244 Comments
Edited by sublime90

$99.99 get the fuck out of here!!!

Edited by dyoo

It might be worthwhile to bring up that the creator of the original game got fired after PvZ 2 got announced: http://www.1up.com/do/blogEntry?bId=9112821. There were questions like: "What will PvZ 2 be like without him?" Now we know.

I think what sours my attitude toward the game is the constant prodding to buy, buy, buy. It gives me the same feelings as watching a trashy cable shopping channel. Some people are ok with this. Me, I want to not think about the real world or my financial budget when I'm in the middle of playing a game. What this game teaches me if if I'm rich enough, if I bribe it, I can win my way to success.

The objections I've been hearing are: you can just play for free, isn't that awesome? But if I thought the game was worthwhile, shouldn't I compensate the creator fairly? This F2P system gives me no way to say: "Let me pay a fair price for your creation. Stop sending me more prodding to buy things once I pay this."

Posted by SpunkyHePanda

I thought it was crazy that you guys didn't at least check how you earn stars on already completed levels, so I looked into it, and apparently each star is tied to a specific challenge that can completely change the way you approach a level. This seems totally fine to me.

Online
Posted by ripelivejam

all it takes is a dissenting opinion to get all these defenders of the F2P system out of the woodwork. or are they just disagreeing for the sake of disagreement and a not so obscured dislike towards brad? hmm...

i can see there's more and less gross ways of doing this, but in general i'm starting to think it's just plain gross. but hey, it may be the only way to make a consistent and viable profit for these games nowadays, so like it or lump it we may just have to grin and bear it.

Edited by The_Ruiner

Haha Vinny is doing his best to make this an informative Quick Look and Brad is just fighting him at every turn...

Posted by WeaponBoy

The free to play thing seems fine. A lot of the reaction seems to be 'oh god EA is ruining video games', but it's not like this is somehow new (cough, Infinity Blade, cough). Nothing in the game seems to require you to pay money, but I will agree that the value proposition seems out of whack.

What's most funny to me about this is how Brad was complaining about having to play the game to progress. I guess if you want to race through the whole game it make sense, but there's all those extra levels everywhere offer extra content (and apparently it's not wholly recycled, the 'repeat' levels have different enemies), so outside of a personal desire to move on to pirate-town, it seems kinda irrelevant.

Posted by BisonHero

@weaponboy: But can you explain all that to me through a Devil May Cry-based metaphor?

Posted by BadNews

I am really enjoying Drew chime in. I keep feeling like at some point it might be too much and take away from the appeal but so far every time he chimes in I am happy with the results.

Edited by AllenV86

pff it doesn't work with older generations of ipod touch, it says you need a forward facing camera

Edited by Zevvion

The free to play thing seems fine. A lot of the reaction seems to be 'oh god EA is ruining video games', but it's not like this is somehow new (cough, Infinity Blade, cough). Nothing in the game seems to require you to pay money, but I will agree that the value proposition seems out of whack.

What's most funny to me about this is how Brad was complaining about having to play the game to progress. I guess if you want to race through the whole game it make sense, but there's all those extra levels everywhere offer extra content (and apparently it's not wholly recycled, the 'repeat' levels have different enemies), so outside of a personal desire to move on to pirate-town, it seems kinda irrelevant.

That really isn't the issue though? Brad was complaining about having to replay levels he already completed in order to earn stars so he could progress. He clearly reached the end of the road and wanted to go to the next world but couldn't, because the game basically told him: either pay me to proceed or replay levels you've already finished.

Not having to pay =/= a good free to play model. This is a great example of a terrible free to play model. You lock progression behind either very highly priced transactions or challenge grinding.

Free to play is really hard to pull off, but that's no excuse for doing it this way. On top of that, even free to play games that are handled reasonably well; people would still rather pay one set amount to play all the content than having certain stuff locked behind transactions.

Whenever something is free to play, it's almost always an indicator that the game could've been better if it were not free to play.

Edited by Kosayn

Well, by the time this gets to a platform I can play it on, all the knee-jerkiness will have dissipated from the critical reception of this sequel, both positive and negative.

I only ever play this sort of game 100% free, and I am less averse to grinding than most. I do like to have at least one game around at all times that I can progress through and listen to a podcast or watch twitch at the same time, and that means grinding. But it can still sour the experience if it's pushed too hard.

