Plants vs. Zombies is probably the most popular tower defense game in the current market. Its comical designs, smooth difficulty ramp, and variety of weapons and foes has proven an effective formula for developer PopCap and publisher EA. When it came time for a sequel, PopCap took it in a very different direction. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare manages to earn a few nods for its strang premise, and a short demo at E3 2013 really showed how crazy — and potentially solid — it is.
In the overkill department, PvZ 2 use EA's Frostbite 3 Engine. The graphics, while high in polygon count and expressiveness, do not call for such a ridiculously powerful engine, and that almost seems to be the point since the game parodies Frostbite 3 poster boy Battlefield 4 in its trailers. The overkill paid off in the amount of stuff that could be on-screen without slowing down from 60 frames per second.
Players work in teams of four in PvZ 2, cooperating as the plants to fight zombies. Spawning in as one of several basic plants, you gather resources by killing zombies. Player plants can move freely to reach pots set around the map, where turret plants (some of which can be controlled by the player) can be deployed to protect your base.
The unusual concept jump is aided by the tower defense elements. There's a bit of Dungeon Defenders in the core logic, along with PopCap's usual rule of keeping things sensible and logical. This applies to player abilities as well as enemies.
The demo included the classic pea-shooter, who can shift to an immobile Gatling gun form, sunflower, who has an epic solar beam, and chomper, who uses traps and stealth-melee techniques. Deployable allies included the long-range cactus, wall, and mine plants from the original, while enemies included the disco zombie, now with a full array of animations, and the power-pole-toting Gigantaur. The parody also extends into at least one new plant: the missile-packing garlic drone.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a very unusual leap for the Plants vs. Zombies series and for Popcap as a whole, but somehow, it feels like it'll make sense by the time it's out. If nothing else, it looks like it could be a very fun party game.
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