Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville Review – Garden Warfare

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Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare and its sequel were both games that I spent a lot of time playing, their cutesy visuals and fun multiplayer shooting acting as a great alternative to the more serious Call of Dutys and Battlefields of the world. But a third game never appeared, and Plants vs Zombies sort of faded away, its days as a multiplayer shooter nearly forgotten. Until now, that is. Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville may not have the Garden Warfare name but it’s most certain a sequel, one that has snuck under the radar. Released this past week with very little hype or advertising it has sucked up hour after hour of my time.

In fact, there was so little buildup to release that when I went to hunt down screenshots for this review I discovered that there were barely any. Did EA just push this one out of the back door in the middle of the night?

Available On: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Reviewed On: Xbox One X
Developer: PopCap Games
Publisher: EA

Once again it’s third-person warfare with the cute plants vs the moaning zombies as they battle for supremacy across a few different modes. The headlining act is easily Turf Takeover where its 12v12 with one team defending a series of objectives while the other attempts to power through. The zombies may have to push through a payload while the brave plants fend them off, or a Mallowmortar that rains down sticky marshmallow death might have to be blown up.

Each team gets a roster of 10-different characters and this is where I feel Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville excels by making each one feel distinct. A lot of that is because of the sheer amount of personality and charm that the developers have managed to forcefully shove into their designs and their animations. I love the way that the cheerful sunflower skips across the levels, or how the Zombie’s quarterback lugs his football launcher around. Many of these characters return from the prior games but a couple of them are new, like the Zombie’s space cadet who floats around in a little UFO or the Plant’s tiny acorn who can grow into a massive, tough oak that stomps around the level. These new additions slot nicely into the existing roster, giving plenty of variety when it comes to finding something that suits you.

No matter the character you opt to use in a match you get three special abilities that you can use. The humble peashooter can plant its roots and turn into a lethal gatling gun, while the Dreadbeard can climb into a barrel before running into a crowd and detonating it, a tactic that is exceptionally deadly given the game’s love of having to capture or defend small, confined areas where an explosion can wipe out a whole team. Again, every class feels like it does enough to help separate it from the others and give it a distinct role on the battlefield. My personal favourite at the moment is a ninja mushroom on the Plant team who can vanish in a puff of smoke, thrown down bubbles that makes allies disappear and can unleash an insane flurry of blows. As a small character the mushroom is easy to overlook, so combined with its relatively low health it’s meant to be used carefully, striking from the flanks before disappearing again. Another person favourite is the Chomper, a menacing plant that’s almost all mouth and teeth which can burrow underground before emerging underneath a victim and swallowing them hole. The downside is that while digesting its unfortunate prey the Chomper moves slowly and can’t attack, making it a sitting plant.