EA Games and PopCap have scored a bit of a winner with their first-person take on Plants Vs Zombies. Garden Warfare 2 is a fun-filled, chlorophyll-driven romp and they’ve enhanced the game with the free Zombopolis updates. It would seem that wasn’t the end of the title expansions for the game.
EA have revealed that the next free expansion for the title is called Trials of Gnomus. This massive content update will unleash tons of new content, all-new game modes and unique weekly events with new loot to earn. It will offer players a mysterious gnome merchant who has a stock of rare goods and best of all, an enigmatic gnome underworld to explore, as well as much more.
Trials of Gnomus will introduce the Mystery Portal. This magical gateway has been built by the gnomes of the garden to test the skills of both the plants and zombies. Players will be able to travel through this gateway to play three all-new limited-time game modes. Here you can earn the Rainbow Stars that will unlock the Rainbow Chests and the Gnome Underworld. Engage in the Trials of Eternity in this all-new area. This is a series of challenging gnome trials that will test your speed, shooting accuracy, puzzle-solving ability and memory skills.
By discovering and completing the Trials of Eternity, players can unlock a slew of new rewards from legendary customisation items, to original Garden Warfare favourites. Eventually, you’ll be able to redeem in-game rewards that will change your PvZ Garden Warfare 2 universe, forever.
The three limited-time game modes in this huge update are:
Cats vs Dinos – Face off in Jurassic battles where felines take on the dinosaurs. This fast, competitive game mode is played out in the extra-large Gnomiverse multiplayer map.
Boss Hunt – Team up with friends and take on the ultimate PvZ challenge. Battle epic bosses and earn yourself some loot.
Super Mix Mode – This is a new crazier mix of Crazy Settings. It features different combinations of characters squaring off against each other.
You might think that, so far, this is more than enough for one update, right? Well EA and PopCap are not done there. Trials of Gnomus will introduce Rux the Deal Breaker. This dark and mysterious gnome has appeared in Zomburbia trading very rare and precious goods for coins. Rux’s rare merchandise will contain new items every week as well as weekly events that will breathe more life, or undeath, into the PvZGW2 franchise.
Along with all of this, there are new limited-time card packs where players can access goods from Infinity Time. It will also add a host of new achievements to gain. It also tweaks the balancing of the game and adds some further game improvements.
You can find further details on the weekly events, and when Rux’s itms refresh in the game event calendar on the PvZ website, here.
Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 – Trials of Gnomus expansion is available now.
Why not spare two minutes and get a taster of the action in the expansion trailer.
When you think about multiplayer shooters, pitting an army of animated and deadly plants against the equally as animated and deadly undead probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. PopCap and EA Games hit paydirt with the 2014 release of Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare. It was quirky fun with a fetid tongue rammed firmly into a rotting cheek. Will Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 build on that smoking mound of success?
If I was making this a short review, the answer to the above would be yes but before you make up your mind on whether or not to buy it, at least read to the bottom of the review.
The game begins with the fact that the Zombies have returned and have a firm, if decaying, foot planted in vegetative territory. The new title builds on the rather tight-budgeted first release by adding six new playable characters, three for each faction. While it may have replaced the original tutorials with short side-missions in order for you to get to know your way around these new characters, the game itself bears all the hallmarks of the surprise hit of the original.
So, while you’ll probably blast your way through these missions in short order, the opportunity to get to know the new characters a little better shouldn’t be ignored. You’ll start off as the plants, and the new characters are all available straight away. Citron, with his shield, EMP bomb and beam weapon is rapidly turning into a firm favourite of mine. Kernel Corn has a rapid fire rate and missiles, counterbalanced by slow movement, and Rose; well, Rose is a bit of an enigma to me. Initially she’s relatively weak compared to the others, but I’m sure that with time and practise, Rose would be a significant foe.
If you turn to the zombie side, and you can, then the new characters are Captain Deadbeard, a frankly disappointing pirate; Imp, whose special abilities include a Titanfall-style mech that drops from the sky to deliver devastating attacks, and Super Brainz. Brainz is a hulking melee powerhouse, with poor ranged weapons.
Other than the side missions you can sign up for, you can also simply sit and camp in your home base and either watch some action unfold in the no-man’s land in front of you, or join in and rack up some handy experience points to level characters up. Around your home base there are many interesting and rewarding things to do. Take the Vending Machine for example. Downed foes often drop loot, and if you collect that loot and save up enough of it and you can hit the Vending Machine for packs of special ability cards. These cards give you rewards ranging from plantable defences to character customisations and special character skins to play with. The side missions will also reward you with coinage to redeem.
