Review - Plants vs. Zombies 2
Plants vs. Zombies was, and still is, a phenomenon of the mobile gaming world. Due to its charm, simplicity, and addicting nature, millions of people became obsessed with the game, making it hit and stay in the top of the App Store charts to this very day. However, that was in February 2010. Since then it has received dozens of ports to all kinds of platforms, but it has never actually gotten a sequel or even a spin-off. Months turned to years as fans waited. Rumors fell through and speculation was discredited until finally, the aptly named Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time was announced. Even after all this time, time in which mobile gaming has seen incredible advancement, Plants vs. Zombies 2 manages to completely capture the magic of its predecessor while, at the same time, being better in every way.
Plants vs. Zombies 2 begins when your neighbor, Crazy Dave, travels back in time to re-eat a delicious taco. Yup. This immediately sets the zany, humorous tone that Plants vs. Zombies is known for, a tone that PvZ 2 definitely maintains. Your two companions, Crazy Dave and his talking car (don’t ask), are an excellent source of humor on their own, popping up consistently through your playthrough to exchange chuckle-worthy dialogue. However, the best comedy in PvZ 2 actually comes from the Almanac. You owe it to yourself to read through the descriptions for all the zombies and plants, because there are some real gems waiting inside.
“Charming” is the word I could never quite escape while thinking about Plants vs Zombies 2’s graphics. Each of the 30+ plants have unique sprites that not only look great, but do an excellent job in communicating the plant’s ability to the player by just their design. When you animate these sprites, they are even more striking. The screen feels alive as your battle rages on, which helps maintain the game’s energy. On the other side (literally), the zombies aren’t quite as interesting. Most of them are based on the same ho-hum zombie model, only outfits varying. I can’t deny, however, that those outfits are pretty fun and it is still very entertaining to watch the zombies’ body parts fall off as they’re hit. Combined with excellent color and detail, this perfect art style makes PvZ 2 a treat to look at.
In terms of its core gameplay, Plants vs. Zombies 2 is nearly identical to its predecessor, but that is certainly not a bad thing. You place your selected plants strategically across the battlefield as a constant stream of zombies try to get across to eat your brains. It is just as stellar as before to build up your perfect defense and watch it work wonders against even the largest waves. When your line inevitably begins to break, trying to survive is frenetic and surprisingly intense. Plant variety is excellent, offering a nice string of rewards as you unlock new ones, and allows players to experiment with all sorts of strategies to see what they like best. The zombies are also diverse, offering a great deal of enemy variety to keep you on your toes. While there isn’t much else to say about PvZ 2’s basic mechanics, I can’t stress enough just how solid this foundation is. It’s the main reason the series became popular in the first place, and it works just as well today.
Plants vs. Zombies 2 has two major gameplay additions. The first is called Finger Power. If you start to lose, you can spend a sizable chunk of coins to activate one of three powers that allow you to personally interact with and destroy a large number of zombies. On paper these seem fine, but in practice they feel overpowered and shallow, clearly being there with the sole purpose of taking some hard-earned coins from desperate players. That does not apply, however, to the second addition, called Plant Food. Plant Food is dropped by random zombies throughout the battle, and when applied to a plant, awesomeness occurs. Think of Plant Food as the PvZ equivalent of a Super Saiyan mode, an Avatar State, a Mega Evolution, the Hulk when he gets angry, etc. To put it simply, that plant gets really powerful, their regular ability being multiplied tenfold for a brief period of time. Honestly, this is my favorite part of PvZ 2. Using Plant Food at the right time can shift the tide of battle, adding a great layer of real-time strategy. Applying a Plant Food to a Peashooter to deal with a pesky cannon, putting one on a Sunflower to afford that crucial plant, placing it on a Cabbage-pult to decimate the final wave, all of these things are incredibly satisfying and only possible because of this brilliantly simple mechanic.
As a way to improve replayability, Plants vs. Zombies 2 was designed with an overworld, complete with side paths. These side path levels are not traditional levels, but rather quasi mini games, much like the bowling levels in PvZ 1. They’re good for a change of pace, but unfortunately you have to use keys to unlock those paths, which are slowly earned just by playing. Likewise, you earn stars, a currency in the game, by completing challenges, which is another feature added to increase your time playing. Three challenges, and therefore three stars, are obtainable in each level. You earn them by beating that level with certain limitations, such as not losing a mower, waiting 30 seconds to plant anything, and only using a certain amount of sunlight. For those wanting more difficulty, this is a good place to find it, as failing just one of the prerequisites for a star will force you to start all over. Outside of these side notes, PvZ 2 contains 30 main levels, with more worlds coming in free updates soon.
Mentioning the fact that Plants vs. Zombies 2 is free to play is unavoidable, and while it isn’t a deal-breaker like many are claiming, its implementation is an important thing to address. The good news is that literally every single level of PvZ 2 is playable without spending a dime. If you choose not to partake in any in-app purchases, the full game is absolutely free. Sadly, frustration is the alternate price to pay. As I mentioned before, you collect stars by completing challenges on each level, and you proceed to the next world by gathering a certain amount of them. Well, the number of stars needed is quite steep, meaning to continue you’ll have to complete a ton of challenges, or, you guessed it, pay up. Real money also buys you a selection of miscellaneous plants (all from PvZ 1), coins, and various upgrades (which can also be earned in-game).
