E3 2013 Impressions: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

DSC_0159The team at PopCap is a brilliant one. Not only did they announce Plants vs. Zombies 2 recently, but they’ve come up with the idea to turn their mega-hit into a shooter of sorts.

Published by Electronic Arts (they own PopCap), Garden Warfare is an obvious parody of the popular Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, though the underlying game that we got to see is something much more substantial than what you might expect. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a full-fledged game coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360.

PopCap clearly doesn’t take themselves too seriously as they’ve created a first-person shooter out of, well, plants and zombies. But this sense of humour is what makes the game brilliant. It’s Borderlands crossed with Ratchet & Clank all thrown into a sandbox. Mission introductions heavily spoof Modern Warfare, right down to the text that appears in the bottom left corner, though the similarities stop there.

The game is extremely vibrant in its colour palette, balancing bright blue skies and raw brown dirt. The character models are amazing, though it is all running on an Xbox One, so there’s no reason for it to not look as good as it does. Still, it’s hard to consider this a full game, so when you see characters as rich and colourful as this, it kind of takes your breath away.

Levels are small, but there are a lot of different ways to traverse them. You can play a solo game or co-op with up to four others. The arenas are also very well designed, leaving a clear path for zombies, but multiple entrances to the yard, and a few fronts to protect as a result.

If you’re a PvZ fan already, all your favourite plants will be here, each with new abilities. A plant will have its main power as well as a rooted ability that trades mobility for advanced firepower. For example, Pea Shooter is back, but its rooted ability is a much more advanced function of its main power. There are also new characters like Bok Choi that you’ll see in Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time, and old favourites like the Potato Mine and Sturdy Shroom. Of course, Sunflower will act as a healer, and other classic characters will make their return.

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Zombie characters are also back, including the screen door-wielding variety as well as everyone’s favourite Disco Zombie. To combat against these guys, there are some pretty insane superpowers you can use in the game like corn missile strikes that you can launch from your onion drone. Popcorn pops over your enemy and engulfs him in kernels that bring him to his knees.

Garden Warfare was one of the biggest surprises of E3. When we first saw the posters for the game, we assumed it was a tagline for PvZ 2, but were pleasantly surprised by the announcement that it is, in fact, its own game. With that said, it doesn’t exactly look like a full-fledged console title, but a very high-quality download instead. That hasn’t stopped Microsoft from releasing retail box art for it, though, which means you’ll find this on a shelf at your local GameStop. Whether it’s worth picking up or not, however, will be something we’ll figure out when we get a review copy of the game. That won’t be for a while as the game isn’t due until 2014.

As we learn more about Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, we’ll be sure to share all the details with you! In the meantime, what do you think about this bold and comedic spinoff of the franchise? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook, or in the comments below!