Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Preview – Little Shop of Horrors

by on June 24, 2013

When you think of Plants Vs. Zombies, you think of the mobile game which asks players to place down plants in order to fend off a constant supply of oncoming zombies. That’s probably not going to change much, especially with the upcoming release of Plants Vs. Zombies 2, but the announcement of Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare at the EA press conference at this year’s E3 certainly shook that global viewpoint up a bit. Not only are we getting a game in the Plants Vs. Zombies universe that plays drastically differently to any other game in the franchise, we’re getting a true next-gen game from PopCap, a game that looks fantastic thanks to the use of the Frostbite 3 engine and, last but not least, looks like it could very well be extremely fun to play too.

We weren’t able to get our hands on with the game at this year’s E3, but we were invited to watch an extended live demo of the short sequence that everyone saw at the EA press conference. We got to see all of the plants on offer, including some of the ones that weren’t shown to everyone, and got a little bit more information about the upcoming title. That’s what we’re here to share with you all.

Players will have access to four plants when they fire up Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare: Peashooter, Chomper, Cactus, and Sunflower – each of these plants fits into a class system that is familiar to the player when it comes to class-based team shooters such as this. The Peashooter is the typical infantry type, able to deal out a moderate amount of damage while taking as much as it gives, but it’s nothing special other than being the front line of almost every attack or defence. The Chomper works in very much the same way as it did in the mobile game, dealing out a massive amount of damage but performing quite slowly. In this regard it’s perfectly suited for the role of the ‘heavy’ character – and that’s exactly what it is. The Cactus is the sniper class, able to shoot its spines from a fair distance away and doing damage to the enemy before it even comes close to the rest of the team. The last character, the Sunflower, is the healer class. Healing the other characters just by being near them, it’s an invaluable member of the team, but that doesn’t mean she can’t pack a mean punch on her own, which I’ll get to in a bit.

Each of the characters have two firing modes, one of which they can do while they’re moving around (their primary attack) and another which can be done while the plants are rooted into the ground. This secondary, rooted attack is much more powerful than the primary, but what the plants gain in power, they lose in manoeuvrability; being unable to move around and away from the oncoming enemies until they uproot themselves and sacrifice that gain in weapon power. Players will have to utilise these two weapon styles to great effect if they want to get to the end of the wave, and the end of the match, alive. The Sunflower has what could be seen as one of the greatest rooted effects (although I’m personally partial to the Peashooter turning into the mini-gun Peashooter when rooted). The Sunflower has the ability, when rooted, to let out a supercharged sunbeam towards any unsuspecting enemies. From this point forward, enemies that previously thought that the Sunflower was a weak opponent, only being dangerous in the fact that she could heal the other characters, will start to think again before going up against her.

Just as with the mobile version of Plants Vs. Zombies, the variety of enemies on offer appears to be quite good. Even in the short demo we saw, we came across a few different types of typical enemies – normal zombies and ones with traffic cones on their heads – as well as a couple of different special zombies, such as the disco zombies (and the Disco-Stu inspired disco zombie boss), as well as a giant zombie, along with his smaller zombie minion called Gigantaur. Almost all of these enemies got a decent laugh from the audience watching the presentation, so if the full game holds up to what we’ve seen at E3, then not only could we have a decent game on our hands, but one that holds perfectly true to the Plants Vs. Zombies humour that’s come to be expected from anything which bares the brand’s name.

There was no indication of price or platforms during the multiple presentations of Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, but judging by what we have seen, I would be surprised if it released for anything other than the Xbox One/PlayStation 4’s respective digital marketplaces. It looks to be shaping up to be a very interesting game indeed, but asking for full retail price could be a little too much. The Plants Vs. Zombies brand is very strong, however, so at this point nothing would surprise me too much. What I do know, is that Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a gorgeous looking, team-based third-person shooter, with humorous elements that remain true to the brand while bringing it up to date. It’s also nice to see PopCap make the jump into the console market too, do many companies are understandably making the leap the other way, to the mobile market, so it’s comforting to see that that particular avenue is a two way street.

I, for one, will be playing Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare when it’s released, hopefully I won’t be paying too much for it though – only time will tell.

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