They conquered mobile phones years ago, gave way to shooters and now come for everyone. Plants vs Zombies: The Battle of Neighborville is, rather than a shooting range, a virtual space to do virtually everything that happens with friends.
No matter how much time passes, it is clear that plants and zombies will never get along. Like the dog and the cat. Like the Horde and the Alliance. And they have been like this for a while, beware: the mobile classic that gave rise to everything was released more than ten years ago. We have seen them execute all kinds of military operations since then, and those responsible had the opportunity to make their first steps with 3D graphics thanks to the two notable Garden Warfare. But we have never seen a delivery like Plants vs. Zombies: The Battle of Neighborville so far. Why? Well, very simple.
The new PopCap bet to monopolize everything. You have the action you would expect from any Garden Warfare, but to that, we add open PvE areas with story missions and a base of operations for each faction full of possibilities. Neighborville is not an arena shooter, nor is it an open-world adventure game with a competitive mode. It is literally a medley of light and digestible activities that you can jump with your friends and have fun from the first minute, without any complications, to talk about your things, laugh at the absurd things that happen in the game all the time. while or, why not, get a little serious and try to win each game.
Think of games like Fortnite, where people gather religiously after finishing their chores just to hang out in a group. That is the kind of experience proposed by EA. But of course, they say that “whoever covers a lot, little squeezes” and within a few hours of play it is clear that the new PvZ is satisfied taking things from here and there without delving too deeply into any of them. Do not ask the elm pears: the game gives what it gives, which is not small, but if you are looking for a deep shooter to play for months, surely there are other proposals that fit your needs more.
PvZ, botanical brutalization of first
One of the first things that are obvious when we play this PvZ is that everything is designed to be fun instantly. Just click on the “play” button on the title screen to enter a base of operations – both plants and zombies have one – where we can start running, jumping and making the goat to the taste of the consumer. There are a good handful of shops, booths and portals to interact with, all arranged around a central platform. It is easy to get lost in our first minutes of play while we explore the area, yes, so we have a button to reveal the identity of all the elements of the stage and a very simple tutorial that will teach us to move, change characters and customize them.
Technically, it is possible to ignore all the indications and jump directly to the activity that most attracts your attention: the process is fast and intuitive and it will not take long to take the peace of mind of everything the game offers, but it is good to pay attention to the little one’s Tips that appear on the screen. As we say, Plants vs. Zombies: The Battle of Neighborville is a simple game and made to have fun without preamble, but there are some progression mechanics and a spoiled economy system behind all that. Of course, all this has to do with the characters and unlockables. Let’s review what PopCap offers us in this regard.
It is a simple game and made to have fun without preamble
All units, both plants, and zombies are unlocked from the beginning and we can move from one faction to another at any time, without restrictions. They also have access to relatively generous generic skills that we can begin to use without complications. Each character has seven slots for abilities, and each comparable ability has a cost of slots. That means we can “specialize” each character in a pispás, but as we say, they are generic skills. If we are really interested in taking advantage of the game, we will have to go up to level 10 to each character and “restart it” as if it were a prestigious range of Call of Duty to unlock more interesting passives. The good thing is that the game offers us a lot of flexibility when it comes to progress as we want.
We can invest coins (of the game, quiet) to accelerate the acquisition of experience, or, if we have no special interest in the abilities of our characters, buy random cosmetics at another base position. You will not see repeated cosmetics, but it would have been nice to be able to directly buy the piece that we like. But enough of cháchara: how is this PvZ at the controls? Well, as you can imagine, simple to handle and very chaotic. We have a varied template (totally unplanned joke) of characters where there are a few new faces and others known. Each of them has a handful of animations and unique characteristics, and they are divided into roles of damage, defense, and support.
All of them are perfectly characterized and respond very well in all situations. Some have enough complexity to change shape and get new skills or throw drones that can also be controlled, although in no case are we talking about mechanics as precise and polished as those of, for example, Overwatch. But that is not necessarily a problem, because at the moment of truth we find that the action is very chaotic and fun in itself and it is usually more important to have a global picture of the moment than to worry about hitting a millimeter shot. It is not uncommon for seven or eight players to gather in an area of a few meters during a PvP contest, and to that, we also add the different types of minions that we can invoke on the fly to help us.
There is a good repertoire of fixed and rotating game modes for the competitive multiplayer, none especially imaginative or complex (we have the escort of TF2, domain, etc.) but all full of chaos and action, which is just the strong point of the game. The maps are small, they always favor the face-to-face encounter, and the bodies of our enemies are huge to facilitate the task of shooting while jumping and hitting easily, which at the end of the day is what makes a shooter fun, of course.
Something similar happens with the PvE. We have three large open maps to visits as we please, all of them full of minions to defeat – most of them are weak, but there is also some elite who can put us in a bind from time to time. We have points of interest to visit, simple missions to complete occasionally and a handful of collectibles to collect in each. It is the point with the clearest of the game: sometimes it surprises us for good, but the general feeling is that it lacks some spark to make us visit the maps for pleasure and not to unlock its exclusive rewards. Maybe it would have been good for him to have more interesting boss fights, platform sections, maybe physics mechanics. We don’t talk about a boring game mode at all, there’s always something to crush or collect, and it’s a successful addition;
The competitive modes are full of chaos and action, just the strong point of the game
Luckily, each map wastes so much sympathy and personality that it costs to catch mania: there are volcanoes of melted cheese, flying trucks, children’s sergeants and all kinds of absurd things that they may well make you smile once in a while. Each character, controllable or NPC, is perfectly defined and has its own way of showing you how crazy or charming it is through animations, gestures or the weapons they use. Yes, we could ask the sound section more, which could have left us with more fun effects or more varied musical pieces. If we stick to the technical section, as expected from the action of Plants vs. Zombies: The Battle of NeighborvilleIt unfolds with ease and without pulls, although the PC version could give more of itself. For example, there are keys that cannot be reprogrammed, and we also don’t have many options to customize each unit separately.
It’s not deep, it’s not particularly original, it’s not very challenging, but you know what? That doesn’t need to be either. Plants vs. Zombies: The Battle of Neighborville is a medley of simple, fast, fun and best PvP and PvE activities in the company. If you are willing to forgive him for how simple the adventure mode can be, it may become a place worth coming back from time to time, if only to clear you from other games.
- It is a very nice, vibrant and crazy game
- Immediate fun, easy to understand and for all audiences
- The PvP has some very powerful moments
- PvE adventures are rather simple
- He could use some more depth
- We miss more imaginative modes