Plants VS Zombies Garden Warfare

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Based on the very successful Plants VS Zombies franchise this latest game from PopCap delivers a new online-only fragging experience where you play as either the Plants or the Zombies in a variety of modes as you put your skills to the test against the best The Internet has to offer… unfortunately for me The Internet has some pretty darn impressive players and usually that diminishes the fun as they are just too good.

The usual online multiplayer rage, however, didn’t boil up inside me while playing Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare. Is it because the characters are well balanced or that there are map modes that offer some protection for newcomers? Or perhaps it’s the delightful character animations with stupendous sound effects that numb the pain?

Whatever it is, there is something magical about Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare that captivated me and will keep me coming back for more.


What You Need to Know

This is an online-only experience, but don’t let that discourage you as you can buddy up in a co-operative mode with up to four friends, or head out into the wild gardens with up to twenty-four players online. Starting out there is a ‘welcome mat’ mode that offers newcomers to the game some protection by increasing your health should you continually perish, and there are map modes that restrict customization to help level the playing field until you find your roots.

The action is fast-paced with well-conceived maps that make good use of choke points as well as different elevation levels. There is something for everyone in terms of playstyle because you can be the medic, the sniper or the run and gunner.


What’s New?

The Sticker Shop is a great concept built into the game and is where you spend your hard-earned points that are awarded at the end of each match. Each pack of stickers containers a variety of items, with the loot inside improving as you purchase the more expensive packs. Collecting consumables that you can use within the game is an important strategy to help your team get the upperhand in hard-fought skirmishes.

The packs also include character customizations and improvements for their abilities – all of these can be used within the co-op and multiplayer modes. I love finding an empty pot plant on a map and choosing what to plant from my deck to unleash pain onto the opposition.

What’s the Same?

It’s a shooter experience that is delivered flawlessly using the Frostbite 3 engine. The colour palette is vibrant, while the character animations and sounds effects do justice to the franchise. By continually playing with a chosen character you can achieve character-specific goals to unlock abilities. The goals start out as simple as ‘revive three team-mates,’ but later on become more challenging to execute. I liked the challenges as they added to the game’s depth and work like in-game Achievements which serve to make a meaningful difference.

You’ll Enjoy Plants VZ Zombies Garden Warfare If You Liked…

… the teamwork of Battlefield.

… Running and gunning in Call of Duty.


What I Liked

- 5.) During the loading screens you get some good hints on how to be a better player. These are mostly common sense but helped me figure out ways to survive for longer.

- 4.) It’s super easy to get into a game thanks to the simple menu and apparently excellent matchmaking system. You choose the type of map and, ‘Hey Presto!’ it finds a game and begins loading the map. It’s how online gaming should be.

- 3.) The character animations and sound effects are brilliant. I marvel at the creativity and abilities of the talented people who create games – the Frostbite Engine is wonderful, for sure, but you will see a lot of love and thought went into creating the characters.

- 2.) A shooter can win or fail based on the maps, and thankfully these maps rock! The environments are just the right size, they look amazing in their bright colour palette and have excellent layouts offering different classes the opportunity to be effective. There are choke points for the heavy hitters, elevated roofs and structures for the snipers, and multiple paths for the devious. Very well thought-out and executed level design!

- 1.) Weapon choices and modifications are the highlight of this game for me. You level up your character and in doing so get some additional special abilities. That could be something as simple as a speed boost that you activate for a brief period, or getting access to an awesome chilli bean bomb. Each character gets different upgrades and they all add to the mayhem.

Favourite Moment

In one map you are either defending or attacking a mansion, and there is a limited time to achieve the goal. I love the last three minutes as the battle intensifies and the attackers throw everything they have at those defending the mansion to get five players through the front door. It’s just totally awesome!


What I Didn’t Like

- 1.) Some things are out of your control and in Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare, that would be your team-mates – sometimes I would join a game and get completely wiped out by the other team. I don’t fault the game for this but it annoyed me all the same, as when sides aren’t balanced because one team has better players than the other it just isn’t as fun.

Least Favourite Moment

It’s a fabulous game and all the moments were golden for me!

Plants VZ Zombies Garden Warfare – Launch Trailer

What’s Extra?

Brains! With Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare you get to have a wicked amount of fun.

The Bottom Line

For the fabulous price of around R365 for the Xbox 360 version, purchasing this title is a no-brainer, giving you that go-to game you need if your collection. It’s a casual pick-up and play experience that will leave you feeling satisfied.

This Plants VS Zombies Garden Warfare review was conducted on Xbox 360

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