Friday, January 17, 2014

Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time - Updated (Android OS)

A while back, I'm not 100% sure when, but I want to say late last November (and it easily might have been early December, 2013), Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time updated on my phone.  My phone probably let me know that there was an update for the game and I thought, "Sure, go ahead, that's cool."  I'm not even 100% sure it did that as I recall, I opened my phone and noticed that the icon for the game had changed.  Maybe I just picked "Update All" and didn't pay attention.  Okay, let's assume that's what I did, as that makes the most sense.

so PvZ2 was updated.  And it wasn't just a simple update either.  This update was a complete overhaul of the game and the way it was played.  If you remember from my original look at the game, the world looked, I thought, like something out of Super Mario Bros. 3, which isn't a criticism, just an observation.

As you can see, there are multiple paths within the first world, Ancient Egypt.  You will also notice a few locked doors (you can tell they're doors because they have keyholes) along with Pyramid-Keys next to them.  These could be opened with said Pyramid-Keys which you earned randomly throughout the game, depending on which world you were in.  Ancient Egypt = Pyramid-Key, Old West = Some-Other-Key-I-Never-Got; you get the idea.

Now that the update has taken place, things not only look a bit different, but the fundamentals of how one plays the game have changed.  The gaming world, and we'll stay in Ancient Egypt, looks like this:
You will first off notice that the game is now very linear, not that that is a problem as the first PvZ was linear without a world map.  The world specific keys were turned into gold coins (10,000 I think for each).  A mini-boss level was introduced into each world stage where you have to fight the standard horde of zombies, but now Gargantuars have been thrown in for good measure.  You may have also noticed that a strange blue-orbal key has replaced the world keys.  These keys are supposed to unlock an as-of-yet released world and these keys, supposedly, can only be obtained in the Gargantuar levels, but are only dropped at random.

A minor addition to the game is that it's played a lot faster.  Suns now give 50 points instead of the usual 25.  Zombies enter the level a lot faster and they move faster, but your plants also attack faster, basically, everything is faster. And, if that's not enough fast for you, you also have the option to speed the game up further by pressing a "Fast-forward-type-button" in the upper right portion of the screen that doubles the game speed.  Not a bad idea until you realize that your reaction time is the same as before, but now the zombies are coming at you and twice their normal speed.  It would be like taking Ben and Barbaras experience from Night of the Living Dead and putting them into the Dawn of the Dead remake.  I've clicked it once and said, "Yup, they're faster," and promptly went back to standard (albeit faster than original) speed.

One other major overhaul to the game that I am not at all happy with, are the conditions to how a level is beaten/completed/finished.  In the first iteration of the game, you were given specific conditions in order to earn a Star.  Earning Stars just acted as additional challenges that increased in difficulty for a specific level.  Such conditions would be something like, "Spend No More Than 1500 Sun & Don't Lose Any Lawnmowers."  If you were to fail in any one of the conditions, you were still allowed to finish the level and often continued to earn coins, but no star was earned.  Now, if you fail to meet all of the conditions, the level ends the moment you fail.  Accidentally spend 1525 sun when you could only spend 1500, the level ends immediately.  It's kind of annoying and frustrating, especially with the lawnmowers.  Why bother even having them as an option if losing even one means you lose the level?

I actually feel sad that since this update has taken place, that I've lost a bit of interest in PvZ2.  A lot of the levels feel like they're trying to force the player to use up gold coins to buy power boosts.  There have been levels where I used any one of the boosts at least four times because I knew my defense that I had planted (sort of the whole point of the game) would not hold against what I was going up against.  Nowadays, all I look forward to are the Piñata parties, even though I wish I could turn off the costumes.

Initially, I would have given the game a "Must Play" rating, you know, if we did official ratings here.  Now, I would probably give an "You Could Live Without Playing."  Maybe I'm just becoming cynical in my old age.

Because You Don't Do Like They Think You Should

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