Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Comedic, cartoonish shooter should be OK for younger teens.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This lighthearted game pits powerful garden vegetables and foliage against goofy zombies. The players' goal is to work with others to protect a base and keep allies healthy. However, this noble-sounding task involves a variety of cartoonish guns and explosives and an awful lot of shooting.

Positive role models

Characters include sunflowers, peashooters, cacti, and a variety of funny looking zombies. None of them speak or communicate other than to nod their heads and point their arms, but all of them engage in cartoonish violence to achieve their objectives.

Ease of play

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a pretty standard third-person shooter controlled with the gamepad's analog sticks and buttons. The controls take some getting used to, plus the camera angle is sometimes finicky. There is no single-player game to get your feet wet, so players will engage in a trial by fire in online play. 

Violence

It may be cartoon-like, but this game centers around violence. Plants and zombies use weapons that resemble guns, bombs, grenades, and flying drones. Zombies emit blood, but it's green. Moans of pain can be heard, along with loud explosions.

Sex

Some zombies have partially exposed buttocks, accompanied with the sound of flatulence (identified as "Comic Mischief" by the Entertainment Software Rating Board).

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is based on the popular Plants vs Zombies franchise, which includes paraphernalia such as t-shirts, dolls, a board game, and more. This game is said to support "micro transactions" in the near future -- not unlike those in Electronic Arts' Plants vs Zombies mobile games -- which means players will eventually be able to spend real money to get ahead. 

 

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Serious privacy and safety concerns. The game supports multiplayer matches over the Internet, including full voice support with no one monitoring or filtering dialogue/discussions. As a result, players may be exposed to inappropriate words, phrases, and subjects of discussion.  

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare is a fantasy-based third-person "tower defense" game that pits garden vegetation against zombies. It's very cartoonish, but there is a lot of violence in the game, including plants that shoot peas and cactus needles as though they were bullets, plant potato mines, and pilot flying garlic drones. Zombies emit green "blood" when struck, often losing their heads in the process.  

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions

Hobbies

  • gardening

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • time management
  • work to achieve goals

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork
  • cooperation

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Colorful, funny, and easy to get the hang of, this whimsical shooter is both fun and engaging. Most kids likely will want to keep playing as long as they can.

Learning Approach

There's not much in the way of real-world applications for what kids learn in this game, but they will communicate and work together in the co-op mode and may even end up growing friendships with those sitting beside them on the couch.

Support

Little help is provided within the game, and there's no tutorial mode. Most kids will end up learning tricks and perfecting strategies by talking about the game with their friends.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions

Hobbies

  • gardening

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • time management
  • work to achieve goals

Collaboration

  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork
  • cooperation

Kids can learn about cooperation and grow friendships in this colorful and lighthearted third-person shooter featuring a cas of cartoonish plants and zombies. The game won't teach players much in a traditional sense, but both the local cooperative mode and online play encourage kids to work together. They'll need to communicate with one another to create and execute strategies, and rely on allies to heal and revive them when they fall, building trust and camaraderie in the process. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare wasn't designed with educational intent, but it does make for a good social gaming experience.

This Learning Rating review was written by Marc Saltzman

What's it about?

Based on the hugely popular Plants vs Zombies game franchise, PLANTS VS ZOMBIES: GARDEN WARFARE is a game for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Windows PC played from an entirely new perspective. Opposed to a two-dimensional "tower defense" game like its predecessors, which had players stopping zombies from invading via the right side of the screen, Garden Warfare is in full 3-D, so zombies attack from all sides. This also means players can use the environment to their benefit, planting barriers and defensive plants in strategic locations. And instead of playing against the game's artificial intelligence (computer-controlled opponents), many modes pit players against other humans controlling the zombies. Garden Warfare also offers deep customization, allowing players to personalize their favorite plants and zombies with hundreds of unique items. Note: all versions of the game are more or less the same, but Xbox One owners can also take advantage of an exclusive split-screen offline co-op mode with another player. The Xbox One edition also offers SmartGlass and Kinect gameplay in Boss mode, in which players command the battlefield from Crazy Dave's RV or Zomboss' blimp.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It may be a deviation from preexisting Plants vs Zombies games, but Garden Warfare is still a lot of fun -- especially for those who like online shooters mixed with strategy and humor. The colorful graphics and charming sound effects help bring this fresh and unique game to life, but it's the many multiplayer modes, unlockables, and customizations that will keep players glued to their TVs and monitors until the wee hours.

But while there are plenty of competitive multiplayer modes to play with, it's a bit disappointing to find no single-player campaign at all. That said, the 4-player co-op and 2-player split-screen options (the latter available only to Xbox One owners) somewhat make up for it. The price is also a bit steep for what you get -- $40 for the Xbox One edition and ten dollar less for the other two. Still, fans of the franchise will find this a worthy and charming addition to the series. Hopefully, EA will release more content via digital download to justify the price a little more.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether one ought to distinguish the peas and cactus needles in this game from the bullets used in more realistic shooters. Does this humorous fantasy theme make the game more appropriate¬†for younger players, or is it essentially the same as other third-person shooters? Common Sense Media also offers a comprehensive list of games with a high learning rating.

Game details

Platforms:Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Price:$29.99 to $39.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Available online?Available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:February 25, 2014
Genre:Third-person shooter
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
ESRB rating:E10+ for Animated Blood, Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence (Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

This review of Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byIronRunningAnvil March 21, 2014
 
LEARNING

Really fun and wacky multiplayer game

When I first saw this game I was not sure I would like it that much, but I thought to give it a try anyway and I have to say that it is brilliant. I am no fan of shooters really, but the innocence and fun that this one brings compares to nothing. The violence is all a joke as well there really isn't any (unless a sunflower falling over is a bit much). There is no talk of death in the game either instead of team death match it is team vanquish to make it more family friendly and it is really fun. To make it even better now free downloadable content has been made bringing a whole new level, mode and more character customizations. At the moment there is a real mix of modes with classic survival to team vanquish or gardens and graveyards (not forgetting the classic modes of these and the all new gnome bomb mode). Overall: violence 3/10, family friendliness 8/10, fun 9/10. Hope this helped
Teen, 13 years old Written byRevampedstone0 March 16, 2014
 
LEARNING

PvZ

as a learning tool kids and teens can learn to strategize but that is about it. This games violence is nothing to be concerned and the humor is top-notch. My only concern is the ability to talk to players who think it is "funny" to swear at small children. I highly recommend this game.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Safety and privacy concerns
Teen, 17 years old Written bywillman72 March 3, 2014
 
LEARNING

online only

to all parents and gaurdians out there if your not okay with your son having online or dont have online dont bother as this game is a online only title
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much violence
Safety and privacy concerns

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass