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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 – A Garden of Variety and Insanity

Garden Warfare 2 by Popcap Games is a whimsical third-person shooter and tower defense game set in the Plants vs. Zombies universe; where unsurprisingly, plants battle against zombies with bizarre weaponry ranging from a butter airstrike to a super-zombie’s beam attack. Yeap, welcome to a very confusing world of colour and surrealism.

The sequel to the original Garden Warfare, a multiplayer-only game, GW2 brings it all back with a fun (but short) single-player campaign. Be warned – the writing is very cheesy, and only people with a toddler’s sense of humour find them hilarious. Of course, not only did I feel right at home, GW2’s world was a breath of fresh air for me. Much like the Borderlands franchise, this game takes pride in ridiculousness. Certain zombies with loose pants will reveal their butt cracks, there are ridiculous conversational choices and yet, nobody says any actual words.

20160313200809_1Also, the game itself looks fantastic. There is a distinct colour palate for each faction, and different plants and zombies have their own themes. For example, Citron is an orange from the future, wears cool futuristic shades, and carry a cool futuristic gun. Plus, you can easily switch over to the zombie side to try the All-Star, a zombie jock who has decided to put his athletic talents to vanquishing plants. There are 14 different classes, each with different variants, amounting to over 100 characters for the player to try.

20160316124258_1The multiplayer is mayhem incarnate, in a really good way, a riotous display of colour and particles.  The lobby size goes up to 24 players (you hear that Call of Duty?),with a wide variety of game modes, including Turf Takeover, a mixture of tower-defence and Capture the Flag, or Team Vanquish, which is good old Deathmatch. Moreover, Popcap constantly adds new games modes and content to the game, which is much appreciated. Objectives range from defending your base from the enemy, to ruining the party at Zombie Manor by vandalising it with toilet paper (no one said the game is mature). It is a genuine blast to run around and shoot corn at zombies, and games can get unbelievably chaotic.

20160316141903_1However, there are still some issues with the game. First and foremost, the levelling system can get really tedious. As mentioned, there are over 100 characters in Garden Warfare 2. And you need to level them up individually. Welcome to the grind. There is no overall levelling system for the player and the only thing to aid is an experience multiplier earned by clearing quests.

The shopping system is also totally random. There is no other way to purchase items except through the use of a “Sticker Shop”, which is basically a multitude of booster packs. Thus, everything becomes a lottery. See a Fire Rose variant that you really like? You just have to hope that you can find it through the booster packs! It’s like every Trading Card Game we played growing up.

20160312181215_1Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is not a perfect game. There are annoying microtransactions (why does every game have these nowadays?) that make it seem like a freemium game and a levelling system that needs improvement. But, the game doesn’t try to act grown-up or badass, unlike many other shooter games in the market right now. Instead, it revels in its madness and ludicrousness, and eventually draws the player into doing the same. This is a legitimately good shooter game, with some of the tower defense elements you know so well from the original. GW2 is never going to become as hardcore as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and it really doesn’t want to. Enjoy it for what it is – plants and zombies shooting each other to kingdom come in a vibrantly hued world.


DANamic Rating: 4/5

 

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