There’s a great range of potable defences and help points to grab from the machine too. It’s a great resource to tap. From pea-shooters to healing sunflowers, all tastes are catered for as the game gives a little nod to its tower-defence style roots.
If stats are your thing, you can disappear into the back of your home base and find all the stats that you’d ever wish to see. In the Plants base, Crazy Dave has initiated a robot to take you through the missions while Dr Zomboss offers equally challenging side missions for your new characters to attempt.
There are other aspects to the game though. The multiplayer options are where Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 comes into its own. Indeed, it’s where the title starts to shy away from it’s fun, well-drawn, well-animated roots and starts to turn into a competitive, blood-thirsty, all-action romp. The type of action you’d expect from the likes of CoD or Battlefield. EA and Popcap have taken the best from the original title and applied a thick smearing of extra characters and new maps, all of which are a credit to the game. Graphically, the game is every bit as good as, if not even more refined than the original. Take that refinement away, however and what have you got?
You’ll be disappointed to learn that despite the relatively high price tag, Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is an online only title. Logging into the EA Servers at the launch of the game sometimes takes its sweet time and if you’re looking to play the game offline in solo mode, it simply isn’t going to happen. This in itself isn’t a deal-breaker, but it is limiting the enjoyment for anyone who hasn’t taken advantage of hooking their Xbox hardware up to the wonders of the internet. Having said that the multiplayer modes offered make me point and laugh at those foolish enough not to introduce their Xbox to the internet.
Six multiplayer offerings are presented to you, in all of their madcap and crazy goodness. From the newly added Turf Takeover to a cosy beginner’s mode for noobs, there’s something to keep you entertained, even if the other modes are mainly the usual one option fits all deathmatch, capture the flag or team deathmatch formats.
Throughout all of the game, the graphics are well presented, with movement befitting the character you’ve chosen, even down to the way you expire. The aiming and shot accuracy are usually pretty good, with things like scenery providing that little bit of extra cover to duck behind if the going gets a little too heavy. Add to this the ability to spit out a little taunt or two via the D-Pad and you got yourself a solid multiplayer romp that gives you the opportunity to develop some skills to take forward into what is traditionally considered to be the more serious multiplayer shooters. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 is for the beginner or the younger market though.
As you are all probably aware Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare 2 is coming to Xbox One on the 23rd February, but what you might not know is that those nice people at EA are granting all players with EA Access memberships a 10 hour free trial starting tomorrow.
Following what EA have done in the past with games like Star Wars Battlefront and Battlefield Hardline anyone who has membership to their subscription service EA Access, will from tomorrow be able to download PvZGW2 and play the full game before its official release.
Plants Vs Zombies 2 put players into an all-out battle, where for the first time in franchise history, zombies have conquered Suburbia and plants are on the attack. Players can now go on the offensive as the plants in all-new modes including the 24-player Herbal Assault mode, or rally the zombies together and defend against the plants in the 4-player co-op mode, Graveyard Ops. Six new character classes are now available and you now have a choice of over one hundred playable plants and zombies from the past, present, and future.
As with any 10 hour free trial the clock only runs as long as the game is open so make sure you close your game when you finish playing to stop the countdown (a mistake I made in a previous trial). The good news is that if you decide to buy the full game all your progress is carried over, including Player Loyalty Rewards.
For more information on EA Access and what great offers it has check out their site here.
Out Today for Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions, the hilarious shooter Plants vs. Zombies™ Garden Warfare heads to the Wild West in Zomboss Down, the brand-new free* downloadable game pack. The new pack will feature even weirder shooter fun with the new Cactus Canyon Gardens and Graveyards Map, eight new playable characters, over 200 wild customization items, an increased Level cap from 20 to 30 for each character, and all-new challenges to accomplish.
In Zomboss Down the plants have blasted down Dr. Zomboss’s blimp and unleashed packs of zombies, who are now roaming the desert and battling their way through the wreckage to reach the local golf course. This golf course doubles as a super-secret facility housing a Cactus army on the unbelievable new Gardens and Graveyards Map, Cactus Canyon. Players will also enjoy increased character levels and eight fun new characters like the Archeologist Zombie, the Wrestling Star Zombie, the Law Pea and the Sun Pharaoh. In addition, players will discover weapon upgrades and skins for new characters, new accessories, tattoos and facial hair, and even more.