Loved PVZ, but I did see social game trappings destroy the fun part of Desktop Tower Defense. Freemium might, or might not, do the same here.

Posted by Seeric

Judging by this Quick Look there seem to be two major issues with Plants vs. Zombies 2.

First off there is the star issue (and it is by no means just tied to this game nor even just to free-to-play games). The problem here, regardless of if the stars change the enemies present in the levels, is this is a deliberate decision by the developers to make the game less enjoyable for the sake of either earning money or of significantly inflating playtime. If going after the stars basically equates to playing the 'Hard Mode' version of the stages, the most efficient way to handle this would have been to allow access to the stars right from the start and provide players with the choice when they select to enter a stage of playing through on Normal for no stars (but you're still making progress) or on Hard for stars. This way, even if a player is incapable of beating the Hard version of a stage right off the bat they still have the option to go to it at any time once they feel they have enough skill/plants/passives instead of being forced to play through all the stages in a row on Normal and then play through all the stages in a row on Hard for every single area. EA and PopCap are both experienced enough to know that the way the stars are set up is not ideal for the player and this can only be a deliberate choice. The fact that other games have done it (the Mario games are rancid with it these days, though thankfully only when it comes to unlocking 'final bonus areas') is not at all an excuse.

Secondly, and I'm surprised this hasn't really been talked about much yet, there is no speedup option (or at least not as far as I am aware). The original Plants vs. Zombies game came out at a time when tower defense was still in the process of becoming 'a thing' outside of Flash games and it is understandable that this feature was not present. Basic features of tower defense games have become much more concrete over the years though and at this point in time I can see no reason why an option to play at 2x, 4x, or even at least 1.5x speed is not included here (unless the player is meant to become bored and so sick of the prospect of replaying a level that they failed that throwing a few dollars at the cash shop becomes tempting of course...); as delightful as it is to watch the plants and the zombies and as hectic as the game may get during big waves or later stages, moments where you can do nothing but 'sit and wait' pop up often in just about any tower defense game and the ability to fastforward through these moments after the graphical charm has worn off is a pretty important asset. Again, perhaps there is such a feature and it just wasn't found within the bounds of the Quick Look, but the lack of it made this video pretty painful to watch at times and I can't imagine playing through dozens of hours of this game without it (or at least not without spending a big chunk of that time bored out of my mind).

Edited by MeAuntieNora

@badnews said:

I am really enjoying Drew chime in. I keep feeling like at some point it might be too much and take away from the appeal but so far every time he chimes in I am happy with the results.

I am really enjoying Drew's amplified presence on the site in general!

A year ago I'd have said, when in doubt, defer to Vinny's judgment, because if he thinks it's right to throw it to Drew in the middle of a QL who the hell am I to question him?

Now, though, Drew has established himself as such a prevailing personality on the site, and in my mind he has vetted himself to such a degree that he is equally funny, or even funnier (blasphemy) than the next funny dude on the site. On top of that, his type of often dry delivery isn't really utilized much by others on the site. When it's more serious discussion, I find he consistently expresses himself in a clear and concise manner, and it's hard not to be interested when he's drawing on his apparently legitimate smarts and diverse, fascinating interests.

Posted by buwchbach

brad starting the show with a show stopper.

Edited by TheLegendOfMart

@drekly said:

@mrlog:

@mrlog said:

@ilikepopcans said:

There goes brad not knowing what he is talking about. Yes it is free to play and you can buy coins and other stuff, BUT JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING IN THE GAME IS UNLOCKED WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT.

Brad is bitching about paying for coins and I never once thought about paying for them, and I think they are pointless. I got enough keys to unlock all the doors earlier on in the first section and that will probably be true in the next section and never felt like I needed to pay for them. Brad is bitching about having to grid the levels to get stars when you can pay to go forward, but if you like the game than playing through the levels (which add challenges to get the stars) is not a bad thing.

Brad should realize that this is a great free to play game in the mobile marker because it DOES NOT REQUIRE YOU TO PAY FOR ANYTHING AND JUST BECAUSE THEY OFFER YOU TO BUY SOMETHING IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD OR HAVE TO.

