There is a new most addicting shooter on the market, and not only is it cheaper, they don't insult those that support them by making them pay for DLC. Of course I am talking about Pop Cap's new (now a week old) Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. It reminds me of why I got into gaming in the first place, because it's fun. PvZ at its core is a very simplistic first person shooter, with only hints of the original tower defense style game if you play garden ops or gardens & graveyards, but look a little farther and it gives people what they seem to crave more than anything else in a video game, customizability. I can see this game being very divisive in the gaming world because there are 2 main types of gamers.. On one hand you get the hardcore that think gaming is super serious and the most important things in life are class balance and their k/d (kill/death ratio or vanquish/knock-out in PvZ), and on the other hand there is the gamers playing for the same reason people read novels, to escape reality for a few minutes and have some fun doing it. For the first group PvZ is terrible, not only is there no room for whimsy but the class balancing is horrendous and only one side has a melee class, but for the other group the game represents something that is completely lacking in the stress they are trying to escape.
At this point I have had a week with the game and so far I have enjoyed every minute of it. I can also say that I haven't touched Call of Duty since I got it. It is just too addicting to earn coins and buy packs of stickers hoping for pieces of new characters or fun costumes with which to dress up the characters you've unlocked. So I will start there, the unlock system. It reminds me of having hockey cards as a child or pogs as a young teen. You work hard in game to save your pennies and once in a while once you've saved enough you can buy a pack of cards, and as I used to hope for a Wayne Gretzky, Pavel Bure or Kirk McLean card I find myself hoping and praying for a piece of my Silenced Pea Shooter or Hockey Star Zombie (I still don't have a single piece of either). Now that I remember how much fun hockey cards were I think every fps should employ this method of acquisition.
At this point there are 3 main game modes, Garden Ops, Team Vanquish (Deathmatch), and Gardens & Graveyards. Team Vanquish is the only real complaint I have about the game. Because the balancing is terrible it really shows in what becomes a chaotic mess that renders some classes unplayable. Avoid this. Garden ops is really the best place to get your old school tower defence on, sort of. It's not unlike the zombies mode in Call of Duty, 4 players battling waves of typical zombie moans. Each map gives a few options and places to plant a garden, once your garden is planted you have the opportunity to seed potted plants strategically to aid you with taking down zombies. Planting those pots is the closest thing you can do to classic Plants vs Zombies tower defence gameplay, but they are merely an aid to help you get your cactus needle off. Gardens & Graveyards is my favourite mode of them. An objective based multiplayer mode, where the zombies are trying to capture points and push the plants back to defeat. Because of the strategy that has to be employed to be effective at taking over or the gardens or stopping the zombies all the classes can work together well and achieve the win together.
PvZ is definitely a game that would be best with friends but the one thing Pop Cap & EA did was make it very difficult to play with people you know. In Garden Ops, which is the only mode you can invite friends, you can't play split screen and get 4 players over 2 consoles seems strange since more demanding games have that functionality, how am I supposed to play with my wife, brother in-law and sister in-law? and then what if we want to play Gardens and Graveyards together since it is the best mode? Oh wait, we can't. Well shit, it really sucks not being able to play a party game together.
Other than that PvZ is brilliant and I can't wait to see what they have in store for the DLC.
I will leave you with a a short clip or some of the ridiculous game play, including me getting my ass kicked by some sunflowers.