The first Garden Warfare really blew away all my expectations giving us a cheaper multiplayer experience that was very light at heart. The game is focused towards younger individuals so that it's open to all ages though I know many older individuals that just love this game as well. I even packed a ton of hours into the first game and equally look forward to with the sequel.
With the second entry they've moved the game to a full release and packed additional content to justify that. For those familiar with that first title it was purely an online experience though with this one they've taken great strides to include single player content. This comes in the form of the major hub world that's filled with never ending conflict of the two sides and missions for either sides of the action.
Both the plants and zombies have a number of quests for you accomplish within the hub world. These act as levels and not really a strict campaign of the sense though they tie together nicely to give the image of one. There are also local multiplayer options with bots if you'd like and also splitscreen which many still enjoy. The hub besides being this nice place to visit is also the general portal to send you into all the modes whether that be any of the multiplayer modes or Garden/Graveyard Ops area.
As far as multiplayer modes go there's a lot of them including returning and a pile of new modes. I'd list them like usual though it would take a couple lines and most of them were created to balance out the new side for zombies. In the past it was really just the plants playing defense in objective modes though this time around all modes of the sort work out both ways. That means that zombies now have a host on turrets to defend with and plants now have attacker plants as well.
This is all balanced and it's mostly fresh to see both sides of the conflict now. Aside from the large roster of game modes present in the game there are also a ton of new maps which all look awesome. They really went even wilder with the environments from some more traditional spots to place like a frozen tundra or even in space. Each has even greater levels of detail than the first game and are slightly more focused which makes it a bit harder to flank around.
The roster has also basically doubled with each team receiving three new characters. The plants now have Rose which is a more mystical creature, Kernal Korn which is a corn stock that packs major fire power and Citron which is a more defensive character with a powerful shield. The zombies have Imp which is tiny, easy to kill and can call in a titan. They also have Super Brainz which is a super hero zombie and Captain Deadbeard which is a pirate. I found the plants got the better end of the new roster though I'm sure we'll see the game balance itself out during the first few weeks of release.
Garden/Graveyard Ops is truly a separate entity from the multiplayer being the cooperative aspect of the experience. The game pits a squad of four against waves of opposing enemy troops. Originally it was just the plants defending against the enemy foes though they've expanded it to include a zombie's side as well. The game takes place on the wide selection of maps and allows players to place a garden/graveyard at certain points across the map to defend for the match.
Instead of being just wave based with some special rounds between they've now opened it up for some fun extras. You now have optional objectives such as retrieving items, taking on special enemies or even defending the squash. While it may seem like simple extras it does give you something better to do than just defending the point the entire time. I also want to mention for those that have never played you also get to place defense turrets around the base to assist in protection of the plot and that's it aside from your squad.
The game looks great featuring a cartoon style look to it which is mostly fun though it's much more shiny this time around which is great. It has that familiar feel from the first game, but with a much better visual density and even more small references to things. The combat feels just as great as before without too many changes though with the tighter areas on some maps in can become slightly claustrophobic.
It's also hard to adjust to since the extra enemies vary the battlefield and it actually does feel more balanced out. The hud area for players is rather simple with regular shoot mechanics and three button mapped abilities to unleash. Classes can also be promoted in this title for hitting level ten and there are a number of variants for characters that are unlocked within the card collection area.
Existing characters will carry over from the first game within the import valid only for a limited time. The card system is how you get new accessories for your characters, unlock new variants and get extra minions to spawn in during matches. There are a variety of packs bought with coins that are constantly unlocked through whatever you may be playing. You get coins very quickly and the whole system feels very rewarding.
Garden Warfare 2 is basically just the bigger and better version of an already solid game. It expands almost every element of the game with tons of additional things to unlock or do. There are even attempts to bringing together a campaign experience as well into the title.
While I'll always prefer a traditional menu the whole hub world was beautiful, quick and really efficient for players to use. This is a great game for all ages to enjoy as it brings a strong shooting experience with the fun of the Plants vs Zombies universe. I'm sure a great many hours will be spent by all that check this out whether that be playing in the hub area, battling it out online or working together in the Ops modes.
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Review on Xbox One