Brad comes off as a ignorant person and should stop comparing mobile comes to consoles. Worst part is I'm really enjoying this game and I'm sad people might think this is bad.

I completely agree, Brad's so stuck on the anti-micro transaction train that it's frustrating to hear.

Since when was $10-100 a "micro" transaction?

Posted by warpmoon

When it...

...looks like a money grab,...

...smells like a money grab...

...and feels like a money grab...

...it's EA.

Edited by taemun

@brad Seems like the most they think they can coax out of people is $30:

Edited by ILikePopCans

@thelegendofmart said:

@drekly said:

@mrlog:

@mrlog said:

@ilikepopcans said:

There goes brad not knowing what he is talking about. Yes it is free to play and you can buy coins and other stuff, BUT JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING IN THE GAME IS UNLOCKED WITHOUT PAYING FOR IT.

Brad is bitching about paying for coins and I never once thought about paying for them, and I think they are pointless. I got enough keys to unlock all the doors earlier on in the first section and that will probably be true in the next section and never felt like I needed to pay for them. Brad is bitching about having to grid the levels to get stars when you can pay to go forward, but if you like the game than playing through the levels (which add challenges to get the stars) is not a bad thing.

Brad should realize that this is a great free to play game in the mobile marker because it DOES NOT REQUIRE YOU TO PAY FOR ANYTHING AND JUST BECAUSE THEY OFFER YOU TO BUY SOMETHING IT DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD OR HAVE TO.

Brad comes off as a ignorant person and should stop comparing mobile comes to consoles. Worst part is I'm really enjoying this game and I'm sad people might think this is bad.

I completely agree, Brad's so stuck on the anti-micro transaction train that it's frustrating to hear.

Since when was $10-100 a "micro" transaction?

Why is everyone so mad about the fact that you CAN buy something in the game for $100? Its is fucking ridiculous, especially since I think coins are stupid and you get a ton, but you don't NEED (need meaning to advance the game at a reasonable pace) to buy coins, or anything else for this game that is FREE.

Posted by FrontierPsychiatrist

I hope this game's good. The first one was alright.

Edited by radioactivez0r

Some of the microtransaction stuff seems a little crappy, but it also doesn't seem to constantly bombard you with messages after each level asking if you want to spend a few dollars to make it easier or advance. The store seems to be there if you want it but otherwise unobtrusive. I dunno, when it comes out for Android I'll gladly download it.

Posted by Metal_Mills

There's a difference between anti-microtransaction and anti-bullshit. Brad has spent a heap on Dota 2. That game does it right. This game basically cripples you into paying to keep going without having to grind out shit.

Edited by zenmastah

Dat EA being EA i guess..

Posted by GyozaHog

I'm playing this now. It's as fun as the last one, which is to say, if you liked the last one, you'll probably enjoy this. I haven't spent real money and don't plan to. If I get to the point where I can't progress without spending money or grinding that I don't find enjoyable, I will stop playing it. This seems simple to me.

The opportunities to spend money are everywhere. I am happy to ignore them all. In fact, maybe the best way to make FtP games go away, is for everyone to download them and play the shit out of them, and never buy anything in-game.

As for discussing the merits of how the game is structured, how you earn stars, or how your progress is monetized (staritized?), I'm happy to have that discussion with anyone who has actually played it. If you haven't played it, and you're just riffing on the awfulness of FtP and the downfall of western civilization, maybe play it for a bit before you bemoan the evils that EA hath wrought.

Edited by billyok

@warpmoon said:

When it...

...looks like a money grab,...

...smells like a money grab...

...and feels like a money grab...

...it's EA.

Tons of publishers do this. All the major ones and several independent ones too, in fact. It's not just EA -- if it was, this F2P thing wouldn't be the problem it is. Surely you realize this, but it's fashionable to just repeat what everyone else says I guess.

Posted by spraynardtatum

sleazy as shit

Posted by Coldhands0802

Man. Brad did a lot of bitching in this one. Saw some micro-transactions and then sounded super annoyed with everything else in the game. But by the end of the quick look, the free part of this game didn't seem that bad at all.

Edited by Lurkero

I don't mind the free to play model, but those prices are insulting.

This Quick Look doesn't seem representative of the game either. Brad admittedly had no idea how the overall progression structure worked. I don't think completing 15 challenges to move on to the second level is egregious, especially if you don't pay anything. How much do you think you "deserve" for free?

