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Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 review


Sticky situation

Fighting earns coins, coins buy stickers granting support items, cosmetic goods and new heroes. Good news: real money isn’t involved and coins flow freely – you can buy a new hero every 90 minutes. The downside is tying consumable AI soldiers and turrets to stickers – both add greatly to match complexity, so it’s a shame they run out so quickly.

New characters play into the armies’ diversified roles. In Kernal
Corn, the plants get a great projectile character, rattling off
five-a-day yellow death, while Rose holds the line with a time-slowing
gas and goat-morphing magic (not an instant win as said billy can then
headbutt you). Citron’s ability to roll in a defensive peel shell is
more useful in objective-led modes and so a bit weedy on the defensive
line, but he gets a pass for being a bounty hunter orange from the
future. Zombies, previously the more conservative of the two sides, get a
dose of variety from the whirlwind fists of Super Brainz and a tiny Imp
who pathetically nips at health bars as he charges up a devastating
mech.

New classes currently dominate online games – who
wouldn’t be curious about playing as a bounty hunting orange from the
future? – but it’s clear that both sides are better balanced for
offense/defense. You’re encouraged to experiment with new roles, further
differing GW2 from multiplayer rivals that encourage fierce investment
in building a super soldier. Here characters level so fast that they can
max out and ‘prestige’ in two hours. Don’t worry about longevity,
though, as they need to be maxed out five times to unlock upgrades (a
spot of personalisation missing in GW1), and there’s a huge 110 class
variations to take through the process.

Crucially, it’s a
sense of progression that was missing in GW1. Everything you do, from
slogging out a half-hour Herbal Assault victory to beheading a lone
zombie stumbling around the hubworld, edges you towards another tick on
GW2’s ludicrous checklist. This is before you factor in missions
overlaid on day-to-day play (get X kills with a certain hero, etc), or
tackle a story mode built from bot-filled matches or simply explore the
hubworld that brings all the options together in a living, albeit
wartorn, menu screen. After a year of the likes of Battlefront and
Rainbow Six Siege offering vanilla packages around sound multiplayer
action, GW2 certainly feels more substantial.

Of course, no
amount of dressing, not even with PopCap’s Pixar-esque sheen, can carry
mediocre action. As admirable as it is to zig against the military
shooters’ zag, it’s undeniable that replacing the precise sting of lead
with broad cartoon splat of a pea or other comedy props just won’t gel
with some digital veterans. It actually has a similar flavour to Star
Wars Battlefront: respawns are quick and most problems are solved by
throwing a tidal wave of expendable bodies at it. GW2’s clearly defined
class roles and their sprinkling of upgrades arguably make it the deeper
shooter, but if you’re coming to it from Battlefield 4 or Siege, it can
appear to be a dumb bunfight.

It’s tricky to see exactly who
Garden Warfare 2 is for, then, but there’s no denying how hard it works
for that unknowable demographic. Whether you’re on a detox from
simulated man-murder, or simply seeking to sink into a fug of XP-fuelled
dopamine hits, there’s a lot of fun to be had. And hey, at the very
least you can easily stop hateful teens from teabagging you – just play
as a cactus. Oof.

This Xbox One game review also appears in Official Xbox Magazine.



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About Ryan

I'm a true gamer. I'm not a pro gamer but ill never stop playing games. My choice of console is PlayStation, but each to their own. I unfortunately do not get as much time as i would like to still play games, but when i do, i love it!

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