Wednesday 11 December 2019

Plants vs Zombies, Battle for Neighborville review: Warfare outgrows the garden

XO/PS4/PC ★★★★ Age: 3+

Plants Vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
Plants Vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
Plants Vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

The roll-call of family-friendly shooters is painfully short, overshadowed by the cartoonish phenomenon of Fortnite. But Plants vs Zombies has been ploughing this overlooked furrow since 2014 with its sub-brand Garden Warfare.

Battle for Neighborville continues the solidly entertaining work laid down by two GW instalments. Despite the subtitle, this is effectively GW3, with a few twists that bring it to suburbia and underground. As always, it's founded on anthropomorphic plants skirmishing with an opposing team of slapstick zombies across colourful levels.

Neighborville features a much greater focus on single-player mode, with three sizeable areas devoted to a host of trigger-happy quests. They come in familiar form - escort missions, defend-the-flag, boss battles, fetch expeditions - but with PvsZ's trademark humour, they're almost always enjoyable.

Despite some simplification of the character classes, there's plenty of choice on offer here, from the cosmetic permutations to the mix-and-match abilities of each soldier to the new super-sized variants.

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Multiplayer offers plenty of diversity too but it suffers to a greater degree from PvsZ's Achilles' heel - the spongy imprecision of the shooting. In contrast to the crisp gunplay of Fortnite et al, it often feels like hard work to score a kill.

Still, Neighborville teems with such personality and gentle comedy, you're never far from a chuckle.

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