If the prices were brought down by a lot then the f2p model for PvZ would be much better, but as it stands I feel they have faltered in building the game around a new pricing structure.

@bhhawks78 said:

RIP Popcap.

I would have paid 10-20$ for a legit PVZ sequel.

This microtransactioned to hell and back EA style bullshit? NO THANKS!

That's the problem. EA doesn't think $10-20 is enough. The prices on the transactions are ridiculous considering what the first game offered for $20 full retail.

Posted by mrangryface

An in-game CONSUMABLE at the $99 price point is basically the biggest sign that something is broken with the F2P model in place. It demonstrates an expectation that the gameplay system is built to create a demand for that purchase level. That's bad F2P

Posted by Ozzie

I think I wasn't really offended till the end where you could spend $100 to get coins.... come on that's just a money grab, it's one thing to say hey pay $5 to move on or play the previous levels over again (it is free after all if you pay for nothing what do you expect). But to try and say hey spend $100 dollars to get a bunch of coins for an IOS game is just too much. There are so many games you can get for that much money I mean come on. Things like this remind me why people dislike EA.

Posted by 00

I will preface this post by saying that I have no interest in playing PVZ2 - even though I completed the first game. (I think I picked it up in a $0.99 sale at some point) The original was somewhat interesting, but had some real pacing issues, which they don't seem to have addressed in the sequel at all.

While I have enjoyed playing a number of tower defense games in the past, I have sworn off them now. They are the very definition of time wasting games. There are no complex strategies, and most of them are gated in such a way that you are always given the pieces you need to beat the levels. Just switch your brain off and watch the time fly by.

This is something which is actually becoming a problem in more games now though - especially with the trend of every game having RPG mechanics, a million collectible items strewn around the world, and achievements designed for the sole purpose of eating up your time.

With "unlimited" time as a kid, these mechanics would probably have been welcome additions. Now I see them for what they are, and it makes me long for the days when games were games, instead of trying to be movies or being purposefully designed to waste your time.

As an adult, this is something I struggle with a lot. There are a lot of games now that I enjoy, but don't think they're anything particularly special, and I have to wonder if it's actually a worthwhile use of my time. I actually find that this is more of a problem with the big-budget AAA games than indie titles - I don't have any patience for things like forced tutorials, or not being able to skip through your cutscenes. (that's not to say I skip all cutscenes, but there are a lot of games where I am only there for the gameplay)

From watching the Quick Look, it seems that both @brad and @vinny are of the opinion that they just want to pay a price up-front to play the game.

At least from what they have shown, there appears to be three worlds in PVZ2, and each of them are gated off, requiring you to either go back and play through the challenge levels to collect 15 stars, or pay $5 to unlock the next area instantly.

If you pay to unlock both gates, how is this any different from it being a $10 game?

In fact, it seems better than being a $10 game, because you could pay $0 for it if you are the type of person that would have played the challenge levels anyway, or you could pay $5 to unlock the second world, and decide that you've had enough from the game by the time you finish that, and not pay another $5.

And imagine if you were 10 years old again - just look at the variety and quality of games you can play today for zero dollars, instead of getting one or two new games a year.

The fact that the game has the option to buy upgrades and coins doesn't really bother me, because nothing you showed seemed to indicate that there was any need to buy them. OK, they have a crazy $100 option - so what? No-one is actually going to buy it. All F2P games have something equivalent to that.

Edited by Benmo316

F2P CAN be a good model but EA ruins it with PvZ 2.
I, too, am someone who needs every column to be uniform otherwise it drives me crazy.

Posted by Branthog

I never even understood the adoration people had for the *first* Plants versus Zombies.

Posted by AlisterCat

I have no problem. I will not spend any money, and I will probably get through the whole game.

Posted by Hailinel

Somewhere, someone is dumb enough to buy the $100 coin bundle on this game.

Online
Posted by zeekthegeek

If the games industry crashes, it's iOS that is going to cause it.