Published by EA and developed by Pop Cap, the Plants Vs Zombies series first arrived for Xbox in 2010 and took XBLA by storm. Beginning with defending your home from a Zombie attack using mutated plants put a new spin on the Tower defense genre of games. Jump to 2014 and ‘Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare’ takes on the Third person competitive shooter genre in the same way as Plants and Zombies do battle across Xbox LIVE. But can it really stand up to such competition from the bigger names already shooting it out?
Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare has two gameplay modes. First up is Garden Ops which is essentially the ‘Horde Mode’ from Gears of War but given the Plants Vs Zombies make over. Playable as a solo mode or up to four player co-op, you take the role of the Plants as you defend your garden for up to ten waves of continuous Zombie attacks. You can host your own private game should you want to play it solo or just with friends or you can take it public over Xbox LIVE were your game will be filled with other players looking for a game. There is a difficulty option from Easy, Normal or Hard to test your skills or just to have fun.
First task is to pick the location of your “garden”, and you get a good amount of time to find the best location to defend it. Finding the right location really is key to how successful you will be. Find one with the best cover and view points to see the oncoming zombies and you have the advantage. Pick a location, depending on which map you are on, where you can be cornered by the attackers and you will find yourself struggling to keep your defences up. Each wave increases in the challenge as more dangerous and powerful Zombie classes are sent out against you. After each wave you have time to heal up and repair or set new defences before the attack begins again. Plant Pots around your garden can be used to plant various defences such pea shooters, Gatling gun plants. The options available to you depend on what you have collected via the Sticker Shop but will come to that a bit later.
After a few normal waves you will be put up against a “Boss wave”, and the way this is done is genius. Just before the Boss wave begins, you or a random player in your team will get to control the slot machine above. All players will see it on screen but only one will have the ability to try their luck by pressing A. There is a chance to win some bonus coins here, which can be used in the Sticker Shop, but the aim of the slot machine is to pick your challenge. First time I got the chance to gamble I ended up battling a Yeti Zombie and a Disco Zombie…tougher then normal zombies and will require team work to take down but it changes up each game you play the gamble always means you will have a different challenge each time.
Once all waves are completed, the final task is to be evacuated from the map by getting to the escape zone and surviving until you are collected. This is a fun last gasp battle as you fight your way to the extraction point and to survive until you are collected. This game mode is really fun, even more so if you are playing with friends and just like with other games that use Horde mode, there is so much depth to this mode that you may not have first thought of.
The second game mode time is the multiplayer mode. In this mode you will get the chance to play as the Zombies as well as this game type alternates which team you are, either Plants or Zombies, each match so you get equal chance to explore both sides of the battle. There are four classes for both Plants and Zombies and different characters can be unlocked through purchases in the Sticker shop.
Starting off with the Plants, the four classes you have available are Pea Shooter, Chomper, Sun Flower and Cactus.
Pea Shooter – Ground Soldier with Chili Bean, Hyper and Gatling Gun abilities.
Chomper – Physical attack bases with Ground burrow, Spike Vines mine and Goop attack abilities.
Sun Flower – Medic Class with Sun beam attack, healing flower and healing beam abilities.
Cactus – Tank class with Garlic Drone, Tallnut Battlement shield and Potato Mine Abilities.
Each class only has one ability available when you first play as them. Levelling up via play and completing challenges such as reviving team mates or getting a number of vanquishes (kills) will unlock the other abilities during play. Once unlocked the new ability will be available the next time you re-spawn. There is a class for every style of player. For me I really enjoyed using the Sun Flower. Despite being the medic class, its Sun Beam attack which sees you planting yourself in the ground and firing a solar beam at your enemies until your energy drains really makes it an all rounder as you can heal team-mates with your healing beam or drop the heal plant which is a potted sunflower which will dispense health energy every ten seconds. Planting yourself in the ground you turn into a Gatling seed gun able to rapidly shoot Zombies with devastating effect. Chomper is a Venus fly trap character and has only physical attacks. Its main ability is the ground burrow, which can be used to dig into the ground and tunnel underneath enemies to target one and locking on to burst out devouring them whole for an instant kill. The heavy hitter of the team is the Cactus. It has the ability to put up defensive walls and drop the deadly Potato mines. It also has the ability to launch a Garlic drone which is a remote controlled drone which can be flown around the map to shoot the Zombies. The drone is easily shot down though so whilst fun to use it can be taken out very quickly and Cactus is left vulnerable whilst the drone is in use.
Above you can see a video of some gameplay using the Pea Shooter class. Its primary attack is slow but does a good deal of damage. Its hyper speed ability enables you to get around the map quickly with the added boost to your jump enabling you to jump higher to gain an elevated advantage. The Chilli Bean attack is a short range grenade style attack and is great for taking out multiple enemies near you. The Gatling gun will see you plant yourself into the ground and turn into a Gatling seed gun capable of rapid fire attacks against the enemy.
