The cult mobile gaming hit that took your daily commute by storm is now available on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC, and packs all the outrageous geeky fun we have no compunctions enthusiastically declaring we love.
However, this time the gameplay has been souped-up for consoles, giving players a dozen maps to play through, various free-play scenarios, 14 character classes to develop and stacks of multiplayer playlists. It’s Plants vs Zombies, but on more steroids than a Californian Governator.
Providing tower defence-style solo, co-op and multiplayer third-person shooter gameplay, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 has a wealth of solo missions and matches, along with a simple multiplayer system so you can hook up with friends.
It’s fast and simple; the armchair equivalent of whipping out your phone on the train for a few quick matches to kill some time.
A lot of the gameplay takes place in the Backyard Battleground – a new playing area introduced with this game. It serves as a hub for non-combat activities, like acquiring quests, teleporting to mission zones, and viewing and building up characters and unlocks.
From the backyard you can also launch straight into battle (via a cannon, naturally) with King of the Hill matches; a great option for when you don’t want to get stuck into a mission proper. Again, this game feels well suited to long-time players familiar with quick and simple matches.
If you feel so inclined, you can also defect to the enemy and try your luck as a zombie. Everyone wants to be a zombie! BRAIIINSSSSS.
Once you’re through the early training quests doled out by the likes of Dave-bot 3000 (Plants) or Dr. Zomboss (Zombies), you can delve deeper into the game’s multiplayer features, run more defence games to clock up rewards and unlock more characters, or jump in a cannon and get blasted onto the battlefield in a blaze of glory.
It would be easy to say this game gets repetitive, which it does, but this appears to have been taken into account during development. After all, the entire franchise is based on a simple tower defence mobile game; to make the leap to console requires a greater level of complexity to ensure players stick around.
Each section, whether it’s training or King of the Hill matches, is entertaining and brief enough to hold your interest for the perfect amount of time before boredom kicks in. PvZ GW2 is not a button masher, but neither is it a hardcore strategy game.
Another element that subtly draws you in is the intertextuality of the game’s design. Littered with pop culture references and self-referential humour, you’ll find yourself giggling at regular intervals as the game charms you into its arms.
Just when you thought this game had revealed all its cards, character design adds another layer of entertainment. Unlocking abilities and power-ups becomes addictive. You may just find yourself up at 2am working for your next ability – just like a mobile game! Along with the addition of new Legendary characters, the creation system is highly developed.
Unlocking character attributes not only makes gameplay a little more fun, it also gives you the ability to tailor your playing style and develop tactics beyond the usual point-and-shoot gameplay you’d expect. For a crossover mobile franchise, it’s refreshingly complex in a simple way.
Choose your side
Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is a huge amount of fun. Even if you’ve never played the mobile version, this game will reward you with hours of stupid fun.
Unlocking character abilities is a hoot, multiplayer modes will yield hours of online fun and the solo levels appear endlessly replayable.
The only decision you need to make is which side you’ll take: plants or zombies.