E3 2013 | Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Is A Pleasant Surprise

Raise your hand if you saw Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare coming. Yeah, I didn’t think so, but chances are you’re happy that it exists.

Series fans got plenty of love at this year’s E3 with the announcement of Plants vs. Zombies 2, but Garden Warfare was extra icing on an already delicious cake. Going by the game’s reveal trailer and demonstration, this is something that is being taken very seriously. The same silly humor found in the original Plants vs. Zombies has been transported to a fully functional tower defense game that’ll be released sometime next year.

While we (sadly) weren’t able to get any hands on time with the game, EA did offer an extended look of what we can expect. Gameplay followed the simple tower defense formula: you and your team defending against an incoming horde. In this case, players controlled various plants, each with their own unique skillset. The Sunflower is a healer, the Peashooter bears a striking resemblance to a heavy type character, the Chomper is your melee fighter, and the Cactus is your sniper. The classes themselves are pretty basic: each will have various skills at their disposal and each will need to work together while fulfilling their personal role on the battlefield. All and all, it’s pretty standard fare in terms of the gameplay, but it comes with the charm and humor of the Plants vs. Zombies series.

The concern for any game that uses said charm as a selling point is ensuring that holds up in the long run. Style and flair can only take games so far; they need solid gameplay to back them up. By sticking to the traditional roots of the tower defense genre, developer Popcap is ensuring solid gameplay is able to keep Garden Warfare afloat. Once the novelty of sniping with cactus needles, summoning a boxing vegetable, or summoning popcorn airstrikes wears off, it’s looking like we’ll have a solid game to fall back on. Of course, when you show off your first boss enemy as a disco zombie, then there’s probably some really killer surprises in store.

If I’m sounding a bit indifferent on Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, I don’t mean to. The game looks fun, but I’m needing to see more before making anything close to a judgement on the game. Is it a fantastic surprise? You bet, but there’s more I need to know about the game: how will it draw in Plants vs. Zombie fans that have never played a shooter before? How will it draw in fans of other tower defense games? Will the popcorn air strikes simultaneously fly popcorn directly into my mouth while I play? These are the burning questions I’d like to see answered. Thankfully, there should be plenty of time for that; Garden Warfare isn’t coming out until next year when it releases on Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.

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