Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Review
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Box Art
System: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Dev: PopCap
Pub: EA
Release: February 23, 2016
Players: 1-2 Local, 2-24 Online
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i Animated Blood, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence

All these gameplay modes feel substantial – nothing bears the stink of a half-baked afterthought that you'll find in many games with multiple modes. The campaign is well-stocked with humor, Garden Ops tosses variety and optional goals into its enemy waves, and multiplayer matches give everybody clear directions as to the current goal. Sure, you'll do better once you get to know the maps, but you're highly unlikely to get lost or waste time looking for the action. Variety and silly fun are at the forefront of every activity you try. You can even invite friends into your hub world and tackle a bounty hunt challenge or set up a plants vs. zombies soccer match.

If its many gameplay permutations weren't enough, PopCap has loaded a ton of extras into Garden Warfare 2 in order to encourage continued play. You'll earn money during most activities, which you can use to open random packs of stickers. These give you accessories for customizing your characters, parts that eventually unlock new chracter variants, consumable minions, and sometimes even new moves for your heroes. Every day you'll have the chance to complete quests, earning stars that can be used to access treasure chests and mini-games in your hub world. You can even hunt down hidden garden gnomes, though I have no idea what those give you beyond creepy phone calls from Gnome Central.

The only thing that gives me pause about all of these extras is that every character and character variant must be leveled up separately. That means that if you have already leveled your Sunflower to 10, your newly-unlocked Vampire Sunflower (which is the best, by the way, with cute little fangs and a basic attack that leeches life) will start at level 1. That's a bit grindy for my taste, especially considering that you have to grind money and stickers to unlock these variants in the first place.

You might not mind, though, since Garden Warfare 2 is just so darn fun to play. There's something here for every gamer, even those of us who aren't heavy into competitive online multiplayer games. It's easy to get together with just your friends or simply challenge yourself with Solo Ops. The competitive multiplayer scene is well-served too, with plenty of gameplay types and many classes having hidden depths that skillful players can exploit. Best of all, the zany atmosphere keeps things from getting too deadly serious. It's hard to get too angry at being gunned down by a tennis ball cannon or blasted by popcorn ordinance, after all.

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The love and care that was poured into this title is obvious, and translates into a terrifically entertaining experience that I encourage everybody to try out. Play with your friends, your parents, your kids; anybody who has ever enjoyed a video game should have a blast with PvZ Garden Warfare 2. In fact, I think I'm going to go load up Rose and turn some more zombies into goats right now.

By
Becky Cunningham
Site Editor
Date: February 18, 2016

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
5.0
Graphics
Technically excellent, but more importantly full of vibrant life (or undeath) and hilarious detail.
4.5
Control
Responsive and easy to pick up, with an excellent camera to boot.
4.5
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Bursting with personality, from the zany effects to the B-movie style soundtrack.
4.3
Play Value
There's a little something for everybody, and tons of unlocks to keep you playing. It can be a bit grindy, though.
4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Welcome to the biggest PvZ world yet. In your Backyard Battleground you can edit your character’s abilities and customizations, choose quests, jump into co-op or multiplayer action modes, or invite up to 3 friends in to your backyard to start a party and take on AI – defeat a wave, and a more powerful wave will show up. You can also switch teams to challenge your friends!
  • Choose from six online multiplayer game modes and two 4 player co-op modes. Play competitively or cooperatively as either the plants or zombies in the biggest, baddest battle for Suburbia.
  • 6 new characters bring even more strategic depth to this all-out botanical battle with 14 total classes and over 100 playable plants and zombies from the past, present, and future.
  • Go solo playing against AI opponents or locally in split-screen co-op across any mode in the game (no Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus memberships required).
  • This struggle for Suburbia spans space and time with 12 all-new maps, each layered with hidden secrets waiting to be discovered.

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