This is a game published by Electronic Arts. It has a hefty amount of content. It doesn’t have a Season Pass. It doesn’t have microtransactions.
No, you are not high. This is Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, and it’s quite possible one of the most enjoyable shooters ever made.
When I said this game contained a hefty amount of content, I really meant it. You can either play as the plants or the zombies, embarking on lengthy but thoroughly enjoyable quest lines for each of them. The game never restricts you to playing for a certain side at any time, so you can enjoy these missions at your leisure.
The missions themselves are also surprisingly varied, something I really wasn’t expecting from Garden Warfare 2. You’ll gather missions from the ‘captains’ of the plants and zombies, which range from sabotage to protecting someone from a gunship.
Both the quest lines ultimately amount to sheer hours of enjoyment, whether you prefer to play as the plants or the zombies. And this isn’t even including the “Garden Ops” missions.
Garden Ops is a wave based survival mode, with your team positioning themselves to better defend their shrine against either plants or zombies. The varied playstyles here are virtually endless, and the mode ultimately adds a huge replayability factor to the entire game.
I’ve spent almost ten hours so far playing the game, and I haven’t even come close to finishing the quest line for the plants. I haven’t even played on all the maps available on Garden Ops, and I haven’t even started on the zombies quest line. That’s how much content Garden Warfare 2 offers.
Within both sides there are six class categories, each containing multiple variants of the same base character, for you to progress and unlock over the course of the game. Personal highlights for me include Kernel Corn and the Citron, but each class caters to every different possible playstyle of it’s audience, whether you want to go in guns blazing, or hang back and offer support for your teammates.
How you progress to unlock characters after the base ones is also something that will keep me coming back for hours to come. After each story mission, or successful Garden Ops mission, you’ll be awarded with a certain amount of coins to spend on various items in the store.
The items within the store are mainly packs, and while the more experienced players of games from Electronic Arts might be rolling their eyes, let me assure you, there are still no microtransactions to be found here. Instead, you’ll spend coins earned through in-game deeds to purchase these packs, which can award you with a variety of different items.
These items can range from usable turrets that can help you out in Garden Ops, to pieces of a new character. Collect all the pieces, and you’ll unlock a new character to play as. While this might sound overly simple, it’s actually insanely addictive, constantly pushing you to unlock the maximum amount of characters possible, each with different abilities.
And there are more characters to unlock in this game than perhaps any other multiplayer shooter in years. The difference in these characters from their base counterparts isn’t just cosmetic, you’ll also gain boosts to special abilities, making you actually want to seek out the rarer characters throughout the game.
Aside from the wealth of content to be found within the game, you might be wondering how Garden Warfare 2 actually plays. I’m thoroughly happy to report that the game handles seamlessly, having both the grounded and solid shooting mechanics that games such as Gears of War employed, while also retaining a lightweight and bubbly feel that makes it more accessible to the casual shooter audience.
There isn’t a third person shooter that handles this well currently on the video game market, and I say that with the utmost confidence. The likes of Star Wars Battlefront have nothing on how Garden Warfare 2 feels, as the latter retains solid shooting mechanics that make it a blast to enjoy.
All of the above completely misses out the online portion of the game, which actually holds together very well. I’m not sure whether it was the money EA pumped into Garden Warfare 2, or the fact that Popcap studios was given time to improve upon the original, but this game works flawlessly online, never having any technical issues whatsoever.
In the age of online gaming that we now live in, where you can’t get an online game of Street Fighter V to work to save your life, the fact that Garden Warfare 2 works seamlessly is a welcome sigh of relief for the gaming industry.
When delving into the online portion of the game, you’ll find that Garden Warfare 2 is actually very fast paced, offering a new take on casual shooters that historically pale in comparison to the likes of Call of Duty, or even Star Wars Battlefront.
Speaking of Star Wars Battlefront, another EA product, I’ve heard multiple people say that if that game had even half the depth of Garden Warfare 2, it would’ve probably netted Game of the Year from multiple outlets. This isn’t just a shot at Battlefront, it’s also a huge compliment to Garden Warfare 2, showing just how much content and depth Popcap have packed into their sequel.
Speaking of sequels, let’s just take a minute to reflect on just how much Garden Warfare 2 improves on the original. When the original Garden Warfare was released, it was largely slated for being a very mediocre experience, offering very little content and activities for the player to embark upon.
Skip to Garden Warfare 2, and you’ll see that this game is a masterclass in a studio actually listening to criticism and feedback from it’s fans and the media at large. Popcap listened to what everyone had to say about their product, took it on the chest, and made Garden Warfare 2 with this criticism in mind.
I’d beg other developers (read: Peter Molyneux) to follow in the footsteps laid out by Popcap studios and how they listened to the feedback from people that took the time to purchase their product. The practice can lead to a fantastic critical reception on following products, which is what Garden Warfare 2 will deservedly receive.
Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 will have most likely flown under the radar of the gaming population, and that’s something that can only be remedied by those of us that have played that game speaking up for it.
Garden Warfare 2 has a wealth of content for both the competitive shooter and the casual shooter to enjoy, offering up a range of varied missions and replayable Garden Ops as well as a huge cast of characters with different special abilities and playstyles.
I’d absolutely recommend this to anybody who either hasn’t heard, or is on the fence about purchasing this fantastic game, as there’s something here for everyone to have some fun with.