The Garden Warfare 2 Beta, or more like a pre-release frenzy fest, is happening from January 14th to 18th, 2016. The game’s release is scheduled for February 23rd. I’ve written positively about the original Garden Warfare here, since it’s a “clean” fun game that Christians might enjoy. But what of Garden Warfare 2? Well, we’re playing it and these are some of our impressions; they are necessarily limited to the parts of the game included with the BETA, which are the multi-player mode and small amount of backyard play only.
A note on the categories below. Good, Neutral, and Sad/Questionable relate to changes to the new game from the original game. And, since there seem to be lots of changes, not all are written about here.
- Zombie changes. Not all zombie changes are good, in our opinions here. But there are good ones (the Yeti Chomper is sooo cute!). Captain Deadbeard is funny and has a parrot that he can use for distance attacks, just like the Cactus does with vegetle drones in the original Garden Warfare. The scientist has some fun and detailed variants, the mathematician and the zoologist. The zoologist, especially, is crazy-funny and detailed, with its porcupine gun, living Koala riding piggyback, and prairie dog coif. The scientist, according to my son, is now easier to use/control, too. Another new zombie is the Imp with his Z7 Mech, which together are a fun wink at Titanfall. The imp is a really fun addition to the zombie team.
- Maps and game size. The game size–all the things to do and all the added characters and customizations–is much bigger. So that’s good, right? Of course, the new game will cost more than the old one. So both of those things might be considered bad for people who really just want a game for their kids. The maps are busy and have a lot to them, that’s for sure, and at least some of them are bigger. Busy . . . they are so busy and colorfilled that if you don’t have epilepsy you might develop it. My son has been playing well, but I’m having a harder time on the new crazy maps. Soooo, I’m looking forward to the new parts of the game that weren’t included in the Beta.
- Plant changes. There’s a new subclass of (sun) flower, a new type of flower–the Rose–and the new Citron. Both of the new flowers are quite fun, with the Rose being able to change zombies into goats and raise defenses like the zombie engineer. A big and welcome change is that flowers now get walking and armed aids (“weeds”), like the zombies have always had. The original potted flower aids were much weaker and of not much consequence to zombies, particularly if they were simply all disposed of from a distance.
- The Humor. I’m not saying humor is neutral, just that the humor in the new game is about the same as the original game–at least what we’ve seen so far. Both games have great quirky humor!
- Character retention. It’s a hard to tell, but it seems that most of the original Garden Warfare characters will be in the new game. This is great, of course, but we’re wondering if they’ll have more or boosted abilities, since the new characters have more going for them than the old ones.
- Leveling up and coins. So far, leveling up seems faster and the amount of pay-out higher. The game packs are up in price, too. Inflation: it affects the game world too. But the gameplay in this regard is the same as far as we can see. (During this Beta, we weren’t able to leave a match except by quitting the game; I wanted to leave matches at the beginning where the plant teams were filled. It was annoying that so many matches wouldn’t allow me to be on a plant team, and then wouldn’t allow me to leave . . . It would be nice if matches were found based on the character you enter it as, either plant or zombie, instead of telling you what you have to be.)
The Sad and/or Questionable
- Sexual references. I don’t know of any sexual references in the original Garden Warfare. If there are any, they can’t be as obvious as the ones in Garden Warfare 2. The pirate Captain Deadbeard had a cannon attack, with his riding of the explosive cannon dubiously referred to as “rodeo” style. Yeah. Sure. Within the Zgypt map there are camel towing signs. I’m not advocating looking this reference up on the internet, but my husband recognized it right away. *Sigh*
- Angry eyebrows, or Lego Syndrome. This illness only appears to affect plants. Part of the pleasure, and even humor in some cases, of Garden Warfare was that the facial expressions of the characters were silly, neutral, or happy (the noises the old characters made are simply awesome, too, but the new plant ones aren’t, being more “human and mature”). It is more entertaining to be attacked and downed by a cute puppy-like pea or a smiling, happy-go-lucky flower, than by an angry-eyebrowed fruit or vegetable. It’s sad and disturbing that kids’ toys and games have this imagery today. If our current obnoxious culture is any indication, these images and attitudes we raise our children with are having an effect. This change in the art style of character depiction is a definite divergence in the game’s design philosophy, as are the –
- Divergent Characters. While much of the humor related to character customizations remain (and there are more customizations to make characters more feminine), there are a couple of characters that diverge from the style, design, and character types of the original Garden Warfare. On the zombie side is Super Brainz, which is a zombie “super hero.” All the zombie’s before looked skinny and goofy, except the engineer who is fat and goofy. They all have a certain look to them that Super Brainz doesn’t have. I think it would’ve looked a lot better, fit in the game more, and be funnier, if this character was more of a scrawny zombie that was obviously trying to look like a super hero. On the plant side is Kernel Corn. He’s too anthropomorphic (and angry), and his first unlocked outfit made him look like a pimp (it is said to be a mob outfit, which is equally bad). These new characters seem to have been designed to appeal to teens or even adults–the Rose has an adult voice, as does Kernel Corn and Citron, though I’m not sure about Super Brainz.
The game is moving away from being a cute, quirky, delightful (though difficult) game, to a more conventional one for an older audience, which is really unfortunate. The game is funny, colorful, and challenging, so it’s great entertainment, but it’s moving away from what made it so special in the first place.
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This post was last edited or updated on January 17, 2016.