Plants Vs. Zombies originally began its journey on PC, eventually making its way to iOS and consoles before spawning a sequel. The series’ third and most recent installment, Garden Warfare, takes things in a different direction: it’s a fast-paced, colorful third-person shooter that brings a lot of welcomed changes and colorful silliness to the genre.
Unlike the previous PvZ titles, Garden Warfare allows you to directly control all of the characters on both sides of the battlefield, from the third-person perspective. There are five different modes to play – Garden Ops, Team Vanquish, Gardens & Graveyards, Gnome Bomb, and Suburbination.
The first, Garden Ops, is a cooperative take on the original game – this serves as the traditional story mode in Garden Warfare. Up to four players must defend the garden as Plants, fending off ten increasingly-difficult waves of Zombies. The mindless action and standard deathmatch options are available in the 12-on-12 Team Vanquish mode.
Moving on, Gardens & Graveyards tasks you with defending five random points on the map from Zombies. Next, Gnome Bomb encourages players to work together in order to plant a bomb in the opposing team’s base. Finally, Suburbination is a Plants Vs. Zombies-style version of the traditional “domination” game type.
There are four different character variants to play on each side (Plants & Zombies); certain play styles will fit different kinds of players better than others. On the Plants side, there’s the run-and-gun Peashooter, the sniper-based Cactus, the melee-attacking Chomper, and the medic Sunflower.
The Zombies counter with their own interesting classes; the Foot Soldier serves as the run-and-gun type, the sports fanatic All-Star has melee attacks and is great for cover fire, the Engineer can set up traps and the Scientist rounds out the group as the medic.
The character designs for the different Plants and Zombies have been recreated beautifully in Garden Warfare, from the smiling Sunflower to the drooling Chomper and the Army-like Foot Soldier.
There are additional customization options for each Plant and Zombie; between the variants on each team, you rarely encounter players that look identical to each other.
Character classes can be upgraded by completing challenges and earning coins, which are then spent on card packs that unlock all kinds of perks – new customization options, new character variants, even perks such as reinforcements on the battlefield.
Speaking of the battlefields, they are just as fun and colorful as the characters. You can battle it out in a suburbia-themed map, a western-style desert stage, and a port town with a pirate ship in the center.
Each of the maps in this game ‘pop’ with color and are balanced well, never clearly giving one side an advantage over the other. There are plenty of different routes – high ground, low roads, and different places for players to navigate without too much of a concern for the pesky “camper” players.
Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare may be slightly limited as a multiplayer-only, online-based shooter – but it’s fast-paced and keeps you on your toes, like a great shooter should.