an explosive barrel that, surprise, takes out anything that it explodes near.
Finally, there’s Super Brainz, the Superhero Zombie, a great character that gets around quickly and knocks enemies for a loop utilizing special melee techniques. He’s a good balanced character overall, and a lot of fun.
As for the Plants side of things, there’s a new orange flower-like turret that uses shielding to deflect incoming fire, while setting up its own. In addition, there’s also a new Rose character that is good with melee strikes and deflecting enemy strikes. Although we weren’t able to try these characters out just yet, they appear to add extra balance to the Plants side of things.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 will bring back a number of modes from the original – online and off – but there will be new additions as well. One of them, which we got hands-on with during the demo, is Graveyard Ops. It works the same way as Garden Ops, except you’re playing as the Zombies and defending a large amount of tombstones. The opposition has picked up quite a bit in this mode, with both plants and robotic counterparts striking against your team.
Fortunately, along with your teammates, there are secondary defenses you can call upon to keep the enemies at bay. On certain points of the map are positions where you can activate other measures, including cannons and shields. With these in place, you’ll have additional firepower and defense, giving you a little breathing room as you take out enemies.
As expected, though, bigger enemies can be introduced later on in the map, depending how the odds work in your favor. A jackpot slot opens up in the mode, enabling anything from random killer enemies to special conditions on the map. In this case, we came across three juggernaut plants that required a great deal of firepower to bring down – a job easier said than done, even with heavy firepower.
You can level up characters, however, unlocking new abilities and cards that help balance out your team. For good measure, there are also plenty of new characters to find, all with wild designs and increased abilities. That’s a great feature that carries over from the first game, so fans have plenty to go after.
Although the game is still a ways off – it isn’t due for PS4, Xbox One and PC until sometime in 2016 – Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 promises a larger experience than the original game delivered. The offline options will make it a local favorite as well, especially with families and friends looking to have a good time.