When I first walked into the Los Angeles Convention Center on Sunday to pick up my media badge, I was greeted by a slew of banners promoting something called Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Intrigued, I bided my time until the Microsoft Press Conference, where we got a chance to see a trailer for Popcap's new action title, and watch the plants dance around the screen fending off multiple lanes of zombie incursions. Being a massive PvZ nut (perhaps a Tallnut is more accurate), I made sure I got a chance to see the theater presentation while I was at E3 2013.
Popcap is touting this as an Action Game, and as confusing as that genre classification sounds, it's also pretty appropriate. In Garden Warfare you team up with four of your buddies and take on the role of one of the iconic plants in the game. There is no single player content -- the gameplay is entirely multiplayer match based. In that way it reminds me of Left4Dead, but with MUCH cuter zombies.
To date there are four classes announced: The Pea Shooter, The Sunflower, The Chomper, and the Cactus.
The Pea Shooter is the fast DPS of the bunch, running and gunning to victory. He plants Pea Turrets as well to help defend lanes, and when he needs extra firepower he can plant himself and become a Gatling Shooter, mowing down zombies easily but leaving himself immobile and therefore more vulnerable. He can summon a Chili Bean, who lures zombies to him and then
The Sunflower is the group's healer, but she also does decent damage with her sun powers, especially when she plants and uses her Sunbeam with lazerlike precision. The Sunflower has the ability to plant Marigolds, who add in additional pew pew to back up defense of an area.
The Chomper seems to be the closest thing to a tank I've seen so far. He runs around eating zombies, naturally, and has several abilities that help him slow and stop zombies: A purple goo that slows them down (and I assume aids in digestion), and a Spike Trap that lifts unsuspecting zombies into the air for easy chomping. The Chomper can summon a Bok Choy, who appears to pound on nearby enemies with his fists -- although he might also be able to grab them and hold them down, I am not sure.
The Cactus is more of a long-range DPS fighter, shooting quills from far away. She can put down both Potato Mines and barricades made up up Wallnuts and Tallnuts. Her summon is a Garlic Drone, who hovers over the battlefield sniping zombies from above. When you play the Cactus and summon the Garlic Drone, you can take control of it and focus your fire where needed.
There will be multiplayer available in Garden Warfare, where you will get the chance to play as a zombie. And, as expected, there will be more classes announced in the coming months, as well as other game modes. They would not confirm the existence of a Tree of Life in the game, despite my pleas.
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare will be sprouting Spring 2014, first on the Xbox One and Xbox 360, and then later on Windows PC. Here is the announcement trailer as well as gameplay from the game.