Plants Vs Zombies had taken the notion of the undead to a whole new level alongside introducing us to a new kind of strategic gameplay. Having been acclaimed by fans and critics alike, it’s second iteration was announced but it is nothing like the first game that had us enraptured. Instead of the usual strategic approach of countering hordes of zombie waves by placing the appropriate plants in each level, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare came up with a third person tower defense-esque approach. It’s like a really colourful Battlefield minus the lens flare.
The game was released across the new gen and last gen of consoles as well as on the PC. The game itself isn’t demanding on systems as such, but there is still disparity amongst the systems which comes as a surprise and has already attracted more than just raised eyebrows. Nonetheless, the game is set in a really colourful and detailed premise that is rendered with the help of the Frostbite 3 Engine.
"The consoles also manage to run the game at a decent 720p. The game looks nice on the older consoles mostly because of the good implementation of anti-aliasing which doesn’t let a lot of jaggies spoil the experience and how can we forget the beautiful lighting? "
Starting a little off beat this time, we’ll go ahead with the older generation of consoles this time. As is the case with most games being released on the old generation of consoles, PvZ: Garden Warfare looks almost identically similar on both the platforms. Both consoles manage to run the game at a consistent 30 frames per second without any recurring frame rate drops.
Although screen tearing turns out to be something that couldn’t have been kept at bay on the 7th gen consoles. The consoles also manage to run the game at a decent 720p. The game looks nice on the older consoles mostly because of the good implementation of anti-aliasing which doesn’t let a lot of jaggies spoil the experience and how can we forget the beautiful lighting?
Again it’s worth mentioning that the anti aliasing technique is far from perfect in comparison to the newer machines, it does a very good job of maintaining pixel consistency throughout the game when seen in light of many other games on the PS3 and the Xbox 360 which have failed to take advantage of anti-aliasing techniques like PvZ does. But needless to say, the game manages to look surprisingly good on the last gen consoles.
"The game doesn’t ace in frame rate consistency, but a drop of a dozen frames in a game running at 60fps does not pose a threat to the experience of the game. "
The newer generation of consoles again manage to largely uphold the consistency in the gameplay when pitted against each other, but eventually the differences show. The Xbox One version of the game is rendered in 900p and outputted with a full HD signal.
While this doesn’t present any noticeable drawbacks at first look, in comparison to the PS4, some differences in texture quality do crop up, mostly owing to the fact that the PS4 renders frames in 1080p while the X1 has to scale the GPU output up. the Xbox One is perfectly capable of handling 1080p rendering for a game of this standard and why the developers chose to go with a low resolution rendering still remains an enigma of sorts.
Naturally, in contrast to the last generation of consoles, the PS4 and the Xbox One benefit from a much more advanced texture filter and graphical processing which churn out textures in high resolution with crisp colours. The game doesn’t ace in frame rate consistency, but a drop of a dozen frames in a game running at 60fps does not pose a threat to the experience of the game.
These frame rate drops are present on both the consoles but are limited to messy situations that usually start with bad team fights and lots of fancy weapons spewing particle effects and explosions. The particle effects in the game are remarkable across all platforms.
"The number of polygons are largely the same across all platforms with some minor variations. Texture pop in isn’t an issue as such."
The alpha processing in the game is quite excellent, resulting in fiery explosion looking beautiful as well as making dust/gas clouds look good enough to draw a satisfied nod from players. There is a presence of ambient occlusion too, which makes shadows vary according to the light sources and depth of darkened areas, although the same is absent on the old gen consoles.
The number of polygons are largely the same across all platforms with some minor variations. Texture pop in isn’t an issue as such. The lighting system of the game provides a nice illumination throughout the game. Multiple light sources can be spotted and various set pieces reacting to them appropriately.
Needless to say, the lighting system of the last gen consoles stands nowhere near the new generation’s especially with the absence of multiple light sources, but it is capable enough to make the game not look deficient in this respect.
"The ambient occlusion also seems to be have been beefed up slightly on the PC although motion blur is just as it is across the other platforms: as good as absent."
The PC version of the game doesn’t bring in an astounding bit of difference, but it is most certainly an improvement over the consoles. The textures are most certainly rendered at a higher resolution as is there a little improvement in the lighting system and the anti aliasing, although difference in latter may just be a variation across various GPUs.
The system requirements can be easily deemed almost ancient with the game requiring a minimum of a Core 2 Duo or an Athlon 64 X2 (3Ghz), supported by a 4gigabyte RAM and a GPU of the likes of the AMD 5xxx series or even the Nvidia 8800GT. This is the bare minimum for running the game smoothly at the lowest possible settings.
A low-midrange graphics card like the Nvidia 650Ti can handle the game sufficiently well for a flawless experience. The ambient occlusion also seems to be have been beefed up slightly on the PC although motion blur is just as it is across the other platforms: as good as absent. Shadow mapping is largely at par with the consoles only, with a few instances denoting better quality shadows.
The particle effects and alpha processing too seems unchanged but then it is already good enough. Anisotropic filtering sees a slight improvement as far off ground textures seem clearer on the PC as do the reflections seem neater. Depth of field too is seemingly absent from the game but it doesn’t affect the gameplay at all.
"In totality, Plants vs Zombies: garden Warfare may not be visually astounding, but it has managed to fare more than merely decently on the old generation of consoles."
In totality, Plants vs Zombies: garden Warfare may not be visually astounding, but it has managed to fare more than merely decently on the old generation of consoles whilst maintaining a commendable performance on the new generation and surpassing even that in the PC.
PvZ may not be a game that redefines graphical standards, but it certainly is a thoroughly enjoyable shooter game that promises visual satisfaction with its motley of congruous (yes, congruous) colours and beautifully executed effects, making it an easy choice over the sombre feel of the current day FPSs should you want to have some more fun.