Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was arguably the silliest game of 2014. The combat was over-the-top, the characters were hilarious, and the entire experience poked fun at the shooter genre in all the right ways. Two years later, Popcap Games hopes to up the ante by making light of the current shooter landscape once again with Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. I had a chance to play Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, ahead of the beta (which takes place Jan. 14 – 18), and got to experience first-hand all of the ways it hopes to best itself with a sequel.
While we still know very little about the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 story, we do know that Popcap Games has flipped the script and put the zombie hordes in a position of power. Zomboss and his undead army now control the yard that has been contested over the course of the series, and the plants serve as unwelcome invaders in their corpse-filled utopia. Plants also have a new mysterious ally in garden gnomes, which seem to have some kind of advanced technology at their disposal that may rival Zomboss’ designs. In addition, we know that the characters in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 will now have backstories, and will send players on quests related to their motives and objectives. Time will tell, but it seems that Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 aims to put a heavier focus on the story than they have in the past.
The biggest surprise with Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is that they’ve added elements of a shared world shooter (e.g. Destiny), and various RPG elements to boot. Players can now explore a small open world called the “Backyard Battleground,” complete quests, and level up. Furthermore, your friends can join your world for co-op, or play for the opposing force and go against you. A great number of these features were unavailable in the preview version of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 that I played, but it’s an exciting prospect to see how players will get to do more than just PvP matches.
Unlocking new classes and subclasses, leveling up all of your characters, and customizing your base all play into the Backyard Battleground experience), so players will have a meatier progression system outside of one-off multiplayer matches. Character customization has also been given a boost, as there are now over 100 subclasses, and over 4,000 cosmetic items. Given this focus on a gradual progression system, it’s easy to see how Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 draws influence from Destiny.
In terms of PvP, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 updates and improves upon its predecessor. Popular modes, such as Gardens and Graveyards will be making their triumphant return, while all-new game modes such as “Suburbination” hope to make a splash. The combat experience is pretty much what you’d expect from a Garden Warfare sequel, and is as ridiculous as it is enjoyable. Also returning is the highly addictive “card packs” system, which can be bought via microtransactions or earned through playing multiplayer matches.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 also adds or improves various gameplay options from the original game. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare had splitscreen, but it was limited to one game mode, so with Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Popcap Games has opened up splitscreen to all game modes (although it is still limited to offline mode only). Custom matches were absent entirely in the previous Garden Warfare entry, but will be making an appearance in the sequel.
My impression so far is that Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is shaping up to be a worthy successor for fans of the first entry. Players will have a chance to check it out themselves when the beta becomes available on January 14th. For news on all things Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, stay tuned to Gaming Trend.