One of the biggest surprises of E3 has been PopCap's announcement of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare as a real game. Following a spoof pun-filled campaign with the likes of "Petal of Honor", it turns out that PopCap actually pulled the trigger on one of them.
In hindsight, it shouldn't be surprising. Nothing PopCap does should be surprising anymore. But rather than capitalize on a kitschy spin on the well-known game, PopCap seems to have created something with some true depth.
We were only shown a 5-10 minute live hands-off demo, but it was packed with compelling content. The most noticeable being that while this is a third-person action shooter, it still plays very much like the Plants vs. Zombies that everyone knows. Different paths are carved out in the battleground with chokepoints where traps and deterrents can be strategically positioned. This frees the player up to run around and personally dispose of the undead masses.
All of the variety from the original game looks like it'll carry over too. In the arsenal are the likes of chili pepper grenades, chompers that dig under the dirt to attack from below, and (my personal favorite) an onion drone. If the smattering on display was any indication, there will be more than enough options available to satiate all play styles.
Of course, the gel that will most likely hold all of this together is the quirky, charming style that permeates the entire game. From the adorable animations to the bizarrely amazing zombies, everything about Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare oozes substance that's genuinely awesome. Few studios are capable of routinely doing that, and PopCap is one of them.
We didn't see much of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, but what was shown looked really promising. I can't wait to get out into the garden, and that is a sentence that I never thought I'd say.