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Origin freebie photo
Origin freebie

Log into Origin again for free Zuma's Revenge


Zen gaming
Jul 09
// Jordan Devore
Origin's last few On the House offers haven't done much for me, but this? I like this! Zuma is one of life's simple pleasures. That, and -- don't judge! -- Feeding Frenzy. For a limited time, Origin users can download the seq...
PvZ photo
PvZ

Xbox presser set to kick grass and take grains


Something PvZ is happening
Jun 08
// Brett Makedonski
The war between the photosynthesizing and the decomposing looks to rage on later this year. PopCap has something up its sleeve, and it's going to get revealed during Microsoft's E3 Xbox press conference. While this could be ...

Review: Peggle Blast

Dec 06 // Chris Carter
Peggle Blast (Android, iOS [reviewed])Developer: PopCapPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: December 2, 2014MSRP: Free (with in-app purchases) As expected, this is Peggle in mobile form. Swipe to aim and tap to shoot. It's all very accurate and intuitive. Just like the past games in the series it's a modified version of Pachinko, guiding balls to clear out orange pegs and gaining tons of points in the process. Bank shots, combo shots, and precision aiming are still key mechanics, and I still haven't gotten bored of the formula nearly eight years after the launch of the first title. It's fun at first in the tutorial zone, where the game tricks you into thinking it's fair. Then the bullshit starts to come into play. For starters, the developers have added "fire" to the mix. If a ball hits fire in select levels, it is lost. Of course, balls are limited just like the other games, but now you'll have to pay if you lose them all and want to keep playing. Yep, strike one is an energy mechanic. This is not only sleazy due to the erratic and unpredictable nature of Peggle, where a ball could fly into any corner at any given time no matter how good the player's aim is, but it also defeats the feel-good, positive nature of the series. When a ball fell into a pit after hitting no pegs in the past, it felt like the player's fault, and with the "free ball" bucket mechanic, there was always hope that a bad shot would become a good play. With balls just fizzling up in flames before they can hit the bucket, that's all gone -- better have that wallet ready. Lives take half an hour to regenerate, or of course, cold hard cash will do the trick. Lots of other things can take away lives too, like "phoenix eggs," which need to be hit multiple times to hatch, lest they randomly fall and cost a precious life. Why do these mechanics even exist? [embed]284665:56561:0[/embed] You better still have that wallet out when you access a new set of levels, because you need to wait six hours before playing them, unless you recruit sleaze your Facebook friends for instant access. Oh, and did I mention the power-ups, which are constantly thrown at you and are custom-tailored to certain difficult levels? Or the fact that the game attempts to sell them to you when you're about to lose? It's a shame, because I really want to move on and see some of those new adorable Peggle Masters that were added, but this is too much to handle. Just look at the potential in-app purchase list on this iTunes page. EA literally has Peggle on mobile devices right now with a model where you purchase the entire game. Why in the five hells of Cthulhu are they monetizing a franchise that has already seen a massive amount of success on the platform? Look EA, if you want to make the next Candy Crush, I get it, but don't use the Peggle franchise to chase that dragon. I've reviewed over a hundred mobile games since the iOS market caught on, and I've seen it all. I've seen games with microtransactions, energy systems and more, and a lot of those titles were actually pretty reasonable and fun to play in spurts. Peggle Blast however is a complete 180 from what the franchise once was, and the entire philosophy that PopCap created does not fit this model in any way, shape, or form. It would be a lot easier to swallow if there was what I call a "buy-out" option, which lets you essentially purchase the entire game for a fee, eliminating all of this nonsense. But you cant, because the experience is custom-tailored around the worst kind of microtransactions. I don't think this can be saved. EA needs to stop this bullshit with their mobile line, because they've had a pretty decent thing going on recently with games like Dragon Age: Inquisition and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. Ruining all of the goodwill that Popcap has built up over the years is a damn shame. EA is doing some things right in the current climate, but the publisher has consistently shown us that it cannot move forward without taking multiple steps back. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Peggle Blast photo
Bjorn, what have they done to you
My criteria for enjoying a game with microtransactions is simple -- am I having fun, and can I consistently have fun without feeling like I need to pay out? Unlike some people who hate microtransactions on sheer principl...

