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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Preview

Scheduled release date:
February 23, 2016
Electronic Arts
PopCap Games
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
February 23, 2016

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was such a tremendous success that a sequel was inevitable. And that follow-up effort is coming fast; it’ll hit PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on February 23. In the meantime, developer PopCap Games and publisher Electronic Arts gave us an early peek at the gameplay thanks to the open beta held this past weekend. The beta featured two 24-player modes – Herbal Assault and Gardens & Graveyard – along with four other attractive modes, a couple maps, and a handful of zany yet wonderfully distinct characters. After playing for a while, my conclusion is pretty simple: This is indeed an improved version of the last title and just about all fans of Garden Warfare will be pleased.

During the test, we were allowed to check out the Z-Tech Factory and Frosty Creek maps and much like the characters, each map is unique and appealing in unique ways. Plus, having access to Team Vanquish, Vanquish Confirmed, Gnome Bomb and Suburbination let us sample a diverse set of gameplay modes, which only further amplified the originality and freshness of each character. This was the primary appeal of the original as well: No character plays exactly like another and endless experimentation is half the fun. If you played the beta for the sequel, you soon found that Rose and Super Brainz are almost complete opposites, while Kernel Corn and Captain Deadbeard are about as different as night and day. The gameplay changes substantially depending on your choice.

This is the kind of variety you don’t get in most multiplayer action games. That’s why Garden Warfare 2 is so damn intriguing to me; even the same mode can feel a lot different simply by selecting a different character. And of course, the developers used this sequel opportunity to amp up the production values and flesh out the depth. This not only includes improved visuals and a much better overall presentation, but also those two aforementioned 24-player modes: Gardens & Graveyards pits plants versus zombies in good old-fashioned arcade-y combat; the plants must defend their gardens from the marauding zombies and there are five zones that will come under attack. Each area is different, though, so that adds even more diversity to the relatively straightforward action.