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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: PopCap Games
Developed By: PopCap Games
Genre: Strategy
Players: 1-2
Rated: E10+ (Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence)
Release Date: September 8, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

October 22, 2010 - Itís no secret that tower defense games have become a stable for downloadable titles on the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network. While the communities do offer a lot of variety, itís this genre that you simply canít get enough of. Enter Plant vs. Zombies, the latest project from PopCap Games for the Xbox 360 console. While there will be a lot of similarities between Plants vs. Zombies and other tower defense titles currently on the market, itís that little extra something that PopCap Games adds to the formula that makes this title an experience all its own. So without further adue, here is our review of Plants vs. ZombiesÖ.Rated PG.

It seems that zombies are running amuck and are trying to get to you inside of your house. Lucky for you, you have a huge garden in front of your house acting as the last line of defense for you and your family. This is no ordinary garden as you have useful plants at your disposal, including the likes of pee shooters, hot tamales and the Venus zombie traps that are simply hungry for zombies. While it seems like a no brainer to put the Venus zombie traps in on the front line, with the hot tamales in the middle and the pee shooters bringing up the rear, strategy is an important part to surviving this zombie attack and keeping your brain intact.

What separates Plants vs. Zombies from other tower defense games is its approach to combat. Instead of using a winding path for the zombies to follow in order to reach the front door of your house, the yard is divided into six rows which are all used by zombies to get up close and personal. Considering zombies are virtually brain dead, you donít have to worry about them hopping into other rows in order to deliver a surprise attack, however there are moments where you will have multiple zombies coming down one row; one after another. This simple design makes it easier for a newbie to jump right into action without feeling overwhelmed with the constant enemy attacks. This design also helps the player test of the 48 different kinds of plants (towers) to utilize against the oncoming zombie horde. There are plants designed for offensive measures, defensive measures and production capabilities. 48 different plat species seems unfair against one type of zombie, so PopCap Games designed to have 26 different kinds of zombies, requiring the player to plan out its attacks carefully. The cast of zombies range from football players to zombies riding dolphins; to even zombies wielding screen door shields.

With the variety of plants and zombies at the gameís disposal, each and every encounter will be unique. However, to help diversify the action even more, PopCap Games include several different gameplay styles that you will encounter along the way. Some levels take place during the day, while others will take place at night. By doing so, the gameplay mechanics change as you will lose access to certain plants, have to figure out how to harvest sunlight and what environmental roadblocks you will encounter. Adding more fuel to the fire, there are times where you will lose the ability to select plants and will have to rely on pre-selected batch of weapons that are given to you via a moving conveyor belt.

Instead of following of the path of zombie induced games like Left 4 Dead and Resident Evil, PopCap Games made sure to design their game so itís appealing to the entire family. While the game does have a E10+ rating due to animated blood and cartoon violence, the parameters are not so out of control that the experience wouldnít be enjoyed by all who pick up the controller. The visuals are very cartoon-like with simplistic visuals. The in-game soundtrack is very original and speaks well to the onscreen action. As more and more zombies fill the yard, the more intense the music becomes. There is a little voice acting work to help give some life-like characteristics to the zombies.

I have to say that PopCap Games manage to keep the experience intact it transitioned from a PC and mobile phone game to the Xbox 360. The simplistic nature of the controls are intact so if you are new to the experience or coming from another platform, you will feel right at home. Alongside the reworked controls is the inclusion of the competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes which takes the experience to the next level. With the Versus mode one player will control the plant army while the other will control the zombies as they try to eat their way through to your juicy brain. In order for the Gardener to win this confrontation, they must shoot down three of the five Zombie targets. There is also the inclusion of leaderboards, which are a bit different from what everyone is use to. Instead of show detailed states, allowing you to compare your skill level to someone elseís, your house is shown to fellow Xbox Live friends. A pile of dead dead zombies will accrue on the front lawn the better you do with the game and ornaments will appear as you earn various achievements.

Plants vs. Zombies is a very addictive tower defense title, which is right up there with the likes of another PopCap Games title, Peggle. While it does retain some of the core characteristics that other tower defense titles use, PopCap Games made sure to give this title its own flare and own personality to separate itself for the rest. While some may not see the reason the replay this title if they already have done so with the PC and iPhone versions, the inclusion of the multiplayer modes and unique approach to the leaderboards are more than enough reason to pick this up and show your friends whose the top dawg.


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