PvZ Garden Warfare DLC photo
PvZ Garden Warfare DLC

Free update for Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare adds tweaked classes, tacos


Do you want to taco 'bout it?
Sep 29
// Darren Nakamura
Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare has already done right by its users by providing good post-launch support via free downloadable content, and it is continuing on that path with tomorrow's Legends of the Lawn update. The DLC...

Freebies photo
Freebies

Kill time with Bejeweled 3 now that it's free on Origin


Or kill time by commenting about your feelings on Origin
Sep 17
// Jordan Devore
It may not carry the same weight as past "On the House" offerings like Dead Space or Battlefield 3, but the latest freebie from Origin, Bejeweled 3, is a great game in its own right. The popular match-three puzzler is free to...
PopCap boss leaves EA photo
PopCap boss leaves EA

PopCap's last remaining co-founder leaves EA


John Vechey to work for environmental non-profit Grist
Sep 07
// Kyle MacGregor
PopCap boss John Vechey is parting ways with the studio he helped build nearly 15 years ago. In Vechey's farewell address, he reveals plans to "give something back for awhile until [he figures] out what's next." That inv...
Peggle 2 photo
Peggle 2

Finally! Peggle 2 is coming to PlayStation 4


Peggle me this, Batman
Aug 30
// Brittany Vincent
PopCap Games has announced that Peggle 2 is coming to the PlayStation 4 on October 14. The game will include Peggle Masters from the original game as well as the Xbox One version that launched May 7. Just as in the original, ...
#Cheetos photo
#Cheetos

Wear the carcass of Chester Cheetah in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare


Cheetos is really doing this
Aug 19
// Jordan Devore
I was prepared to get mildly annoyed at this Cheetos partnership with Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, despite the fact that it's not the first time the game has dabbled in brand-sponsored character variants. (There were ...
Plants vs. Zombies photo
Plants vs. Zombies

Garden Warfare's Suburbination update adds another mode and character


Capture and defend control points
Aug 13
// Jordan Devore
This week's free new update for Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare adds Suburbination mode, a capture-and-defend game type in the same vein as Battlefield's Conquest and Call of Duty's Domination. Gardens & Graveyards is...
Garden Warfare photo
Garden Warfare

Play Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare in bed with Remote Play


1080p, 60 frames per second on PS4
Jul 29
// Jordan Devore
I played a ton of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare on Xbox 360, and now I'm getting into it again on PC. Still super fun and arguably one of the best shooters of the past few years. On August 19, the game comes to PlayStat...
Peggle photo
Peggle

A new Peggle is in development, according to an EA earnings call


Captain Obvious.jpg
Jul 23
// Chris Carter
Like it was ever any question that PopCap was planning the development of a new Peggle game, but just in case you doubted the future of the series, it's happening. According to a first quarter earnings call for EA, PopCa...
Peggle 2 DLC photo
Peggle 2 DLC

Peggle 2's Jimmy Lightning is less exciting than the first DLC


Not a fan of his redesign either
Jun 25
// Chris Carter
Peggle 2 is one of those games that's good to just pick up and play every so often, and whenever a new character drops, I get the itch to play again. This time the newcomer isn't an original character like Windy the Fai...
Peggle 2 DLC photo
Peggle 2 DLC

Peggle 2 adds Jimmy the gopher, dubstep


'The audio team went dubstep crazy'
Jun 24
// Brett Makedonski
Classic Peggle Master Jimmy Lightning makes a return to zany peg-clearing action in Peggle 2 today, but he's doing so with a new style about him. Since we last saw Jimmy, he got really into dubstep. I'm not kidding...
Plants vs. Zombies photo
Plants vs. Zombies

