Plants vs. Zombies 2

PZ21

The evil Dr. Zomboss is back, only this time he’s been able to uncover the secrets to traveling through time, and you’ll need to defend not just your backyard but backyards from ancient Egypt all the way to the far future.

While the zombies in Plants vs. Zombies have no problem munching on the plants that get in their way, most zombies could care less about eating vegetation, even if that vegetation happens to be shooting peas, boomerangs, corn, butter, lettuce, watermelons, lasers, cannonballs, or anything else that can be shot. There are some zombies that might indulge in a plant based diet, but there aren’t many. The real reason a garden might actually work well in repelling the undead is mainly due to zombies appreciating the hard work that goes into creating a nice garden. Not just a drab little herd garden either, but a large, well-manicured plot full of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. When a zombie sees a garden that obviously took a lot of work to create, they don’t want to mess it up by trampling all over the plants. Have you ever tried to grow a garden? It’s a pain in the ass, especially for the undead. It seems like zombies just don’t have a green thumb, figuratively speaking anyways. Knowing the work it takes, coupled with our own inability to grow anything other than mold, makes us very appreciative of a beautiful garden, so if you really want to stop a horde of zombies at bay don’t bother with barricades or traps, just surround your house with a garden. We will surely leave you alone then, and I’m not only saying that to keep you from barricading your house either.

In Plants vs. Zombies 2, you must continue the fight you began in the first game, despite having defeated Dr. Zomboss, the zombie behind sending the hordes against you. The zombies have returned thanks to a screw up by friend and ally Crazy Dave. He ate what he thought was the perfect taco and was determined to do so again, using a sentient time machine/RV to recreate his ideal meal. A mistake causes the zombies to be flung through time though, and a reanimated Dr. Zomboss begins to lead them once again, this time intent on creating a time line where zombies are the dominate life forms, and humans are simply their cattle. You’ll have to follow them through time from ancient Egypt, through the Dark Ages, an age of pirates, and the American old west, all the way to the distant future. If you can’t defend these places from Dr. Zomboss’ onslaught, the present you return to may be one in which you aren’t the dominant species, but the dominant food.

PZ27

{Dr. Zomboss appears to have downgraded a bit since his giant metal suit days though}

I have to admit to being disappointed right off the bat with this one. Not because it was bad or anything, but because of the only platform it was available on, your smart phone or tablet. I would have loved to play this on an XBOX or a PlayStation, but Plants vs. Zombies 2 is unfortunately only available on your Android or iPhone. It has the advantage of being able to be played at the bus stop, grandma’s house, or any other time you’re bored, but I would have still liked the option to play on a console. Still, my initial disappointment aside, it was nearly as much fun as the first game, better even in some ways, though I did have an issue with one thing related to it being a freemium game, but more on that later.

PZ28{Crazy Dave refused to let you get bored}

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is similar in a lot of ways to the first one. It’s still a tower defense game that has you defending a five to six lane grid with a creative assortment of plants that shoot different projectiles at varying speeds, hurl multiple vegetables, block incoming zombies, explode, burn, devour, electrocute, trap, fling, freeze, and poison. These plants have a lot of different functions. You’ll have to use them to protect the left side of your grid from the approaching zombies as they make their way from the right. Should they make it all the way across a lane you’ll get one “get out of jail free card” in the form of some kind of contraption, it’s different for each world but usually some form of a lawnmower, that will make its way down the lane and take out any zombie walking through, giving you time to set up some more plants. If the zombies make it all the way down that lane again though, you lose, this goes for all five lanes. In order to place your defensive plants you’ll need sun, something that drops from the sky, except in the Dark Ages world, or that you can generate from planting sunflowers. Each plant costs a different amount of sun, so you’ll have to plan carefully or risk running out just when you need it most. Planning is as big a part of Plants vs. Zombies 2 as it was in the first game. The different zombies that will be coming at you are extremely varied in what they will do, some are either lightly or heavily armored, some will send smaller, quicker creatures at you such as weasels, parrots, or mini zombies, some will protect other zombies, and others will carry weapons capable of instantly destroying your plants. You’ll have to carefully take stock of exactly what zombies are going to be in the level, something you’ll get a quick peak of before the level starts, and decide what plants you want to take into said level as you are only allowed a certain number of plant types at a time. Not all the levels are going to give you a choice though, a big change up from the first game is in level types you will have to play through in order to beat Plants vs. Zombies 2. Vasebreaker is back, the game in which you are presented with a set of vases and need to carefully decide which vases to break and how quickly to break since some have zombies and some have defensive plants, but that’s a separate game entirely. I’m talking about the main adventure where things are constantly changed up as you play through. Most levels are standard tower defense, place plants to defend against zombies until a certain amount of the undead have been taken care of or taken care of you, but others will switch things up a bit. There are levels that only grant you a limited amount of sun, forcing you to cautiously consider what to plant, levels that will only give you plants one at a time as they pop up in your inventory, levels that will give you cannons that can only shoot once every five seconds or so, even a type of a memory game where you have to match up cards the zombies are carrying in order to destroy pairs, and that’s just to name a few. Keeping the play creative and constantly changing the levels up kept things interesting. I felt like I was revisiting the first game but getting something entirely new at the same time.