The Zombie team has the four classes of Foot Soldier, Engineer, Scientist and All Star available:
Foot Soldier – ground trooper class with Rocket Jump, ZPG Rocket and Zombie Stink Cloud abilities
Engineer – stronger ground trooper class with Zombot Drone, Jackhammer and Sonic Grenade abilities
Scientist – medic class with Warp, Heal Station and Sticky Exploder Ball abilities
All Star – Tank Class with Sprint Tackle, Dummy Shield and Imp Punt abilities
The beauty of Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare is that the two sides, whilst having similarities, really have different playing styles with their classes. The engineer is similar to the Pea shooter with a slow but strong primary weapon, the ability to use a jack hammer to travel faster around the map but also has the ability to send up a drone much like the Cactus class from the plants. The Scientist can drop a healing station much like the Sun Flower class but has the ability to warp or teleport short distances to get out of trouble or to flank enemies. The All Star is modelled on an American footballer and is very sports related. Having the ability to drop a dummy shield much like the Cactus class but has a very powerful primary weapon and the imp punt will kick a little zombie which acts like a grenade to enemy plants. The sprint tackle will see you dashing through an enemy often taking them out with the speed of the dash.
The Foot soldier is my favourite Zombie class. As you can see from the gameplay footage above, it is another great all rounder class to use. Machine gun as a primary weapon is a great entry level class to go for. The rocket jump enables you to quickly take the high ground to take out Plants with your machine gun or if you want to do damage to a group you have the ZPG rocket launcher which will fire across the map at them. The Stink cloud is a great little grenade to mess up the enemies in front of you as it will both blind and cause damage but also a great little escape trick to use if you are caught in a jam.
Both sets of teams offer you a different way to play and with the game alternating which team you use per match you really get an overall feel for them as you play. I found my self being more of a medic when on the Plants team but all out assault as a foot soldier for the Zombie team. Both playing styles served me well as I explored the game modes that make up the multiplayer side to the game. Team Vanquish is team deathmatch, first team to get 50 vanquishes wins. The next game type is Gardens and Graveyards, which is a variation of the Rush game type from Battlefield.
Gardens and Graveyards will see either the Plants or Zombies tasked with defending their gardens or graveyards from the other team. Should the attacking team destroy the “station” then the action moves to the next station. To win, the attackers have to destroy all stations and for the defenders to win they only have to successfully defend a station until the game time runs out. This mode requires a good level of team work and communication and like Garden Ops, the defending team is able to use defenses to help in the fight. For the Zombies this means using graves to call upon different classes of Zombie minions to send into battle depending what you have in your reserves. There is also a Classic version of this mode and of Team Vanquish which only lets you play as the basic characters with no upgrades or customization options so just a straight forward no frills contest. If you want to try out both then there is a mixed playlist that will alternate the game types as well.
So, what can you do with all the coins you earn from gameplay then. As above, the game has a “sticker shop”. This is where you can use the in game currency to buy Sticker packs. These packs will give you items you can use in both Garden Ops and Gardens and Graveyards as additional defensive and attacks options. The packs will also contain customization items for your classes as well as unlocking other characters like for example the Fire and Ice versions of the Sun Flower. There are no micro transactions either, so everything is based on what you earn just by playing the game. The packs range from 1000 silver coins up to 20.000 with packs that offer items for both teams or specific to either Plants or Zombies. It is great to play a few games to earn coins and then pop to the sticker shop to see what you can pick up.
With the customisation items you can change the appearance of your characters from hats to glasses to tattoos which can really help you personalize your favourite characters in the game. Some very interesting combinations can be put together and each class has different characters to be unlocked the more you invest in the sticker shop. You really can make this game your own which is one of its biggest charms.
Plants Vs Zombies Garden Warfare is a sneaky little devil of a game. On the surface you expect an XBLA level game but what it really is, is a deep and well designed third person shooter that has solid and fun gameplay enhancing the basic gameplay style from other big series titles and with a lot of charm and old school fun, brings you a game that is just so addictive to play that you will be smiling in every single match you have. This game is just so awesome to play with friends so enhanced by the silliness of playing as a plant or a zombie that with its less then full AAA price, its value speaks volumes as does its gameplay. This game is perfect for adults and for young shooter fans and a real option to the more mainstream and war focused titles in the same genre. It sows the seeds of greatness and like a Zombie it is relentless in bringing in the fun.