PC players will get this new Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare map first


Jewel Junction
Jun 20
// Jordan Devore
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare comes to PC on Tuesday and if you ignored everything Chris and I said about the Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions of the multiplayer shooter, hear this: it's really good. This video showcases ...
 photo

Apple announces Metal to bring console-quality graphics to iOS


Dramatically reduced overhead
Jun 02
// Dale North
Apple announced their new technology, called Metal, today during their press conference in San Francisco. Metal reduces the overhead between game and hardware with up to ten times faster draw recall rates for A7-powered Apple...
 photo

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare comes to PS3 and PS4 this summer


Also, Remote Play support for Vita
May 29
// Dale North
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is already out on Xbox, but it's coming to PlayStation as well, set for release on both PS3 and PS4 this summer, on August 19. The game will have four modes including a 12 vs. 12 compoetitiv...
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Peggle 2 is now out for Xbox 360


Extreme Fever!
May 07
// Dale North
There goes your day. Just one round, you say. And you look up and see that it's 2:30 p.m. and that you've forgotten to eat lunch. Or go to work. Yep. Peggle 2 is out for the Xbox 360. It is probably my most-played Xbox One g...
Garden Warfare photo
Garden Warfare

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare microtransactions incoming


And that's okay, actually
Apr 28
// Jordan Devore
This week, PopCap will add microtransactions to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. We knew the day would come and, you know what? It's not a big deal. For those of you not playing this wacky third-person shooter (you're miss...
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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare launches June 24 on PC


Europe: June 27
Apr 28
// Dale North
Third-person shooter Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare is already on Xbox One and Xbox 360, but now it's shuffling over to PC, with a North American launch date set for June 24, and Europe to follow on June 27.  The PC ...
Peggle 2 DLC photo
Peggle 2 DLC

Peggle 2's Windy the Fairy DLC is worth the cheap entry fee


It's $2
Apr 23
// Chris Carter
Windy the Fairy has crash landed in Peggle 2 as the newest master, and she also happens to be a $2 piece of DLC. It's not just a character pack though, as you'll net 10 new story levels (which can be used in multip...
Peggle 2 photo
Peggle 2

Windy the Fairy flutters into Peggle 2 with Windy's Master Pack


Are birds fairies now?
Apr 22
// Brittany Vincent
I've got a serious Peggle addiction, and I don't think it can be cured. Not even with more cowbell. Peggle 2's about to get even more "masterly" with the addition of Windy the Fairy, the latest bit of DLC to hit the Xbox One....
Plants vs. Zombies photo
Plants vs. Zombies

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare adds free Zomboss Down DLC


Dibs on Sun Pharaoh
Apr 15
// Jordan Devore
I'm not sure which alternate dimension Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare came from or how it got here but PopCap's wacky third-person shooter has been a pleasant surprise. Against all odds, the game keeps on giving: another...
Plants vs. Zombies photo
Plants vs. Zombies

Plants vs. Zombies 2's 'Far Future' update hits today


New characters on both sides
Mar 26
// Jordan Devore
PopCap is releasing an update for Plants vs. Zombies 2 on iOS and Android today which adds a bunch of futuristic-looking plants and zombies as well as a new world map. Yes, there are lasers. EA has run through a few of the ad...
Plants vs. Zombies photo
Plants vs. Zombies

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare's DLC is off to a great start


EA is giving out free DLC without microtransactions?
Mar 19
// Chris Carter
I really enjoyed Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, which was a pleasant surprise amidst a sea of "me too" shooters. I enjoyed it so much in fact that I still play it, and I find myself spending more time with it l...
Plants vs. Zombies photo
Plants vs. Zombies

PvZ: Garden Warfare is getting substantial new DLC and it's free


A new mode, map, and ability upgrades
Mar 17
// Jordan Devore
I've been pleasantly surprised by the way Electronic Arts and PopCap have handled Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare. First, the game itself is loads of fun -- the foundation is solid. But more than that, they don't have paid...
PvZ: Garden Warfare photo
PvZ: Garden Warfare

