Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a pretty unconventional shooter -- and that's partially why I liked it. Instead of your typical cookie-cutter classes there are choices like killer potted plants and teleporting scientist zombies, so things can get a little complicated once you're learning the ropes.
Here are some quick tips to help you get acclimated to the world of Garden Warfare.
Always follow the challenges for each class, or at the very least, keep them in the back of your mind. They're key to unlocking new abilities at the start, or helpful modififcations as time goes on. Even after you earn your core three powers, they're still worth doing.
In terms of choosing what card packs to open, the 10,000 coin packs are a safe bet. Not only do they deliver a number of backups from the 1,000 pack, but they generally help you work towards new characters, and with the right skills, you can buy a 10,000 pack every three games or so.
If you want a "safe" choice to start, I recommend the Pea Shooter or the Soldier Zombie. They're very easy to learn because all of their abilities are basically "shoot stuff." Both of them also have the ability to leap high into the air, allowing you to escape tough battles or get a vantage point.
If you're hunkering down with the Pea Shooter's gatling gun ability, keep in mind that you can cancel it with a quick tap of the "B" button. You'll want to cancel it more often than not, because players will instantly recognize the sound and unleash heavy hitting artillery in your direction.
You have the ability to switch classes mid-match, and depending on your team's composition, you may want to do this. For example, online players will often think the Chomper plant is overpowered because of it's one-hit stealth kill, and mass them.
The problem with this strategy is that zombies can easily counter it by going to high ground, and picking off Chompers one by one. Take the initiative by changing to a ranged class, like a Cactus, and taking out the snipers -- shifting the meta-game entirely.
Likewise, don't forget that you can change your character to the "Boss Mode" feature, which allows you to heal teammates or drop bombs from the sky. Use it once per match but don't stay in it too long -- ground support is much more tide-turning.
The Chomper is probably one of the most unique classes in any modern shooter, and as such, it's hard to use. Always try to stick to moving in-between cover as you're a sitting duck at a range, and don't be afraid to use your digging power even if you aren't being shot. Stealth is key for any Chomper's success, but you will need backup -- so don't go into an area swarming with enemies at every turn.
Scientists are very similar to the Chomper in that they need to get close to deal major damage. Stay mostly out of sight and teleport past open spaces to confuse your opponents, or use it to close a gap. Since your healing power is an AOE, stick to groups of at least two or three teammates.
Don't be afraid of choosing the Flower -- even though it's technically a healing class, it can still deal a respectable amount of damage. Also, feel free to use your RB plant power to heal yourself from time to time -- you don't always need to use it for your team.
Use your mines and tall-nuts often as a Cactus. I've noticed that a lot of players online will only use them sparingly when enemies are close, but they will respawn in time even if you just lay them down anywhere. You can't really "waste" them.
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destructoid's previous coverage: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare