I’ve had an aloe plant on my window sill for a few years and all I can think is; what is it up to when I’m asleep. If Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is any sign, it’s fighting zombies when I’m not around. This sequel to the Garden Warfare franchise is a welcome return to the constant war between plants and zombies. This is our Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighorville review for PC.
The developer PopCap Games smoothly blends the world between PvE and PvP content. For those that don’t know the difference, PvE is a focus on fighting AI-controlled NPCs and PvP is player versus player. Battle for Neighborville expands on the PvE side of Garden Warfare 2 by introducing new regions to fight in.
Enjoy PvE Through New Areas
New areas like Neighborville’s Town Center and the Weirding Woods offer a complete world to explore and collect goodies. These PvE specific areas are a nice way to learn the game without the stress of fighting other players. Each zone also presents a silly short story for kids to play through without too much challenge. For example, one area revolves around a zombie scientist worried about becoming smart. The silly irony of stories like these is met with constant puns.
The Garden and Graveyard Ops make a return in Battle for Neighborville where players fight hordes of enemies. The Ops aren’t too much of a challenge when teams work together. However, some missions in areas like the Town Center might lead you to fighting solo. The strategy in picking what plants or zombots to defend your base are a nice break from PvP.
Take the Fight to the Plants And Zombies
The Player versus Player side of Battle for Neighborville is what I live for most. The roster of 20 different classes with 10 on each side delivers a unique way to play. However, the reality is many classes feel useless depending on the mode or scenario. Every character has a moment where they feel useful, but often if there’s not enough teamwork, they fall short.
PopCap Games sorts every character into a category based on how they’re designed: offense, defense, or support. I always focus on characters with a higher time to kill such as the sniper classes of Cactus and Captain Deadbeard. The real challenge is figuring out the best moment to use a character in the Turf Takeover mode.
This mode for those unfamiliar with the previous games focuses on objective play on a larger map. The goal varies from capturing points similar to a domination mode to pushing a cart along a path. Turf Takeover is where Battle for Neighborville shines the most. It’s a massive battle between 24 players with everyone trying to find an advantage for their character.
New Plants and Zombies Enter the Battle
The characters and classes in Plants vs. Zombies are where the creativity of PopCap Games comes out. The design of every character is always unique and silly before even adding cosmetic skins on top.
The new Acorn character on the Plants team is a cute addition with a surprise as a defensive class. Upon using an ability where the Acorn yodels, it becomes a massive tree ready to go. The other two new characters on the Plants side include the rogue Night Cap and the fiery Snapdragon. In case you’re wondering, yes, Popcap Games turned an actual flower into a dragon.
The Zombies have three new characters in Battle for Neighborville as well. The Space Cadet is opposite the Acorn as a floating zombie in a UFO. The silly design has the Space Cadet spinning around her transformed version that creates a mini space station. A unique feature to both the Space Cadet and Acorn is that other people playing this character can merge together. The Space Station form holds up to four players and makes a stronger version.
This collaborative effort between players is an interesting move and a good idea for friends playing together. I can already imagine the hilarity as someone leads three others to their doom. Nevertheless, the other two new zombies are the 80s Action Hero and dancing Electric Slide.
Giddy Park is the New Social Hub
The previous Plants vs. Zombies shooter, Garden Warfare 2, has a social hub known as the Backyard Battleground. Battle for Neighborville’s new social area for upgrading skills and customizing characters is now Giddy Park. It’s a one-stop-shop in between battles and adventures where players can meet each other.
Despite the tutorial immediately teaching you where everything is and how it works, it feels like a jumble. When you want to promote characters to unlock new skills, it is frustrating running around cluelessly.
Confusion aside, Giddy Park has an area to spend in-game currency on new cosmetics and experience. Rux’s Emporium will unlock later for the Rainbow Stars real money currency. It’s unknown what will be purchasable with the premium currency.
Minor Issues in Battle for Neighborville
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is a great game on the surface with some minor issues. The more I play, the more I come across small janky issues. Something as simple as my sniper scope zooming in and then firing a normal shot instead. Issues like these are ones I hope are patched out soon
One frustrating complaint is more-so a design flaw than a bug. The Turf Takeover mode focuses on teamwork and with that, reviving teammates. However, the tutorial explains how to use Giddy Park and not how to play the game. This leads to many matches where someone is applauded with one revive for having the most revives.
The lack of teaching people how to revive and summon plants/zombies is an odd mistake. The few people who try to revive others, often fail, because people don’t wait. It doesn’t make sense to wait when nobody revives in Battle for Neighborville.
Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville feels like a major expansion to the previous Garden Warfare games. The lower price point of $39.99 on Origin makes it an easy purchase for more of what people love. It adds new characters, expands on PvE, and has the same polish. The only part some might be disappointed with is no variants on characters similar to Garden Warfare 2.
An Origin key for Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville was provided by the developer for the purpose of this review.