Impressions: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (Xbox 360)


A downgrade, but still absolutely worth playing
Mar 08
// Jordan Devore
It's as if we slipped into some alternate dimension. The long-awaited Plants vs. Zombies 2 went straight to mobile, passing over PC fans, and while it wasn't bad -- not at all -- I sure lost interest. Instead, it's PopCap's t...
Deals photo
Deals

Peggle, Bejeweled, Bookworm, and more in this PopCap bundle


Redeemable on Steam and Origin
Mar 07
// Jordan Devore
It's chaos on the Humble Store right now, from the Humble Mobile Bundle 4 to Double Fine's Amnesia Fortnight 2014 to Devolver Digital's bundle for IGF chairman and all-around terrific human being Brandon Boyer. Here's one mor...
Peggle 2 on Xbox 360 photo
Peggle 2 on Xbox 360

Peggle 2 ricochets onto Xbox 360 on May 7


Xbox One users get Duel Mode today
Mar 04
// Darren Nakamura
Though early adoption of new consoles is something I tend to avoid these days, there is one game that has made me jealous of Xbox One users: Peggle 2. Soon enough, the ball-bouncing lesson in geometry and rainbows will not be...

Review: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

Feb 25 // Chris Carter
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare (PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: PopCap GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: February 25, 2014 (Xbox 360, Xbox One) / TBA (PC)MSRP: $39.99 (Xbox One) / $29.99 (Xbox 360) Garden Warfare at its core is an unconventional shooter similar to Team Fortress 2. There are classes that fulfill specific roles, skirmishes mostly involving two teams, and of course -- there are hats. Garden Warfare looks great with its use of the Frostbite 3 engine, as every single character model has an alarming amount of detail, as do the wonderfully crafted maps. It's weird to see the Plants vs. Zombies cast come to life in full 3D, but I think it's worked out for the best. Typical Call of Duty-style progression schemes are generally eschewed for a more interesting method of earning new skins and abilities -- opening random card packs. Immediately when I heard "EA" and "random packs" alarm bells went off in my head, but thankfully, there are no microtransactions involved. All of the packs are bought by way of coins, which are earned entirely in-game and are performance based. Depending on how well you do, you can generally buy a mid-tier pack every two to three games. Cards can yield partial unlocks of new characters (which generally need a few pieces to open up), hats, other costume pieces, and consumables to use in both co-op and competitive modes. It can be a relatively slow burn sometimes -- especially if you're on the losing end of a few games and have nothing to show for it -- but if you just sit down and play the game for a while, you'll see the rewards start to pile up. One of the most brilliant aspects of Garden Warfare though is how easy it is to pick up and play. All you need to do is aim and fire like any other third-person shooter, and learn the three special abilities of each class. Most of them are self-explanatory: the Soldier Zombie can rocket-jump and fire off heavy artillery, the Sunflower can heal allies and drop healing hubs, and the Cactus is basically a sniper with a few tools at his disposal. As simple as it sounds, there's lots of tactical nuance here. To be blunt, it's much more than I expected, and once I played a ton of online multiplayer against other human opponents, the game really opened its wings. As expected, class diversity is the key to success, and PopCap went through great lengths to balance them. Although it's good to have a number of standard Peashooters on hand for any plant team, having at least one or two Sunflowers to heal, a few Cactus classes to snipe, and a number of Chompers is also a good idea. With all of the classes on the board at once, things get hectic and you'll constantly be clashing with different counters and other players. For example, Chompers are formidable units with a lot of health, and they can also employ a special one-hit kill stealth move if they chomp zombies from behind. But their Achilles heel is that they're extremely slow and basically can't jump worth beans, so taking to high ground and always watching your back is a perfect counter. When you're skittishly looking around for Chompers, a Peashooter could easily toss a bean grenade your way, a Cactus could hit you from above with a flying drone, or you could walk right into a potato mine. It's that sort of orchestrated insanity that happens nearly every spawn, and in the game's 12-on-12 online modes, it can get extremely