Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
|Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare|
|Series||Plants vs. Zombies|
|Release||Xbox 360 & Xbox One|
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a multiplayer third-person shooter and tower defense video game. It is the third game in the Plants vs. Zombies series, developed by PopCap Games and published by Electronic Arts. The game was released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. The game features co-op along with competitive multiplayer modes, where players can control the Plants as well as the Zombies from the titular franchise.
Garden Warfare is a team-based third person shooter where players take control of the Plants or the Zombies in either a cooperative or competitive multiplayer environment. Most gamemodes are objective-based, where players of the same team must coordinate their efforts against the enemy to do things such as capturing or destroying enemy bases. While the game features eight classes, four of them each are exclusive to the Plants and the Zombies, respectively - the Peashooter and Foot Soldier act as generic soldier classes; the Sunflower and Scientist act as support characters; the Chomper and the All-Star act as 'tanks' for their team; and the Cactus and Engineer act as specialists. Thus, even gamemodes that are traditionally symmetrical in other games (such as Team Vanquish, which is a team deathmatch-like mode) have a degree of asymmetry to them, as while each of the four classes is similar to their version on the other team in terms of statistics and roles, they differ in weaponry and how their abilities function.
Combat in Garden Warfare is fairly basic. Each character is capable of moving, jumping, firing their weapon, aiming, and using any of their three abilities, though unlike similar shooters, there is no crouching. Each of a character's abilities can be offensive, defensive, or supportive in nature, and can either be a compliment to their weapon or a separate function entirely. Additionally, every character's ability has a second unlockable variant that can be interchanged with the normal version and functions slightly differently - for example, while the Foot Soldier's "ZPG" ability normally fires a single high-damage rocket, the "Multi-Rocket" ability changes this to fire a burst of four weaker ones. As an added compliment to combat, most maps have scattered "Flower Pots" and "Bone Piles;" from these, the Plants can place stationary defensive plants while the Zombies can spawn lesser undead that roam the map on their own, respectively; this adds a small player-versus-enemy element to most gamemodes, which are otherwise player-versus-player. These units are AI-controlled, are consumed upon use, and must be earned first before they can be spawned.
Each of the eight characters has several 'variants,' which are unlocked by collecting 'stickers' of them in a sticker book; once one has collected enough stickers to make up a picture of the variant in question, that character variant is unlocked for use in all gamemodes that allow variants, and can be selected on the class selection screen in place of their normal version. These variants can have a different weapon, stats, or an elemental effect compared to their base version. For example, the Toxic Pea's shots have a damage-over-time effect that applies to any enemies hit, the Metal Petal has higher health than the Sunflower but lower movement speed and damage, while the Mechanic has a weaker, fully automatic weapon as opposed to the Engineer's normal grenade launcher. Additionally, basic upgrades for each character and character variant's weapons can be earned, such as increasing their ammo capacity or reload speed.
To progress in the game, players must complete unique challenges to each class. These challenges, once completed, will level up the character allowing the player to access features such as upgrades, new character variants, weapon skins and character clothing. The game's challenge pop-ups closely resemble the notification system used on the Xbox One before its Windows 10 transition. In addition, in-game items, such as character cosmetics, weapon skins, AI units, character variant stickers and their upgrades are obtained from Sticker Packs, which are booster packs that are bought using currency earned from matches from an in-game shop that contain random items. There are multiple packs available, such as cheap ones that contain only AI units, or more expensive ones that contain cosmetics exclusively from a specific update. All items are sorted between four rarities - common, uncommon, rare and super rare.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions feature split-screen multiplayer as well as "Boss Mode" (which would later also be supported in the PC version), where a player can take the role of Dr. Zomboss or Crazy Dave (for the Zombies and Plants, respectively) who circle high above the battlefield in a flying contraption and send support to players in the ground in the form of radar scans, healing, air strikes and reviving all currently vanquished players. These flying vehicles they reside in have high health but can be destroyed by long-range attacks from players on the ground, disabling Boss Mode for that team for a while.
The game features a cooperative mode and several competitive multiplayer modes. Fittingly, the majority of them are parodies of notable gamemodes from other shooter games.
- Garden Ops: A cooperative mode where up to four players take control of each of the Plants defending a garden through ten zombie waves, with the fifth and tenth waves being boss waves represented by a slot machine, hosted by Dr. Zomboss, either spawning 1-3 bosses, a jackpot, tombstones (which infinitely spawn Zombies until destroyed), a huge swarm of AI-controlled Zombies or a Super Boss. After the last wave, they must run to an extraction point set by Crazy Dave and survive until he arrives.
- Team Vanquish: A team deathmatch variant, where the Plants and the Zombies fight each other in a set area in order to 'vanquish' (kill) a certain amount of enemy players before the other one. A point is awarded for each enemy slain, but if that enemy is revived before they respawn, the point is retracted.
- Vanquish Confirmed: A variant of Team Vanquish where points are only awarded upon collecting an orb that is released from an enemy's body upon death rather than just upon vanquishing them. This mode shares its concept with the "Kill Confirmed" mode from the Call of Duty series.
