PvZ:GW – Stranded Review
A number of us have been having a riot playing Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. The above video shows Cornie, and other Stranded if you look closely, going on a defensive tear halting the enemy’s push to deliver the Golf Ball bomb. In the end, the enemy was stopped just inches from the finish line (cropped for brevity’s sake). Having played both sides of the objective, I am amazed at how many times the bomb gets stopped just before the finish line. It is incredible game design, actually: a meter longer and no team would make it, a meter shorter and they would make it all the time.
The player classes, and choices and customizations within classes, along with various AI options available through a slick CCG delivery system, add depth to the game not present even in the sprawling, almost-decade old, community-supported Team Fortress 2. To keep the game “casual”, PopCap gives out 1000 coins just for a “good try” even when your team loses the round. Combined with the comical theme, this ensures that no one takes the game too seriously. In tens of hours of gaming there hasn’t been any rage quitting (that I know of). As Zos said, the game is really the best of most of the games out there, including the randomness of the original Gears of War. It begs the question, do we need our shooters to be designed with random elements presented in a highly comedic fashion, to keep us from melting down in our competitive zeal to win at all costs? How can one shout out “Bullshit!” to a smiling sunflower whose sole objective is to heal other cute plants and stop bumbling, plumber’s-ass-crack-flashing, Village People zombies?
One of the highlights of our evening was when, as the Zombies, we started trash-talking the Plants, calling them “Weeds” and “Aloe-Vera” and sh!t. You probably had to be there, but we were rolling at the time (as I am while writing this).
It doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t require skill, because it does. There are a ton of skills and strategies that can be employed to ensure your team’s victory. And to be certain, it is no fun getting dominated. However, the frustration doesn’t last long and one can switch over to a very enjoyable, albeit less coin-rewarding, Garden Ops mode until the calmer heads prevail.
Preparing for this article, I realized that there are a bunch of Zombies that are only present in the Garden Ops mode, and I marveled at the potential for a new Garden Ops VS mode a la OverRun in GoW:J. The game is incredibly deep, and more importantly, fun. At $24 bucks, it is one of the best, freshest deals out there.
For reference, there are four maps complete with unique finishes for the Gardens and Graveyards playlist: Main Street (set the dynamite), Cactus Canyon (deliver the golf ball bomb), Driftwood Shores (kill the lighthouse sunflower), and Wall-nut Hills (breach the mansion). Garden Ops mode.