EA and PopCap games have unleashed the sequel to the highly addictive Xbox LIVE Arcade peg-smashing game of 2009 – Peggle. Now available on Xbox One, Peggle 2 – the yet-even-more-addictive title offers some brand new features, new characters with special abilities and now automatic game clip recording to capture those moments when your last ball performs some great mean skill shots! If you remember the Xbox LIVE Arcade version, this is quite similar, but now you can share your awesome skills with the world on Xbox One!
If you have never, ever played Peggle before, I can describe it best as a form of the old block smashing game Breakout combined with Pinball elements. Together this makes the ultimate fun arcade style points racking game with platformer style Master characters that add super abilities to your balls. As you start a game your screen is filled with a combination of coloured pegs whilst you have limited balls, the aim is to clear all orange pegs (although they look more red) whilst all other blue pegs on screen add to your points and help with skill shots. In between the mass of orange and blue pegs are green pegs that once smashed will activate your Masters special abilities for a limited time – and purple pegs that boost your points.
Peggle is all about how you master your skills to not only clear the orange pegs, but acquire the most points too. Each level contains around 100 pegs all in all, 25 which are orange, the rest mostly blue and you will control a cannon set at the center top of the screen. You have 10 balls to shoot individually with your cannon by lining up your shots and set at the bottom of the screen is a moving bucket, if your ball lands within the bucket you get a Free Ball, so although you only have 10 balls, it will generally take more than 10 shots to clear the pegs. You can obtain other Free Balls by acquiring points too, or if you fire and don’t hit any Pegs at all there is a coin flip to decide if you should win another shot! Only by clearing all of the orange pegs can you move on to a different level – and they do get trickier as you progress!
Peggle 2 is broken down into Single Player or Multiplayer Mode. Single Player is further broken down in to chapters that are headed by each Peggle Master Character featuring ten levels, ten fun trials and thirty objectives each! You have Bjorn (Super Guide) Unicorn who’s special ability is to offer a more fine-tuned perfected cannon shot, then there is Jeffery (Bowlder) a form of troll who can throw massive boulders to clear a HUGE amount of pegs in one shot, Berg (Deep Freeze) who can send a chill in the air to make pegs smash into each other, Gnorman (Uber Volt) a form of robot who can electrify pegs and take out linked colours in one hit – and finally, Luna (Nightshade) a ghostly being who’s special ability allows all orange pegs to be hit and visible behind all others! Within the single player you will play all levels as each Master within their own chapters, but with some of the Trials and in the games’ Multiplayer you can choose what Master to play with to suit your preferred abilities when the green peg has activated them.
Multiplayer is a four player based game where each player can choose a character and a random level will appear on screen. You have only ten shots in which to acquire the most points and the player with the most points at the end of all the shots is deemed the winner. In multiplayer you will not acquire any free shots, but some Masters have a better chance of winning than others depending upon the layout of the level . It doesn’t seem to be a fair and balance game considering the abilities of both Gnorman and Jeffery are stronger than any other due to being able to wipe out more pegs when their abilities are activated. Multiplayer is a fun and competitive game which uses the Xbox One’s “Smart Match” feature when looking for available games. You literally click you wish to play multiplayer and you will be able to do anything you want on the console until a multiplayer match has been found. This means no sitting around in a lobby waiting, so you just as well have a go at a few Trials in Single player until notified that a game has been found for you.
The only major annoyance with Peggle 2 is that it has an auto game clip recording feature. Whilst some of the shots are difficult and it captures some of your more amazing attempts, it seems to repeatedly record game clips in trials when not necessarily needed, not only bringing up the “Game Clip Recorded” Pop-up, but flooding your Upload and Feed with a constant amount of duplicated clips you are likely to not want!
Peggle 2 is a moderately challenging game that you will want to beat. I guarantee that the moment you start playing you will be hooked, and if you owned the Xbox LIVE Arcade version on the Xbox 360 you will be equally as addicted to the newer, fresher Peggle on Xbox One. Visually it does not appear to be anything special that warrants an Xbox One release over Xbox LIVE Arcade on the Xbox 360 (why it’s not a multi-platform Xbox release is beyond me) but I can only put it down to the clip recording features. It’s a wonderfully fun game that is likely to be enjoyed by just about anyone and everyone.
As well as the deal today, more items have been added which will remain reduced between now and December 31st, listing some of the most popular titles on the Xbox Store in 2013. The best offer is that Xbox Store is currently giving away ‘The Wolf Among Us’ by Telltale games, first episode absolutely FREE !