'Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2' Hub World A Significant Update To Cartoony Shooter

The original Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare was a surprise shooter hit for Xbox consoles and later the PC and PlayStation consoles. The sequel is shaping up to expand the third-person shooter beyond its basic roots by adding more features and activities. This includes an all-new hub world revealed by PopCap Games on Thursday that lets players explore the Plant and Zombie sides of town.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 includes the Backyard Battleground that serves as the hubworld for the sequel. It's a place where players can see their achievements and progress, explore to find secrets, get story missions, and battle the opposing Plant or Zombie enemies in various mini-games.

The map for Backyard Battleground is divided into three equal sections for the Plants, Zombies, and a neutral zone where the two can do battle. A base is set on each side of the map is where players will find character customization along with the ability to jump into single and multiplayer game modes.

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Backyard Battleground Map (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare [Image via EA/PopCap Games]A stat room sits in the middle of the base that displays character stats and achievements. Bobbleheads are also on display to indicate all of the characters for each class that have been unlocked and to manage character promotions.

Each base also holds a Quest Board to take on challenges to earn rewards, a Sticker Shop terminal, and a portal to take on missions for Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 heroes. This is another new feature for the shooter with Davebot 3000 and Agent Rose handing out special missions. These missions are being kept under wraps by PopCap Games for now.

Switching between the Plants and Zombies side in the hubworld is as easy as visiting the base and going to a terminal to switch sides.

Loot chests are scattered around the Garden Warfare 2 hub world for players to discover. Exploring the map also gives players the chance to run into mini-games.

The two mini-games revealed in the Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 announcement trailer for the Backyard Battleground include a shooting range and a survival wave. The shooting range is called the "Crazy Targets Range," which times and scores players as they run through a target range. The scores can then be compared on a leaderboard against friends and the rest of the world.

Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 Backyard Agent Rose (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Agent Rose gives top secret missions out in the Backyard Battleground. [Image via EA/PopCap Games]The center of the Backyard Battleground hosts the Flag of Power. Raising this flag will set off waves of enemies to battle either alone or with up to three friends. It's a good practice setup for players who are just getting started with the game and aren't ready to jump into multiplayer yet. It's also a chance to test new characters that have been unlocked.

The Backyard Battleground is the latest addition to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2. Earlier, PopCap Games revealed a new Solo Ops mode for players who want to play by themselves. Players will be able to select up to four characters to swap between during solo play to try out different character combos. It's also a way to level up individual characters as they gain experience while being controlled in Solo Ops.

Crazy Settings are also being introduced to give Garden Warfare 2 players a chance to modify game settings like speed and gravity to mix things up. The available options, per EA on the official website, will be as follows.

  • "Low Gravity: It isn't just for the moon! Any map will be played in low gravity."
  • "Infini-ammo: All characters have infinite ammo and no overheat."
  • "Simply Explode Mode: Characters simply explode when vanquished, 'simply.'"
  • "Ridiculously Low Health: All characters have a max of 1 health – instant vanquishes!"
  • "Speed Boost Craziness:All characters move at a must faster rate."
  • "Super Crazy Knock-back Mode: Damaged characters get knocked back… like really far!"
PopCap Games also addressed one of the most common complaints with the original Garden Warfare by removing the always online requirement. That's a nice addition in light of the inclusion of Solo Ops and now Backyard Battleground to Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC owners should expect to see Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 sprout up on their favorite platform on February 23, 2016. Sound off in the comments below on your thoughts about the new features.

[Image via EA/PopCap Games]