“Pop! Pop! Pop!” Three peas shoot in a fast pace against the lab coat of a crazy zombie professor. The first Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare was a very surprising game. It is a shooter based on a mobile game, that is extremely adorable. EA and Popcap were probably a bit careful in the amount of content for that first one, but thankfully this cute shooter was such a great success, a second version is out. And, Garden Warfare 2 mainly has become a more extensive version of it’s predecessor.
That means that again you have to pick sides: are you going with the fun flora or the silly zombies. In Garden Warfare 2 the zombie variants have expanded with superhero zombie Super Brainz who has extremely powerful attacks and the quick little guy Imp, that becomes a slow giant when he steps into his heavily armed Z-mech. On the flower side there is a new general-like army guy called Kernel Corn and an elegant sorcerer Rose, that uses her magic wand to turn her enemies into little goats. Good additions to the game, cause the first game felt a bit limited in that perspective. Now you can chose from fourteen classes of zombies and plants, that all have their own special versions.
All characters are well balanced. The sunflower is still ideal for loading up on health, while Kernel Corn is your go to flower for heavy fights with big numbers of enemies, thanks to his quick corn gun. Rose is a safe pick for people that are not really familiar with the franchise, or shooters in general; she can fight enemies from far away and up close.
The many characters are used in the many modes that you can chose from in Garden Warfare 2. There are modes in which you have to guard a garden from waves of enemies, or in which you have to invade circled areas of the enemy. You can do that super chaotically in multiplayer, but also a bit less crowded with two players in co-op or alone with CPU-help. However, do keep in mind this game is mainly designed for its online multiplayer. The level there is high, but there are starter maps for people that would like to perfect the collaboration with their plant or zombie first.
One of the biggest points of critiques of Garden Warfare is that it hasn’t got too much content and that you always have to be online for it. The latter is still there, which is practical when it comes to saving your progress, but it can be a total hassle if your internet connection is not optimal as that makes the game pretty unplayable.
But, it is not like EA and Popcap have totally failed to listen to the players, cause there were a lot of complaints about the first game not having a campaign for solo gamers. In Garden Warfare 2 there is a small campaign, which is presented to you by Crazy Dave-bot3000 that makes you go on different missions. You will be fighting a super huge goat, or huge numbers of enemies at once. It is not a story like you would see in other games, as it is more a collection of small missions. See it as a tutorial to familiarize you with the modes. It really pays off to do all missions, as you will get a very cool new mode when you finish them all. Plus, you will learn how the fantastic hub world in this game is build up, cause that is a new feature too.
The hub is a crazy collection of things: you can go to a special terminal to play a multiplayer game, but there is a also a weird closet there to change characters, a garage where that robot is waiting for you to explain the campaign, et cetera. There is so much to discover in that small piece of Zomburbia, that has a special camp for zombs and a special one for flowers.
It does not matter which side you are on, cause eventually you will have to make sure your character gets as strong as possible to keep up with the online multiplayer fights or the higher difficulty levels. Leveling your character is very natural; you do it by taking down enemies. The game remembers the level per character, so even when you play splitscreen or a different mode, you will work on that same character. That is great because it makes this loosly build up game a little bit more solid.
Your character does not just develop in levels, it can also get some twin brothers with slighly different looks and powers. You can get an ice version of the normal ‘Citron’ character that will freeze your enemies for a short while. Those possibilities you will get by opening sticker bags, which are one of the many collecting items in this game. You buy them by using the in-game money you will receive when winning, completing quests and killing some enemies that leave money for you. Buying sticker packs will allow you to get fully new varieties of characters, but there are also stickers that just represent a piece of a new character or funny hats, or plants to put down as a turret in the tower defense gameplay modes.
Garden Warfare 2 has a lot to offer in gameplay and the chaos is awesome to look at. The plants and zombies look sharp and colorful. During my sessions I hardly had a crash, and if it did, it would just need a few seconds to snap out of it. Amazing, cause Garden Warfare 2 sometimes asks a lot of your console, with all the chaos it has to create on the screen. It is too bad the music is not fully new, cause the annoying background music from the first one seems to be copied.
There are not many downsides on Garden Warfare 2, besides the music. You play this game for its amazing online multiplayer, upgrading your characters and just for fun. Garden Warfare 2 offers a lot of pop culture references and humour, that comes to life even more thanks to Crazy Dave, that pops in anytime to give you some advice you did not ask for. Crazy Dave has always been a background person, but that does not make him unimportant. His advice in this chaotic post-apocalyptic world is nice to hold on to, especially when you are in the online multiplayer, feeling all alone and bad about your gaming skills. That good old Dave…
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is an upbeat shooter that is fun and positive. If you rather play as an undead or as a flower, it does not matter, as in both camps there are highly entertaining, well-balanced new classes that will allow you to have many hours of online multiplayer fun. It is too bad the campaign is somewhat short, but I would love to see more of that in a possible third Garden Warfare.