“Plants vs. Zombies” used to be a tower-defense game played on smartphones and tablets, just another mobile game you booted up while waiting for your train to arrive. But now the series has a full-blown third-person shooter, under the name “Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare.”
The series began on personal computers running either Mac or Windows operating systems in 2009, but “Plants vs. Zombies” really made its mark after it was ported to iOS in 2010. Developer PopCap Games got the chance to make a console version of the game, thanks to its corporate parent Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ:EA).
Now we have “Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare.” It launched a few months back as an Xbox One title, but PlayStation 4 users have been able to join the party since Aug. 19. So what’s all the commotion about?
The PS4 version gives you a bunch of downloadable content for free: maps, skins, classes and weapons. It’s a nice touch, considering the extra wait time for the PS4 launch -- and it also means that everyone playing this version of the game will have all the content from day one. No one gets an unfair advantage out of the gate just because they bought the “season pass,” which is always welcome.
PopCap definitely had a sense of humor during the development of “PvZ Garden Warfare.” Their game is littered with satire and childish jokes (like a zombie-drawn graffito proclaiming that “PLANTZ R STOOPID”). One of the maps is of a 1950s Americana city called Chomp Town, a parody of the famous map of Nuke Town in “Call of Duty,” with a similar aesthetic. The game never takes itself seriously, and you can’t help but laugh at the silliness of it all.
The gameplay is simple and incredibly easy to pick up, even if you’re new to games like this one. You get a main attack and three special abilities to manage, so even the fledgling gamer won’t be overwhelmed.
There are four customizable classes to choose from, plus a so-called boss mode that lets you place support items on the map for your teammates, among other things. Veterans will recognize the game’s formula instantly, since it feels a lot like “Team Fortress” -- that’s a big compliment, considering how successful that title is.
The only real complaint I have is that you have to be online at all times, even if you want to play split screen. I get that all the other game modes are online only, but why do we have to connect to the Internet if we’re only playing with the person next to us? This is a trend within EA, but, unlike the “SimCity” debacle, the nature of “PvZ Garden Warfare” does necessitate online play 90 percent of the time.
Do you have PlayStation Plus? Do you like competitive shooting games? Then buy this -- you won’t be disappointed.