A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
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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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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.
- Platforms: Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
Self-Direction: time management, work to achieve goals
Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
- 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
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.