Plants Versus Zombies 2: It's About Time Review

Plants Vs Zombies 2

Ever-present are both  plants and zombies, only now framed squarely through the exploits of Crazy Dave and his sentient, time-travelling camper-van, presumably originally featuring a talking pie and was directed by Ron Howard. Taking seed packets and Miracle-Gro on your adventure, the task is fending off zombies in three locations: Ancient Egypt, somewhere piratey and the Wild West, each featuring its own tailored specimens. The curve of frenzy and difficulty is meticulously sanded and varnished, making the moment-to-moment zombicide on par with PvZ, but after shedding the skins and dropping the artifice, it only offers half a dozen additional crumbs.

Plants Versus Zombies 2: It's About Time Review
This Ra Zombie lends another dimension to zombie battle, in the name of Ra the sun God, stealing sunlight from under your fingertips. Tricksy though he is, he's pretty weak and spews out his stolen rays upon death

But as is the nature with free, a shakedown and a spruce up should more than be enough to extend a series’ life beyond a solitary existence, that is, until the cold sweat of free-to-play takes hold, and starts bleeding into the gameplay. The incursions are subtle, but once observed, can never been unseen. It doesn’t so much rattle a tin in front of your face, but constructs a pyramid scheme and entices you in. Coins are a superfluous addition to be spent on bonus demi-god abilities, or plant feed, but coins can be gathered organically and the moves themselves almost seem to cheapen the fertile soil of tower defence.

Plants Versus Zombies 2: It's About Time Review
Crazy Dave and his redneck Delorean serve as sterling companions on this oddest of quests for a missing taco. Their bizarre interplay, wry smiles and a tiny buzz of sexual tension make for a merry, if faintly disturbing time

 

The trickery and cunning lies in stars, an arbitrary collectible which holds the key to progression. Each area requires fifteen to proceed, but a first time dash through the levels garners a measly four. Bonus levels can be unlocked, but the bulk of star-collection comes in retracing familiar ground, repeating completed levels up to three times for maximum stardom, with several arbitrary caveats, such as not allowing certain plants to perish, or keeping the lawnmowers unused. Conjoined with the pre-existing bonus level mini-games, much of the game seems distracted and uninterested with straight up garden warfare, building an underlying frustration at a bogus lack of progression. These levels are notably harder too, so this minor angst creates this niggling feedback loop, which serves to encourage the player in paying to progress, and intentionally bypassing gameplay simply to prevent it from stagnating.

 

The jaunty soundtrack, beaming palette and superb tower defence is still very much alive, but surrounded by artifice, cynicism and subliminally encouraging the purchase of fabricated  there’s a creeping sense Plants Versus Zombies 2 cares less about the player, and more the clinking in their coffers.



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  • 12maf

    I’ve never felt the need to post a comment on any games review until now. I’m shocked at GamesTM’s harsh review on this excellent game! It seems that the review team has not taken kindly to the free to play element of PVZ2 and see the need for extra stars to unlock the next timeline as a way to pocket extra cash. They also consider the difficulty in getting these extra stars as a money making exercise.

    I see this in a very different light. Think about it, you spend most stages of a timeline learning about the specific zombies in that era and you are given a number of new plant types during this time. Before you know it, you’ve completed the main stages and if you went straight on to the next timeline, you’d have NEW zombies to learn about with EVEN MORE new plants to use.

    I see the need for extra stars as an opportunity to get to know the new plants I’ve found and develop better strategies with them. By the time I’ve collected enough stars to move on, I’ve had a lot of time to use my existing plants in a number of different ways and I’m ready to find out about new ones. If I left sooner I’d be more likely to just dive straight into the new plants with no developed strategies on the old ones. This is probably why someone would find the game harder – they’ve likely just sped through the levels without taking the time to enjoy the game as the developer intended.

    I think I’m carrying on a bit much now so I’m going to end this by saying that Popcap’s free to play model is excellent. You have a full package here that is even more enjoyable and more rewarding if you don’t spend any money on it at all. ‘Haste makes waste’ they say….