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Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville launches on Xbox One and it's incredible

What you need to know

  • Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville leaked weeks ago.
  • It just launched on Xbox One and other platforms.
  • The game runs at 4K resolution on Xbox One X.
  • You can purchase Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville for $40 through the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab).

A few months ago, screenshots leaked from an untitled Plants vs. Zombies game. The game was a third-person shooter that featured new fighters like an acorn. The franchise appeals to a younger demographic as well as an older crowd because it requires teamwork and communication, but the visuals are whimsical. In many ways, Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is a refinement over the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare games, and the fact that it was offered at a lower price for a month made it even more accessible.

Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville features a much larger world and complex mechanics. When you first sign on, you have to go through a lengthy tutorial-type situation which teaches you everything you need to know. There are a lot of colorful characters to interact with and you'll want to explore every corner because there are tons of unexpected surprises.

On Xbox One X, Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville looks stunning and appears to be running at 4K resolution. The frame rate is locked to 30 frames per second (FPS), so I would've liked to see a 60 FPS option. Despite that, the shooting mechanics are precise and I didn't really encounter any performance problems. It's one of the most polished games to come out of EA in recent years.

Aside from the stunning, Pixar-like visuals, there are lot of other options this time around. You can customize every character and there are almost two dozen customizable classes. You can make a unique character not only in looks, but also in terms of playstyle. Figuring out what works for you will probably be trial and error, but the accessible nature removes most frustration.

At launch, I believe there are six player vs. player modes. While your standard deathmatch is included in there, for me, it's the content outside of the competitive multiplayer that really shines. This time around, you can venture to the Outer Edges of Neighborville and explore three free-roam areas. There's also one player vs. enemy mode that's addictive. Even in the early access period, the maps were populated with other gamers so I never had an issue finding players to team up with.

Aside from that, the game is very similar to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. If you loved those experiences, you'll love this game. I'm not really that into competitive multiplayer, so the fact that even someone like me can play the other modes and explore the large map is a refreshing change. I wasn't expected that at all. This allowed me to gain more experience and eventually, I came back to the competitive offerings to try my luck. This model definitely works because it draws people who may not want to participate in intense matches right from the start.

Overall, Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is an excellent game and I can't wait to continue playing it in the coming weeks to months. EA has promised a lot of post-launch support so it'll be interesting to see how the title evolves. Obviously, there are some slight bugs where characters clip through certain objects or abilities are imbalanced, but with more people playing it now that it's available starting at $40 on Xbox One and other platforms, those issues should be fixed quickly. If you're looking for a somewhat — and I stress somewhat — relaxing experience, be sure to give this one a go between those heavy-hitters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and The Outer Worlds.

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Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.

2 Comments
  • I've been playing it for a month now. The visuals are stunning. However, the actual game play is a bit frustrating because the controls are responses are a bit different from Garden Warfare 2. It often seems rather difficult to hit enemies when compared to GW2. Also, there are new types of plants and zombies, but you no longer have all the variants that existed before (electric, fire, poison, ice, etc) so you can't really get a character as customized as you have been able to do in GW2. The new areas that you can explore on your own are kind of fun, with their own challenges and bosses to battle. But you then tend to miss the multi-player aspect in those. I hope that they do add more areas for the turf takeover mode. Turf takeover is really what made the previous GW1 and GW2 excellent. And it was really exciting when they brought one of the GW1 turf takeover maps into the GW2 world earlier this year.
  • I bought the pre-launch version when it first came out and was able to play local split screen co-op with my kids for the first week or so only, after that I kept getting an error message that "split screen mode failed to start." An online search revealed a lot of players also encountered this problem and were hoping it would be fixed when the game officially launches on 10/18. I tried to play split screen today and was still unable to do so. Any fellow Windows Central reader has this problem?