chaotic -- in a good way. The maps are one of the best parts of the game, and they're not only the perfect size, but fun to look at and play in. They're just as playful as you'd expect from the Plants vs. Zombies series, ranging from a giant pirate ship theme park, to a shopping center, to a giant suburban sprawl with its own giant playground. There's tons of detail here, from hundreds of breakable objects to graffiti that states "plants R stoopid" -- to the point where I found myself roaming around arenas just to find Easter eggs. They remind me of some of the best Twisted Metal or Tony Hawk levels in that there's a certain amount of diversity to their design and a practicality to it, which is quite the accomplishment. Sadly, there's only a scant few for use in two of the three game modes (five to be exact), and even though a few offer day and night cycles, you can't help but shake the feeling of deja vu after a while -- even if the maps are so well done. So what are the three modes you can play? Well, Garden Ops is basically co-op base defense for four players -- in other words, it's literally plants versus zombies 3D. Waves of zombies will come your way with various modifiers to mix things up each session, and multiple difficulty modes help keep replay value high. In the end it eventually suffers the same fate as many other horde modes in that it becomes predictable to a fault, slowly shuffling you into the other two gametypes. This is also the only mode you can play by yourself -- so if you're planning on not playing online, you may get bored really quickly. Be warned, this is a multiplayer affair at heart, and the meat of the game most definitely lies with the other core game modes. Team Vanquish (team deathmatch) and Gardens and Graveyards (Garden Ops with two teams) both support 24 players, which helps bring out some of that consistent chaos I was talking about earlier. I've been playing shooters all my life, but to see two armies of plants and zombies go at it is something else. Every single class looks and feels utterly different, and constantly picking your battles with certain players doesn't really get old. Although Vanquish is fun all on its own, Garden and Graveyards can often yield some of the crazier matches. Here, Plants are on the defense, with Zombies slowly acquiring base after base until they reach the end goal, where an all-out war happens. If the Zombies make it all the way to the last point they have to fulfill a unique objective, like destroying a giant boss plant or invading a mansion with its own security measures. Since there's no AI element to this it feels fresh every time, and almost every match I've played was filled with intense moments that had me on the edge of my seat. If you're not keen on any upgrades or customization options, "Classic" matchmaking choices are there to keep things on a completely level playing field. In terms of platform differences, the Xbox One version sports improved visuals over the 360, and it has a split-screen mode as well as SmartGlass support. Sadly, split-screen is limited to a pared-down Garden Ops mode that's only playable offline, and player two can't earn coins or achievements. While it is nice that some sort of concession was made to even allow split-screen in the first place, it's a shame that the second player can't earn their own rewards or play online in general. With those options, Warfare would be a force to be reckoned with in terms of local play. With a few more tweaks, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare would be a must-buy for pretty much any shooter fan out there. But even with its blemishes, I was incredibly surprised by the amount of depth the game has to offer on top of all of its charm. Hopefully EA will ease off the microtransactions in the future and even more content will pile in, because with the right moves and support, Garden Warfare will be something special for quite some time.
Garden Warfare review photo
Plants rule, zombies drool
Plants vs. Zombies has been on one wild ride since PopCap was acquired by Electronic Arts. What started off as a grassroots (hah) series with humble beginnings on the PC has become an exclusive-heavy franchise -- with Pl...

Garden Warfare photo
Garden Warfare

Learn botanical battle basics from Garden Warfare video


Why can't plants and zombies just be friends?
Feb 21
// Brett Makedonski
When you're engaged in war with the likes of plantlife or the animated undead, you can't just rush into the fray. Only a fool would do that. No, you have to study your enemy, and more importantly, know thyself. This gameplay...

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