Shooting plants in a third-person, competitive shooter was the last thing I expected to come out of the Plants vs. Zombies franchise. But there I was, launching explosive concrete blocks out of my zombie engineer's cement mixer backpack. The action is fast and intense--but also far less strategic than the other PvZ games. Instead, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare takes the epic battle between foliage and undead and puts players in direct control of cute sunflowers and rotting corpses.
I played Team Vanquish mode, Garden Warfare's equivalent to team deathmatch. Players can choose between four character classes in each faction. Classes like the zombie footsoldier and the Plants' Peashooter act as the typical, all-around soldier with rapid-fire weapons and explosives. There are also special classes like the healing zombie Scientist and Sunflower, or brutes like the zombie All-Star. Each character has a distinct feel and playstyle; the Plants' Chomper, for example, can burrow underground and stealth kill zombies by popping out and gobbling them up, while the zombie Engineer can use his special drone to fly above the crowd and rain down artillery strikes.
Garden Warfare retains the charm of the franchise. The Engineer's buttcrack slips into view when he jumps on his speedy jackhammer. There are various customization options that allow you create a unique Plant or Zombie soldier, altering your class' abilities as you see fit. Outside of the Team Vanquish mode, Garden Warfare will also feature a Gears of War-style horde mode and a Battlefield-style rush mode, which has me eager to check out the final game when it releases this February.
Check out the following slides for more info and images
Special unlocks can give your characters unique abilities, like freezing projectiles.
Changing costumes can also change your weapons.
The frozen Cactus costume lets you freeze foes with long-range sniping.
Garden Warfare is hell.