Plants VS Zombies from PopCap very quickly established itself as something of a cultural phenomenon after originally launching on PC before spreading its infectious take on the tower defence genre to mobile gaming platforms and home consoles, too.
The battle between the ever-encroaching cartoonish (and hilariously realised) Zombie horde and the ever-vigilant array of Plants has raged on ever since the release of the first iteration of the game in 2009, and it’s only here in 2013 that a free-to-play sequel has been announced in the form of Plants VS Zombies 2: It’s About Time, but that’s not the only extension of the franchise that EA and PopCap had in mind…
- The PopCap presenting team at E3 2013
Enter Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare, a third-person action strategy game that puts you in direct control of a cast of new and fan-favourite Plants as they not only stand their ground and defend their land, but this time take the fight directly to the Zombies!
During our demo of Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare during E3 2013, we were shown a four-player co-operative match as a team of Plant characters invaded a spooky, dilapidated mansion which is said to act as the Zombies’ headquarters – a very bold move on the part of the previously defensive Plants.
El33tonline at E3 2013: Inside the PvZ: Garden Warfare meeting room
PopCap says that Garden Warfare isn’t strictly a tower defence game like we’ve seen from the franchise before, but it’s instead a full action title and this was evident from the different character classes and Plant abilities on show during the demonstration. The Peashooter, for example, could be equated with an assault class in a regular action game, with the ability to rapidly lay down fire on attacking Zombies, while the Sunflower is the medic of the game, able to heal team-mates but with the additional option of rooting to the ground and firing a beam attack.
There’s also the Chomper, something of a more stealthy class that will need to sneak up on enemies before pummelling them with a flurry of melee attacks (helped by a talent for tunnelling under the ground and catching enemies by surprise), as well as the Cactus, a sniper that can lay down mines and send out a flying drone to spot enemies and call in popcorn airstrikes – devastating!
The tower defence nature of the original Plants VS Zombies game does make an appearance with the option to grow other Plant characters in special pots located around a level, which will help attack and defend your team as all manner of Zombies pass them by. From what we’ve seen, there is a good crop of different enemies that you’ll encounter in Garden Warfare, including the stock standard lurching zombie, to the helmeted variety and larger versions of the shambling dead, as well as Disco Zombie and other characters already made well-known in the more sedate version of the series.
Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare looks to be imbued with all of the humour and charm of the original Plants VS Zombies, with delightful reload animations in-between rounds of gunfire, a beaming Sunflower going about her ghastly business, dazed and confused Zombies stumbling and darting about the place, and colourful destruction exploding in all corners of the map.
Despite the zombie theme, the game is incredibly bright and cheerful and the team has done a great job of translating the franchise’s light atmosphere and lively characters into a fully 3D action experience.
Garden Warfare will introduce new Plants and Zombies to the universe, too, and in addition to that four-player co-operative online mode, you’ll also be able to jump into a massive 24-player battle mode pitting teams of Plants and Zombies against each other, across ten multiplayer and co-operative arenas (said to be “unique”). Garden Warfare will push the Plants VS Zombies franchise even further into the realm of hardcore action with the chance to customise your Plants (and Zombies) with hundreds of items, unlocked as you play and progress in the game.
If the idea of a subdued tower defence game didn’t ever get you excited about the world of Plants VS Zombies, or if you can’t go a week without your fix of PopCap’s excellent series, then you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare.
Plants VS Zombies: Garden Warfare is due for release in the ‘Spring’ of 2014 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, followed by PC and other platforms at a later date.
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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare – Official E3 Reveal Trailer