Literally Turn Over a New Leaf this New Year

By – Trevor Shanahan

 

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On February 23, 2016 Electronic Arts (EA) will release their follow-up to 2014’s Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.  I know I have talked about this before, but new information justifies a new write-up.  The first game was a surprise success; with sales eclipsing critical concerns over possible “milking” of the Plants Vs. Zombies franchise.  EA made this nice infographic summarizing the first game’s success in some staggering statistics:

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“8 million players” and “1.4 billion games played” are really impressive figures; especially when you consider Garden Warfare as the once questionable offshoot of PopCap’s tower defense classic.  At the 2015 PlayStation Experience, EA announced PvZ: Garden Warfare would be free for download to PlayStation Plus members for the duration of the Sony event.  Admittedly, I downloaded it thinking it was some carbon copy shooter with PvZ aesthetic; it was so much more.  Engaging gameplay, playful characters and environments, and a noteworthy difficulty curve all contribute to a great product.  Even if you didn’t download the game via a PS Plus membership during the weekend-long event, the game was worth the $59.99 price of admission (now you can get it for only $20).

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Excluding the Peashooter (far left) and Zombie soldier (far right), we see (starting from the left) Kernel Corn, Rose, Citron, Imp/Z-Mech, Super Brianz, and Captain Deadbeard.  Add in the various character iterations and these six become many more playable characters.

 

PvZ: GW 2 is bringing a mix of old and new; introducing new features with old familiar modes and characters.  The original group of 8 characters (and their many iterations) are joined by 6 new characters; Kernel Corn, Rose, Citron, Super Brainz, Captain Deadbeard, and Imp/Z-Mech.  The game will now offer over 100+ playable characters; each offering a unique “take” on a base archetype.  Plus, if you already own PvZ: GW and purchase the second game within a year, EA is offering character unlocks based on your progress in the first game – not too shabby.

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Above is an overview map of the Backyard Battleground/Interactive Menu.  Plants on the left, Zombies on the right, chaos in the middle.  It is here that players can engage with the many modes and features of the game in a very interactive manner.

 

Beyond new characters, the game also features new single and multiplayer options.  24-player online, 4-player online co-op, split-screen co-op local play, and a new dedicated solo play interface are all coming.  The hub for all of the new craziness is the Backyard Battleground.  It’s like an interactive menu experienced through a real-time (and constant) battle between Plants and Zombies.  Players can jump in to battles, begin horde mode waves, hunt for treasure, compete in internationally ranked challenges, customize their characters, and undertake new solo missions with hand-picked units.  EA has never done anything like this before.

 

Also, EA promises to deliver content updates and patches regularly; in-line with community engagement and commitment.  This is awesome because PvZ greatly benefited from updates, new content, and weekly challenges with global awards.  These occurrences are nothing unique to the franchise as EA has been cross-pollenating successful ideas between franchises for a while now; but it is great to see Garden Warfare 2 will benefit.

 

I hate to sound like a shill for EA, but if you preorder PvZ: GW 2, you will get the “Grass Effect Z7 Mech” for your Imp class – a nice cross-promotional Easter egg for Mass Effect fans.

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I have to wonder if EA will have a PvZ cross-promotional item in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

About the blogger:
ccccccMy name is Trevor Shanahan and I am pursuing a graduate degree in video games/media studies. I am interested in video games and everything they touch (their industry, development, games as art, psychology of games – like gamification, industry issues, culture, etc.). I have come to realize that the more I learn (and learning is so important) the more I do not know. Learn as much as you can about what you love and try to give back to it.