PZ29

{Memory has never been so much fun}

The creativity goes beyond just the gameplay though. The setup for the main game is a bit different this time with the time travel aspect of things. With the first game you were always playing in your own backyard, and while the level setups changed from flat ground, to the middle lanes being aquatic, to rooftop levels, you were still always in your own backyard, or above it. In Plants vs. Zombies 2 you travel through time and visit the entire world, starting out in a long ago Egypt, and then going to a European pirate dominated 1600’s, the American wild west, the far future, the European Dark Ages, a Hawaiian type beach world, an icy wasteland, and a lost city reminiscent of the Aztec Empire. Each time period you go to has zombies that are very much tailored to that world, meaning there are a lot of different zombie types. For example, ancient Egypt has mummies, sarcophagus enclosed zombies, and undead pharaohs, the wild west has cowboys, Clint Eastwood zombie with metal plates under their sarapes, and old, undead prospectors, the pirate age has, well pirates, cannon zombies that shoot smaller zombies across the grid, and peg legged undead that send their parrots to completely take out one of your plants, and the far future has zombies with robotic parts, zombies that drive futuristic tanks that put up an electronic shield, and zombies with jet packs. I could go on and on about the different zombies. I was already impressed with all the zombies they came up with in the first game, but there are close to ten times as many different zombie types here, each world having a host of specialized zombies that will both frustrate and wow you. Each world is also set up to be played differently, with the grid having a different set of challenges specific to that world. To use the above examples, Egypt has tombstones you’ll have to destroy if you want a longer range to take out zombies, the wild west has mine carts that can hold one zombie and be moved between lanes, the pirate era has aquatic lanes that are blocked out but have zombies swinging or shooting over, and the future has power grids that can link up plants so that they share their special powers. What special powers? Well that leads into the issue I had with the game.

PZ22{Egypt}

PZ23{The Wild West}

PZ24{Pirate Ship}

PZ26{The Far Future}

Other new additions are power ups that come in two different forms, plant food, and specials. Plant food is just that, plant food, but when you give it to your plants, it will give them a power up that is individual to each plant, every plant having its own specialized power when given plant food. Plant food you either randomly acquire by killing zombies or can buy using coins you earn by winning levels, completing challenges, or raising flowers in a Zen Garden where you can tend plants you have seeded. Flowers planted in a Zen Garden earn you coins, defensive plants you raise there will give you a onetime use power up similar to what’s activated by plant food, but both will disappear after you’ve raised them to maturity and either earned your coins or used your power up. Specials on the other hand are abilities you can use to affect large numbers of zombies in three ways, immobilizing them with a freeze blast, electrocuting them to death by lighting, or throwing them off the screen. You activate your specials by spending coins. It’s with the coins that I have an issue. It’s guaranteed that you won’t be able to progress past certain levels if you don’t use your power ups or your specials, so you’re going to have to use coins at some point. The problem is that you can’t earn many coins at a time, a power up or special costing, at the very least, a thousand coins, and you only earn about 10 coins at a time for the most part. Certain things will give you more, and there is an option to watch car advertisements to earn two hundred and fifty coins at a time, but for the most part you aren’t going to be earning many coins. Thankfully, and I say that sarcastically, the good people at PopCap Games have given you the option to spend actual money to buy coins, so you can either pay to be able to beat the game at a reasonable pace or slowly, painfully slow in fact, earn coins so you can beat further levels in the differing worlds, worlds that can be unlocked with more cash of course. You don’t have to spend money to get the world keys needed to unlock different worlds, if you can beat half a world you’ll be able to earn a world key, but you need coins if you’re going to get there, so one way or another Plants vs Zombies is going to nudge you as hard as it can to spend real money. There’s even diamonds you can use to buy plants otherwise unobtainable, and yes, diamonds cost money, you can earn those too, but nowhere near enough to buy the plants for sale. It was a dirty move to try and get you to constantly spend money so that you can beat the game and earn every plant available and it brought the entire game down.

PZ25{The Zen Garden is cool, but not as cool as the piles of gold PopCap is most likely holding now}

I’m not going to say the game isn’t fun, it’s actually a blast, but with the crooked move of marketing the game as a free download and then trying to get you to spend ridiculous amounts of money to beat it, I’m going to recommend you not bother with it. It was frustrating to see a company like PopCap, which has put out some really fun games, sink this low. Just stick with the first one and ignore this part 2.

 

The Undead Review

 

Developed By: PopCap Games

Published By: Electronic Arts

Release Year: 2013

About The Undead Review

When I was alive I was an asshole and after I died remained pretty much the same, if not a little worse. You’d think becoming a member of the walking dead would mellow a person out, no more worrying about awkward small talk with people, no more having to be politically correct, and the entire world is your upright, bipedal buffet. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun as hell to be a zombie, just somewhat irritating at times, especially those times you have to watch a lame movie or read a lame book. Thankfully, when I am forced to watch these films or read those books, I’ve got places like The Undead Review to bitch and moan to my heart’s content. {When he’s not devouring the living or sinking his teeth into a good film The Undead Review (Andy Taylor) spends his time writing his own stories or hunting down the paranormal. Oh, and did we mention his blind dog once saved the world?)
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