Posted by MikeLemmer

I'm getting more irritated with PvZ's paygates the further I go. Two things in particular:

  1. You can't get stars on your first runthrough of the level because each star changes the level somehow. Instead of a 3-star rating scale, it's like Super Mario 64 stars where you have to earn each star on a separate run. That means you need to play through a level 4 times to 3-star it.
  2. I'm halfway through the Pirate level and it looks like the plants behind the paygates... definitely require payment to get them. I was hoping to eventually find them for free on the world map, but it looks like I won't be able to use all of the game's plants unless I spend... *checks* ...$20. I would've rather just paid $5-10 up front.
Posted by Suits

@afterland said:

I fail to see how this game's star mechanic is any different than Super Mario 64.

The microtransaction outrage is really overblown.

Should be pretty obvious. In SM64 you approach a certain world differently for each star, tackling different areas and monsters in them. In PvZ2 you are just redoing the exact same waves.

Posted by IcarusFoundYou

@taemun: That is the most depressing pair of line graphs I've ever seen

Edited by Deathpooky

Gross. And worst of all, it looks like the same fucking game even though years have passed and tower defense games of all stripes have come out in the intervening time. Only with microtransactions gating the units and levels if you don't want to grind it out.

PvZ was fun for its time, but in retrospect it's really slow and boring compared to other tower defense-like games that came out. It just had style going for it.

Posted by ildon

BRAD. It is your JOB during a Quick Look to show us what is up with the game. You can't be concerned with wasting your own personal play time or losing your own progress during the Quick Look. It is the sacrifice you must make for THE GREATER GOOD! The people have to know!

Posted by SatelliteOfLove

I got a friend who's a MONSTER fan of PvZ1 who will not like the penny thing.

Posted by NoelVeiga

Oh, God, such an annoying QL. Preemptive anger at plants being paid for, then find out they can all be unlocked for free. Extreme anger at the stars, never go into a level, never find out that each star is a different mini game, hence new content, hence all the anger is misplaced.

Hey, if you're going to be pissed at the game without having played it you guys can just post a forum rant like all these other people here did and save yourselves the trouble of going through it. Otherwise the whole thing feels a bit disingenuous, especially on a site that, you know, gates content behind a pay wall.

Posted by Zemial

Oh, God, such an annoying QL. Preemptive anger at plants being paid for, then find out they can all be unlocked for free. Extreme anger at the stars, never go into a level, never find out that each star is a different mini game, hence new content, hence all the anger is misplaced.

Hey, if you're going to be pissed at the game without having played it you guys can just post a forum rant like all these other people here did and save yourselves the trouble of going through it. Otherwise the whole thing feels a bit disingenuous, especially on a site that, you know, gates content behind a pay wall.

It's a quick look not a review, calm down.

Posted by Slaegar

Its about time! I GET IT. I love puns!

Posted by djou

"Rotten with microtransactions!" that pretty much sums up this game. I can't see any reason to play this game when I can just go back to the first one.

Edited by RuthLoose

@ildon said:

BRAD. It is your JOB during a Quick Look to show us what is up with the game. You can't be concerned with wasting your own personal play time or losing your own progress during the Quick Look. It is the sacrifice you must make for THE GREATER GOOD! The people have to know!

This is a huge reason why I love when Jeff sinks $10 or $15 in a Quick Look because the people "must know" and Brad always gasps like he has just been injected with ricin and told that he was adopted. This is your job, Mr. Cobbler.

Edited by fargofallout

I've played a bit of the game, and I completely agree with Brad. I finished the final level of the first area, and then had to go grind out 11 stars on levels I'd already done (or if I had enough keys, on new levels). Granted, the stars are obtained through challenges, so it's sort of different from the first time I played through the levels, but they're still the same levels. It's extremely poor design, it's boring, and it's making me not want to play the game.

I'd rather they just designed out all of the pay-to-progress bullshit, kept all of the new enemies and plants and whatnot, and put it out for $15. For as much enjoyment I got out of the first, I would have gladly paid $15 for this one. When the game is free but full of nagging "buy this now!" and "this is the best deal!" horseshit, I'm inclined to not pay a dime.

*Edit: also, part of my problem with games like this is how much they nag you about the stuff you can buy. When I'm playing a game, I don't want the same feeling I get when I walk into a store, browse around, and get eyed by the sales staff. I want to enjoy the game I'm playing, not think about how buying more will benefit me, or be annoyed by the thought "well, if I bought this, I could be further along." It's extremely annoying and antithetical to what I look for in a video game.