Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare review round-up

PopCap's shooter follow-up to their tower defense hit has hit the review circuit. Here's a quick run-down of the game's highs and lows according to the critics.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare takes the idea behind PopCap's immensely popular tower defense franchise and turns the concept into a third-person shooter, but were they successful? Here's a quick summary of what different critics are saying from around the web:

USGamer

5 out of 5 stars

"From a myriad of humorous graphical details to its ridiculous, yet creative weapons and characters, everything about the game feels good-natured and fun. The end result is a thoroughly entertaining, super-competitive, high body count FPS that also manages to be accessible, fun, and easy enough to play so that it can be enjoyed by players of all skill levels. Brilliant stuff."

IGN

7.8 out of 10

"Garden Warfare respects its roots by preserving its characters and their humor and skillfully adapting their charm to a third-person shooter. A few clever twists on the standard modes give the action some fresh personality, and the co-op survival mode is a fun homage to the original games. Plus the solid controls, fun modes, and varied map design make it a good shooter to boot."

GamesRadar

3.5 out of 5 stars

"There's nothing groundbreaking about Garden Warfare, but beneath the absurd premise there's a clever, polished shooter with heart--even if it's held back by balance issues and a lack of maps. Whether you have a dozen friends you want to play Gardens & Graveyards with or a small group to grind booster packs in Garden Ops, there's a lot to like in Popcap's first shooter. Wow, I really didn't expect to ever write 'Popcap's first shooter' in a review."

GameSpot

7 out of 10

The good:

  • Pleasantly lighthearted tone and colorful, appealing environments
  • Good assortment of well-balanced class abilities
  • Gardens & Graveyards game type fosters fun, hotly contested battles

The bad:

  • A bit insubstantial for a $40 game
  • Process for unlocking class variants is frustratingly random

VentureBeat

68 out of 100

"It’s apparent that a lot of effort went into updating the PvZ characters for this 3D makeover, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the same series you know and love. Playing Garden Warfare doesn’t feel like tending to a lush, lethal garden — it feels like Team Fortress 2, Call of Duty, or any other squad-based shooter.

"The patient build-up of plant defenses is almost entirely absent, and the zombies act just like competent human soldiers. Although Garden Warfare has some charm, most of it is borrowed from the original games. If this was the first Plants vs. Zombies game in the series, I doubt there’d be much demand for a sequel."

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is out now on Xbox One and Xbox 360, and the game is set to come to PC on June 30. For an even more in-depth run down of reviews, head over to Metacritic.com.

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justinhaywald

Justin Haywald

Senior Editor, Earthbound fan, and snazzy dresser.
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

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53 comments
eternaldragoonx
eternaldragoonx

This game is so much fun with so many unlocks to suck your time. Your doing yourself a disservice if you dont pick up this game.

MetaMods
MetaMods

Is offline split screen on xbox 360?

GGCrew_basic
GGCrew_basic

A "round up" is not why I come to Gamespot.  If I wanted "here's what other people think", I'd head to MetaCritic one of the many braindead aggregation/relinking sites.


Gamespot needs to focus on their own thoughts and opinions, not summarizing the thoughts and opinions of others.

robertcain
robertcain

Hmm, strange choice of article from GS. I thought we had Metacritic to sum up things like this?

Triton
Triton

Finally, maybe a shooter my wife will try...

dogfather76
dogfather76

Just when I thought the articles here couldn't get any lazier...

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

Wow, you guys doing round-ups now! That's awesome in my book, but is it cool with the other guys?

an_advert
an_advert

I'm looking forward to this game and all, but is there seriously nothing better to report on?

blackace
blackace

Looks ok, but I'm not rushing out to get it with all the games coming out next month. This can wait until it becomes FREE for GWG.

Setho10
Setho10

So is this going to be a new thing on the site? I kind of feel like Metacritic has this covered. Being owned by the same company maybe they should do some sort of feature promoting that site that is integrated with it in some way? Maybe a video feature like Metacritic's weekly review roundup! or something to that effect?

feared4power
feared4power

if this game was a blast it would be absolute

Stevo_the_gamer
Stevo_the_gamer moderator moderator

This game looks like an absolute blast.

Dezuria
Dezuria

I don't care about Titanfall.  But this I'm interested in!  Bring on the PC version please!

dmastor
dmastor

Looks fun but titanfall comes out in just 2 weeks but look like a good change of pace for shooter 

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

would rather had wished for a real conker game.

ps: do you mean CBS's metacritic "justin". the one that's used to sack or not people ?!