- Gardens and Graveyards: A game mode where players either capture (as the Zombies) or defend (as the Plants) various objectives in an expanding map, which are represented by small gardens with a large scarecrow in the center when controlled by the Plants, or a small graveyard with a large grave market in the center when controlled by the Zombies. The last objective on every map is unique; for example, at the end of the Driftwood Shores map, the Zombies must launch to a distant island using cannons and destroy a titanic Sunflower (the "Mega-Flower") that's overgrown a lighthouse within a certain timeframe, or else the Plants will win. It is a parody of the Conquest and Rush modes from the Battlefield series.
- Gnome Bomb: A game mode where the Plants and the Zombies attempt to take a respawning objective, the Gnome Bomb, to one of the enemy team's three objectives. The team with the bomb must then arm and defend it until it detonates, while the team without must defuse it before it detonates and destroys the objective. The team who loses all three objectives first loses. It is similar to Obliteration mode from Battlefield 4.
- Classic Team Vanquish: Team Vanquish with no customization.
- Classic Gardens and Graveyards: Gardens and Graveyards with no customization.
- Welcome Mat: A further variant of Team Vanquish, where, like the Classic version, no customization is allowed, but in addition, players who are killed repeatedly without securing a vanquish themselves will respawn with increased max health. This gamemode is specifically marketed towards new players, though any player of any level can queue for it.
- Mixed Mode: A playlist where each game mode except Garden Ops, Welcome Mat, Classic Team Vanquish and Classic Gardens and Graveyards is played in rotation. Additionally, between each match, players who are on the Plants' side are switched to the Zombies' and vice versa. Before the "Tactical Taco Party Pack" update, this mode only supported Team Vanquish and Gardens and Graveyards - following it though, Gnome Bomb, Vanquish Confirmed, and eventually Suburbination were added.
- Suburbination: A domination-like game mode where the Plants and the Zombies battle over three objectives around the map. Holding all three at once grants that team points over time, and the first team to reach a certain score first wins.
- Taco Bandits: A capture the flag variant, where the Zombies must steal 3 'flags,' represented as tacos, from Crazy Dave's taco stand and bring them to a UFO within a certain timeframe, all while the Plants try to stop them.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was presented for the first time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013 as part of the presentation given by the Electronic Arts (EA). The game is developed entirely in the EA game engine Frostbite 3, and supports Mantle "out of the box." The game was first announced for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, later it was reported that it would also be available for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
- Garden Variety Pack: The Garden Variety pack featured the introduction of 'Gnome Bomb', the addition of the 'Chomp Town' map, over 100 customization options were added, and Zombie Pirates.
- Zomboss Down Pack: The Zomboss Down pack featured the introduction of the 'Cactus Canyon' map for 'Gardens and Graveyards', 8 new characters and increased levels for every character, and new customization options. This DLC came unexpectedly early and surprised a lot of fans.
- Tactical Taco Party Pack: The Tactical Taco Party Pack featured the introduction of the 'Jewel Junction' map for Xbox platforms, after being a timed exclusive on PC, the new 'Vanquish Confirmed' game mode, two new characters sponsored by Aquafina FlavorSplash, a new 8v8 playlist for 'Mixed Mode', 8 new special waves and One new challenge for 'Garden Ops'. This also introduced 5 nerfs and 4 buffs. This also fixed an exploit where the Sun Pharaoh (a new character that arrived in the Zomboss Down DLC that shoots in bursts of 3) could rapid-fire by pressing LB without letting go.
- Suburbination Pack: The Suburbination Pack featured the introduction of the 'Crash Course' map, the new 'Suburbination' game mode, new boss characters, Special Waves, and challenges for Garden Ops, blinged-out customization packs for all characters, and the new 'Plasma Pea' character, designed by the winner of a competition.
- Cheetos Pack: The Cheetos Pack, available with specially marked Cheetos bags in U.S. Target stores, featured the introduction of two new character variants, the 'Chester Chomper' and the 'Dr. Chester', based on the Cheetos mascot, Chester Cheetah, as well as new cheesy-abilities for both character classes. The characters and abilities were released to all for free later on.
- Legends of the Lawn Pack: The Legends of the Lawn Pack featured seven new character variants, including the 'Centurion' and the 'Jade Cactus', new customization sets and AI consumables, new Garden Ops waves, the 'Taco Bandits' game mode, and hack the Triangulabobers in 'Garden Ops'; also includes the 'Suburbination Pack' for PlayStation consoles. This also introduced 5 nerfs and 6 buffs.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare received moderately positive reviews. Review aggregator website Metacritic gave the PlayStation 4 version 75/100 based on 23 reviews, the Microsoft Windows version 78/100 based on 11 reviews, the Xbox One version 76/100 based on 65 reviews, and the Xbox 360 version 69/100 based on 6 reviews.
GameZone's Lance Liebl gave the Xbox One version an 8.5/10, stating "Don't let the thought of a Plants vs. Zombies shooter scare you off; it actually is a really fun game. Yes, it needs more game modes and split-screen play options, but everything else about the game shines." Hardcore Gamer's Steve Hannley gave the Xbox One version a 3.5/5, saying "The maps are well-designed, character classes are surprisingly well-balanced and there's a large amount of customization. Including only three modes however is a massive oversight that severely damages the replay value."
On November 24, 2015, Electronic Arts announced that Garden Warfare has been played by more than 8 million players since its release.
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