In theory, I have absolutely no problems with these systems. Considering that they’re offering the whole game for free, these restrictions are very understandable. In fact, a lot of paid games have identical systems in place, just with lower requirements. The problem lies in the prices themselves being way too high. I can get the entirety of Plants vs. Zombies for $1, so don’t ask for $4 for a single plant in PvZ 2. I understand that EA is a business and needs to make money off this game, but they really need to drastically slash these prices. That will encourage more people to buy items and make EA look less greedy. However, please keep in mind that PvZ 2 is still a great game despite these in-app purchases. If you want to protest these practices, I get it. Just download the game and never spend any money in it. It's that simple. That will send the message while also letting you play the game. Being tired of these practices is fine, I am too, but please don't let the soapbox keep you from this incredibly rewarding experience.
Plants vs. Zombies 2 is a delight, being practically everything one could look for in a video game. The gameplay is incredibly fun, deep, and varied, the production is incredibly appealing, it’s packed to the brim with content, and it even has a great sense of humor and identity. All of this for FREE. There is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t give Plants vs. Zombies 2 a chance. At first, sure, you may pick it up just to kill some time, but don’t be surprised if, before too long, you start falling in love.
8s are great games that have something holding them back from excellence, or some features aren't as polished. They are still extremely worthy of playing, but may not be the most impressive..
|Sean Capdeville is the official mobile game reviewer of ScrewAttack.com. An aspiring filmmaker, his favorite games include Skyrim, Link's Awakening DX, and NOVA 3. In his spare time, he likes to reference Casablanca.|
Acttulay i am wishing the death of EA , or change to better,but, we all know they never gonna change.
Yeesh dude. You hate EA. You don't have to be that harsh though. Yes. EA has made a load of bad decisions, but they still make some decent games. this game isn't even made by EA. It was just published. Even so, you talk like you're wanting anyone who's worked at EA to die. come on dude. wishing for a person to die is not cool.
the score is low, because i gave 1,because it is a EA game.
Fuck you.You guys will never understand that EA must go forever.If EA still exist, this industry can never be called art,because EA is the proof that how a company can just make a quick buck and dont give a fuck to the fans. Eletronic "Arts" my ASS
You are just helping EA stay on the market.We need all help to take out EA for good.
Sorry,but, EA did so much shit,i cant respect anything from EA.Evrey single game from EA must pay,with death.EA dosent do art,it does cash out.
I just hate EA,so,evry game from EA i hate.
Because you keep glorifying the original, when it didn't even have all the things you are so adamant that the sequel is lacking at this time, such as Zen Garden. I've already said that I would much prefer it wasn't under a F2P model, but that doesn't ruin the game for me, cause its still fun, the amount of plants it has is kinda superfluous, and the mini-games in the first weren't all that great either. You should give it time because the initial game is free and all the stuff you can pay for is optional, if you had to pay money for the game and it had additional purchasable components on top of the fact this its incomplete then you're vehement attitude towards the game would seem warranted, but as it stands, it just makes you look like you're going out of your way for reasons to dislike the game in favor of it predecessor.
Why should I give it time? Its released, that means developers think that its ready for the consumer. For some reason most of the time when someone releases an unfinished product people go apeshit, but this time I should "give it time"? I know its f2p and basically its a platform, not a game, like LoL for example. But LoL is multiplayer game, it doesnt have SP part, as result every game is different and gameplay experience is getting made on the go. Here I have to play what developers created and what I see currently is inferior to its predecessor. So I ask you once again - why should I give it time when its already released? Its not a beta, alpha, demo or review copy, its consumer final release.
You're incredibly stubborn, I already told you to give it time, but you'e still saying the same thing even after multiple people have told you variations of this. You've at this point played probably less then half the game and once more content is added even less. The game will likely get many of the things you're asking and might even already have some of it. If you can't bring yourself to finish the game, that's fine, but to judge the game so harshly at the point you are at in the game and where the game is at in its lifespan is pretty immature.
That's odd because for me, it was kinda the opposite. I had gotten bored with the original and this reinvigorated the fun I had with the series. To each his own, I suppose.
I've actually been on the reviews team for over a year now.
Wow what the hell is with the low score from the community, yes this game isn't as great as the first, and the prices are a bit high (though completely optional), it still doesn't deserve such a low score such as a 6.
Since when was this guy part of screwattack?
I have played this game and while I agree that it looks good on paper, I just didn't feel like I was having as much fun as I did (and still do) with Plants Vs. Zombies 1. That doesn't make it a bad game by any means, but not quite worth of an 8.5. More like 6.5 or 7. But just my humple opinion. :-)
The fact the music is "worse" is completely subjective. Also to be completely fair, when the original Plants vs Zombies came out on iOS, the Zen Garden didn't even exist yet. It wasn't until recently it was updated to support all the features that the PC/Console versions had.
Worse music, less plant variety (50 in the original to 32 in sequel), same with zombies, forced f2p (I would've been fine if I could buy entire game for 15 or so bucks), no zen garden, not a single decent minigame yet (I am at the pirates right now and have no interest in finishing game). And I dont care how "unbelievably unfair" it is, they made worse game than the first one - they dont get a single cent from my pocket.
That's... really shallow. EA is a publisher, not even the developer. They make a HUGE variety of games. I'll admit, I dislike supporting EA, but if a game is good, then I'll get it. I'm just mucch more cautious about EA titles.