Wrathesoul
Wrathesoul

I would give this game a quite good score if it had a single player story mode and the split screen let you play as the zombies as well not only plants as that makes it very limited and can get boring fast. Also I am not impressed with games that force gamers to pay for gold just to play a complete version of their game. I don't play online except with the pc so don't need or want gold I pay for the net that's all I care to pay for. This game could have easily been made with offline features that are very similar to the online versions IMO

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

I feel like we need more slap-stick kind of shooter games,  too many of them take themselves far too seriously!

senorbusyman
senorbusyman

i give it a 7.5 for fun & weirdness shooter buy it

saw3624
saw3624

@MetaMods No.  It sounds like that is not the case.  Amazon Customer Reviews say there's no split-screen co-op on the Xbox 360 version, and I checked the back of the physical game against Splinter Cell: Blacklist and noticed there is Co-Op listed on both cases, but only on the Xbox Live portion of Garden Warfare, whereas Blacklist has it in the offline portion.

I know the game is online-only on the Xbox 360, but I still think it would have said co-op in the offline segment of the case if it was indeed the... case.

Really stupid.

pupp3t_mast3r
pupp3t_mast3r

@GGCrew_basic  I've got to say I feel similarly, I go to MetaCritic for a quick description and an aggregate score. 


But their scoring means nothing when compared to the opinions of some of the reviewers I've come to trust over the years in Gamespot.

justinhaywald
justinhaywald moderator staff

@GGCrew_basic  Do you use Metacritic, or do you prefer reading the full reviews on their home sites? I'm a bigger fan of summary's but I'd like to know what people think.

justinhaywald
justinhaywald moderator staff

@robertcain  Is there anyway of presenting content like this that you think would be worthwhile as a quick news update around big games? I don't check Metacritic regularly, but I like the idea of pulling out other sites and seeing the range of scores around a game. 


Would adding in a graphic help? Or would making it even simpler be better?

Tegorian
Tegorian

@Triton  Don't forget the companion app that allows someone who may not be so great at shooters to help with Boss Mode.  

ExtremePhobia
ExtremePhobia

@Triton  That's what I thought =) She'll probably only play the co-op though. Which is just fine for me. There's also the fact that this is an EA product and I don't see it selling well so the servers will probably go down well before the price reaches a point where I'd be willing to buy it for a single game mode.

justinhaywald
justinhaywald moderator staff

@dogfather76  Is there anything about a reveiew round-up that you think could be worthwhile, or is that the type of content that you don't feel is very interesting?

justinhaywald
justinhaywald moderator staff

@xsonicchaos  What do you think would make a round-up like this better? We'll be trying this in a few ways with several games over the coming months, but I'd really like to know what people think about this type of content.

justinhaywald
justinhaywald moderator staff

@an_advert  It's a big game, and i think there's value in looking at what other critics think about the game. What if this were a site for other people to share their impressions of the game?

justinhaywald
justinhaywald moderator staff

@Setho10  Thanks for the feedback! Metacritic is a part of our CBS family, and I love the service they provide. Is there anyway in text that you think we can condense this more for our more savvy, games-focused audience? 


I think on GameSpot, we're more open to talking about the reviews and the game, whereas Metacritic is more of a closed-off space that's not open to debate. And their user reviews just get lost in the shuffle.

justinhaywald
justinhaywald moderator staff

@sunbeam4  Metacritic.com is part of the CBSi family (along with Giant Bomb and us). 


Some companies do use Metacritic averages to decide how successful a game is (and whether teams will get bonuses or make a sequel), but I think that's a pretty messed up way to decide those matters. Especially since Metacritic scores aren't a good metric for game sales (or else Okami would've sold gangbusters and Zelda games would outsell Call of Duty). 

XxAK47xX
XxAK47xX

@sunbeam4  oh god yes we need a conker game for sure .  money set aside for that game. 

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

@Wrathesoul Yea, to many team based games like that, I prefer single player games with Multiplayer options as well.

GGCrew_basic
GGCrew_basic

@pupp3t_mast3r "But their scoring means nothing when compared to the opinions of some of the reviewers" -- I feel your comment is echoed by a number of the GameSpot staff, as evidenced by the redesign of the review template:  whereas the review score used to be at the top of the article, the review score is now located at the end of the review text.

