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Games : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: February 25th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare

Overview -

PopCap and EA surprised everyone when they revealed 'Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare' last year. The goofy characters and bubbly atmosphere from the mobile tower-defense titles are an interesting blueprint for making three-dimensional, third-person shooting commandoes, though you wouldn't think to fear at the welcoming smile of an incoming sunflower. A console exclusive for Microsoft, 'Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare' has been set to straddle the company's shooter demographic while also providing a relief from the incessant seriousness plaguing the shooter genre. Apparent style aside, the question remains: as a class-based, ability-focused shooter, does it have the substance to last more than a couple of hours?

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
900p
Audio Formats:
5.1 LPCM
Release Date:
February 25th, 2014

Video Review

Ranking:

Nintendo may want to call PopCap if the Miyamoto is ever inclined to make a (non-Metroid) shooter. The translation from top-down strategy game to third-person shooter has only emphasized the series' quirkiness, and at 60 frames per second too. It's the brightest, happiest shooter you'll ever play, which in a world of gruff dudes and carbine assault rifles is a relief at the slightest.

The plants might defend a playground, fleshed out with traversable slides and bridges, or the zombies might attack a medieval castle as Peashooters take up position on the outer towers. Without the limit of realism or even continuity, the locales of 'Garden Warfare' are an imagination playground.

Even more impressive are the character models and coinciding animation work. The sunflower's pedal bounce independently of each other as the adorable little fellow scurries along with his four leaf-feat. Each character comes to life in these small details, even the so-called undead. It's endearing, as opposed to the faceless heroes of your typical virtual violence.

Audio Review

Ranking:

Just as much care is poured into the sounds as the sights. The All-Star's chain gun is a disturbing mix of machineworks and guttural screaming, while the Chomper snaps and crunches at his foes with convincing vigor and wetness. Whatever shortcomings in mechanical innovation, 'Garden Warfare' is indeed masterful in tone and atmosphere, making all that horrible violence seem like a Sunday afternoon. I crumble at the Sunflower's audible eruption of glee.

The music is just as cheerily infective, as many fans of the mobile fans should expect, only now layered and complex as the music of a full console release should be.

'Garden Warfare' is beautiful, sounds great and it plays pretty well too. PopCap doesn't push any boundaries from a gameplay standpoint. That's understandable; this first installment is more evolutionary than revolutionary. The fact that it all works so well is impressive enough. While you won't find a whole lot of depth in the game modes themselves, sifting through the character classes and matching their individual tactics and abilities with the sprawling maps should be enough to grab the prolonged attention of an avid shooter aficionado.

And then there are the stickers, which unabashedly manipulate our every desire for all things adorable and endearing. Oh Gnome Rider, how you pull me in and never let go.

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