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‘Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2’ Beta – The Good, The Bad & The Memorable

Plants vs Zombies started as a crazy, lovable and unique version of the tower defence genre, eventually evolving into an online multiplayer shooter. Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 continues the online multiplayer series, adding even more crazy, lovable and unique features; possibly making it the most over the top online shooter of 2016.

Recently Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 entered open beta on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (you may have played it). During this beta a handful of AA editors spent their time destroying the undead, and obliterating some unworthy plants.

Together they will discuss the recent Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 beta, showcasing our personal ‘The Good, The Bad and The Memorable’ moments from our recent online experience.


The Good

Devon McCarty: This is a perfect shooter for an audience not ready for Call of Duty and Battlefield style shooters. The characters are silly and the game mechanics are very light hearted. The “Stickers” feature brought back a solid way to add customization to each of the characters on either side, that should reward players wanting to unlock everything.

Jamie Briggs: My favourite part of Garden Warfare 2 is the insane variety of character classes. Though admittedly I didn’t spend as much time playing as the Zombies, it was clear that both sides of this epic war have a large amount of choice when going into battle. From the sniping characteristics of the Cactus, to the shotgun power of the Peashooter, I always found each character class offered a tremendous amount of variety.

Experimenting with each character class and their special abilities in order to find the perfect character, was easily one of my highlights of my time during the beta; and I’m looking forward to seeing how the variations stack up on the undead side upon launch.

Robbie Key: I wasn’t able to play as much of Garden Warfare 2‘s beta as I would have liked, but I still believe the first game is perhaps one of the best all-around multiplayer titles, meaning anyone of any age and skill can jump in and have fun playing it. The same feeling carries over to Garden Warfare 2. It grants players the ability to choose from an assortment of fun character classes without overwhelming newcomers to gaming.

Nathan Manning: I agree with Jamie that one of the best aspects about Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare 2 looks like it will be how many different characters there are to use. I’d like to further that point by saying that the multiplayer map variety looks like it will be much better than the first game too.

Garden Warfare 1 could be seen as a proof of concept, largely restricting the maps to different gardens. Garden Warfare 2 is implementing time travel to take the gameplay to many different locations. The maps all felt different, with each map requiring a new strategy. For example, there’s a map on the moon which features low gravity, so if you jump you go higher, but become more of a target as you slowly float through the air. Meanwhile, a medieval map has the zombies eventually crossing a moat to storm a castle while plants shoot at them from above.

The Bad

Devon McCarty: The biggest issue in the beta was the VOIP functionality. At the start of a multiplayer match, I would have to scramble into the menu and mute everybody because of how loud it was. The settings menu wouldn’t cancel the VOIP audio when I selected it. I had to do it manually each match I played. That was the most irritating part.

Jamie Briggs: Garden Warfare 2 is a different kind of online shooter, aimed at a different audience to those who spent their days planning strategic plans in Rainbow Six Siege, or amassing kill streaks in Call of Duty. In that sense Garden Warfare is certainly an acquired taste.

During my time in Garden Warfare 2 I couldn’t help but feel the chaotic nature will not resonate with a large selection of online aficionados. The best way to describe the Garden Warfare experience is to compare it to the way a young child may play with their action figures. Upon pouring out their collection of toys, the child then proceeds to simply smash them all together in a chaotic free for all (I know I did), and that to me is the best way to describe Garden Warfare 2.

It’s not easy to figure out what is going on, and that’s due to the chaotic nature of online combat. For some this will be their bread and butter, but for others this will be a instant turn off.

Robbie Key: While its accessibility is a strength, it’s also, in a sense, a crippling limb. Garden Warfare 2 does not seem to do much to separate itself from its predecessor. Despite new content and features, I felt like I was playing the exact same game. Even the original classes had the exact same abilities for the most part. Anything new to the table feels like it should have been added as an expansion to the first game.

There’s also some balancing issues with the new character classes. The Imp in particular comes to mind with his small size and Titanfall-like mech – though I did enjoy its power that seemed to draw inspiration from Mass Effect 3‘s omni-blade. The Citron on the plant’s side has too much health with fast mobile abilities, and the Citron character with freezing abilities was frustrating to deal with in matches.

Nathan Manning: The first couple of hours of playing Garden Warfare 2 can be a bit overwhelming. In this case, it’s actually because there are too many characters to choose from, each with unique abilities. The only way to learn about the abilities is to use the characters, which can lead to frustration because knowing how each character plays is vital for their success. It also leads to some characters feeling overpowered because you’re not sure how to go about fighting against them. However, I think most of the characters are quite well balanced when you start learning how they all work.

The Memorable

Devon McCarty: The initial hub world you start out in to select your missions is surprisingly well done. Traveling around the safety of your backyard gave you tons to see and do. Multiplayer, in game stats, secret bonuses, character skins and upgrades, every area you explored had a purpose. The game could have easily used a drop down menu for this, but they decided to make a reason for you to explore your base. Which worked great.

Jamie Briggs: Having never played the original Garden Warfare, my most memorable moment during the Garden Warfare 2 beta would have to be the visuals. I have played the original Plants vs Zombies for more hours than I can count, and seeing these originally 2D characters transform into flawless 3D replicas is an impressive visual feat. Plants vs Zombies is crazy enough that these characters naturally fit into the 3D, regardless of whether they are a superhero styled zombie, or a walking orange with sunglasses; it simply works.

Robbie Key: There wasn’t any particular standout moment for me, but I was interested in the hub world. Just what are these missions Crazy Dave has in store for the player? And what happens if I can somehow overthrow the opposing side’s fortress? These cryptic features have piqued my curiosity.

In the end, my time with Garden Warfare 2 does not prompt me to slam money on the counter at my local gaming store demanding a pre-order, but I have no doubt it will ultimately be entertaining to those who pick it up at launch.

Nathan Manning: My most memorable moment was turning zombies into harmless goats. Yes, that’s correct, there is a magic rose that can turn enemies into goats. You have to land a correct hit, so it is difficult, but it’s very satisfying when you turn a zombie in a mech suit that was ploughing through your team into a goat. The six new characters are actually very fun to play with, all offering something quite different from the original bunch.


There you have it, AA’s ‘Good, Bad and Memorable’ moments of the Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 beta; but we want to know what you thought, so feel free to share your thoughts on the beta below or let us know if you agree or disagree with our views.

Until then check out Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 when it launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on February 23.


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