I'm a firm believer that the review text is what matters, not the overall score.  Summaries can be good for a quick hit, similar to how headlines usually encapsulate the meat of a story.  The body is where the critical stuff is: The reviewer is able to explain what they liked and didn't like, expound on important or unique gameplay elements, and provide additional context.

And, yes, some reviewers are better than others. :)

GGCrew_basic
GGCrew_basic

@justinhaywald

I only hit up MetaCritic for older titles, mainly because reviews for older games can be difficult to chase down on their original sites.

I prefer to read full reviews on their home sites.  The games are in their prime zeitgeist stage, and reviews that discuss other games (for comparison/contrast) have a better context.  Plus, the sites get their appropriate page hits and ad revenue.

I've seen a lot of videogame sites/shows/magazines come & go over my 35+ years of gaming, and I feel GameSpot has been among the best: detailed reviews, critical previews ("critical" as in "here are some positives and here are some concerns", and not "this sucks"), well-researched features, and written for the general gaming public.  While I don't always agree with the reviews, they provide good information and I respect the time that went into them and the authors' opinions.

I've been reading GameSpot since its early days, when it was purely PC focused and console-related stuff was at VideoGameSpot.com; I've seen it go through a number of changes.  This is the first time I've been worried that it is transitioning from "trustworthy news site."  I've noticed a recent trend of list-based articles and click-bait headlines ("Six things you need to know about...", "Seven Facts About...", "Five Things I Learned About...", "Watch this [guy] go bananas playing a video game", "This ... is just perfect", "Check out these awesome...")  I expect that stuff at sites like BuzzFeed and UpWorthy, but not here.  It's GameSpot's contributions to the videogame culture that had made the site worthwhile; I want the site to continue that legacy.

In fact, GameSpot recently introduced some new items that I feel are fantastic additions: revisiting previously reviewed games, and reviewing "early access" games.  Both additions are important in their own way, and both accurately reflect current trends in the videogame market.  ("SaaS" and nigh-ubiquitous post-release patches for the former, and the growing prevalence of buying & playing in-development games for the latter.)

All in all, the past few months at GameSpot have been an interesting mix of "what a great addition!" and "who approved that?"  I want GameSpot to continue being an important site for videogame news, reviews, and reporting.

Thanks for reading, and (more importantly) thanks for asking for my thoughts.
 

GGCrew_basic
GGCrew_basic

@justinhaywald I attempted to post a long response here, but it might have been eaten by the Internet monster.  I'll retry when I get some more free time.

dogfather76
dogfather76

If I wanted a couple of sentences about the reviews, I'd go to metacritic. It just seems like a big step backwards for Gamespot. As the writer, you can't possibly be proud of this article. With all that's going on in gaming, there has to be something much more substantial you could write about.

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

@justinhaywald @xsonicchaos go to your "old" french sister site GK.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

@justinhaywald

I always use Metacritic, but that's more of a mash-up of everything, before of a round-up, so it's very informal, but too much content to browse through. On the other corner, allgamesbeta (a small and nice little blog) gives a great score-only round-up of near every important gaming website (linked to the score), even foreign ones, but their only downside is the layout of the website, as there's no search option or any kind of category. 

Anyway, this would be the most optimal preference (the way I see it): game website, score, brief synopsis (conclusion). So far, so good, but a little bit more reviews would be awesome. Maybe a cleaner layout of the text, not to encumber the article too much, like compact paragraphs, or even columns, and cleaner interjections with pictures, but I'm a perfectionist. I'm not speaking for everyone. I like this stuff because I really don't have the time to read every review out there, and instead of missing that one review that could hook me into that game, I can actually see the brief impressions and go from there. I tthink it's something to develop on, maybe even a video show, that would be great. You should seriously consider it. Maybe make an article, a poll, ask the community what they think of the idea. I totally support you.

GGCrew_basic
GGCrew_basic

@justinhaywald @Setho10  

Because MetaCritic is part of the CBS family, perhaps you could include the MetaCritic score near the score/summary block?  This solution might address the "value in what others think" angle, while also keeping the news feed clear of summarization articles.

When reading reviews from other authors, I'm most interested in where they differ.  Perhaps future "round up" articles could focus on this aspect?  eg: "We loved the platforming elements, but (now-defunt) GameSpy thought the jumping was 'floaty and imprecise' and those elements detracted from the game. (<<link to review>>)"

sunbeam4
sunbeam4

@Gelugon_baat @sunbeam4 but you still the one to suck balls.