First Impressions: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 – Ruined By Little Children

The Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 beta is well underway on PS4 and Xbox One, so I’ve been dipping in and out of it over the past day to see what all the fuss is about and if it’s something I’ll personally be looking to play once it releases, which is on February 23rd in North America, and February 25th in the UK and Europe.

Upon booting the game up, there’s a lovely little intro video with a rocking tune belting over it. It all looks quite lovely, really. What initially struck me as odd is that the game isn’t all about the multiplayer. Once the intro video has run its course, the game then plonks you down on some street as a sunflower. Yes, a bloody sunflower. Nothing wrong with that, they’re lovely to look at and they smell like heaven.

Then you’re instructed by some dopey fella, aptly named Dave, to make your way to the evacuation area so he can save you from the zombies that are wandering the streets in their quest for, well, I don’t exactly know what their end goals are. They’re zombies, after all, so they’re a bit dopey by default. I made my way to the evacuation point and fought off a few waves of undead dopes by firing off seeds at them. Most peculiar.

Once I’d defended myself, Dave came to the rescue in a flying truck that would have Doc Emmet Brown from Back to the Future drooling with envy. Once Dave facilitated my escape he dropped me off in the garden, the home base for the plants, and then that was that. I was left a little confused as the game stated that my active quest was to go into Dave’s garage. So, naturally, I wandered over to the garage and pressed the circle button to have a peek. Low and behold, nothing happened. I was greeted by a screen that told me the garage wasn’t available in the Beta and that I’d have to come back in February when the game releases to see what’s inside. I still tried a few times to get inside and even had a mooch around the building for an alternative entrance, though to no avail. I really will have to wait for the full release…

I wandered around the next few minutes, firing off shots here and there just because, and then I stumbled upon a game mode. Hurray! Something to do! The game mode can be played solo or with friends, but I chose to go it alone, partly because I fancy myself as a bit of a Rambo, and partly because I didn’t trust any of my friends not to utter some obscenities when I intended to record the gameplay.

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The game mode in question puts you in charge of a small area that you must defend from waves of zombies. Sounds easy enough, but in reality it was actually quite hard. (Note: I never actually played the first game, so I was a bit clueless going into it.) I raided the flag and the game started. Almost immediately I was outnumbered by undead scroungers looking to do away with my pretty flag. Never! I fought off the first wave with all the valour a sunflower can be expected to fight with, and then it went balls-up. The waves got increasingly more difficult with different enemy types being introduced. It actually sort of did me a favour in that it forced me to quickly learn how to use the sunflower’s different abilities. You can hit the triangle button to lock down into a turret-like mode where you fire a strong and deadly sunbeam; you can hi the R1 trigger to deploy a mini sunflower pot that’ll help regenerate health. Even after discovering that my character was more than just a pretty face, I still succumbed to defeat. I’d strayed too far from my flag to open up a support crate that gives you an A.I controlled plant to fight on your behalf.

I lost, but it wasn’t so bad and I didn’t hold any ill-will towards the zombies; they fought valiantly and I respect that. What I didn’t respect is what I encountered when I hit up the multiplayer portal. Oh, yeah, that portal is literally a portal. Very on the nose, isn’t it? I played a few matches, mostly not knowing what I should be doing, but I did at least manage to get a few kills in here and there and didn’t die too often. Unfortunately I found myself closing the game earlier than I’d have liked due to some poor form by those with microphones.

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I was called a mother-fcker a few times, a cnt a ton of times, and I found out that my mother is massive slut. Like, seriously, she’s been banging kids from the UK to Germany. I didn’t even know she had a passport… One little scrotum that I was had the bad fortune to run into on more than one occasion would incessantly utter swears in both English and German. Normally such things don’t really bother me, but due to some poor foresight by the developers, I couldn’t really deal with it as well as I’d have liked. See, in most games you’re able to mute everyone with the tap of a button. This is especially useful in the likes of Call of Duty when you don’t want to hear little Timmy fapping in-between rounds (that’s not even a joke, unfortunately…), but Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 has you manually mute every single player. Most of the time this isn’t bad if it’s just the one bad apple or two, but the stark reality is that most have a microphone attached and it’s a chore to go through each potty-mouthed juvenile to mute them. What’s worse is that they don’t even have to be on your team to hear the bad language. Not the best of starts, eh? At least this is the beta and not the full release, so there’s still time for EA and Pop Cap Games to tinker with the online features.

All in all, I found it to be a fun little game, only marred by a few idiots and my lack of previous knowledge of the game and how it works. The graphics are top-notch and hark back to the days where I’d play the cutesy Nintendo titles on the Gamecube. The sound design is pretty good, too, with zombies moaning comically and their heads making a very satisfying ‘ping’ when you knock em’ off. I’m impressed with the transformation from a simple tower-defense game to a fully fledged shooter, and I’ll definitely be fighting the rest of the staff to be the one to review this come February.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 will release on February 23rd in North America, and February 25th in the UK and Europe. The game will be available for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC. You can pre-order your copy from Amazon here.

Have you been taking part in the Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 beta? Have you had your fair share of fools, or have you been lucky enough to only encounter the Royal family online?