Finally, Plants vs. Zombies 2 was released world wide, and I couldn't be happier.
While it's essentially the same type of game as the first smash-hit, there are several very noticeable differences in this follow up, some of which will take those who haven't been following too closely to the development of this game, by surprise. All in all, it's still Plants vs. Zombies, through and through, and that's a good thing. A really good thing.
First of all, the game is free. No, not just because it's a limited-time promotion or something, as if they were giving it away for the first couple of weeks to gain momentum and hype for the game. It's actually a free game, now and going forward to the foreseeable future. It is one hundred percent free, with a small caveat of course. You see, it is technically a free-to-play game, with the difference being that you don't actually ever have to pay a dime to play this game, continue this game, or complete this game. The entire game - every single bit of it that is available as of launch - can be unlocked in-game, for free. Sure, you can pay money if you so choose, for power-ups, in-game currency or to unlock new levels, but you honestly don't have to. The pay wall is essentially in place for people who are either impatient and don't want to put in the work to unlock everything, or for people who just aren't very good at the game.
Either way, if you have patience and skill and want to put in the time, everything is available without payment. Rejoice and breathe easy, people. This game isn't a cash grab, at least for the most part.
Honestly though, it deserves some money, because you can tell a lot of work and love went in to the making of this game. For what the game is, the graphics are absolutely gorgeous and crisp looking, and make the older game look completely dated, in comparison. On the iPhone 5, it is fantastic, but on the iPad with the retina display? Holy cow, does it show off details I never noticed before, much less thought would have been important until I saw them in this game.
Oh, and by the way, this is iOS exclusive. Sorry, Android users!
So you're probably curious about the whole unlocking thing, right? Well, you do so by collecting stars, and using the stars to unlock secret paths and new levels that lead to all the power-ups and unlockables that you could essentially buy if you wanted to. You collect the stars by going back to previously-beaten levels and completely new and unique challenges in each level, like beating the level with only specific plants, or not allowing the oncoming zombie hoard past a specific place on the map. Collect enough stars from challenges, and viola! No payment necessary.
Speaking of zombies, the many different types of new zombies they added makes the game feel fresh and something you have to figure out all over again. There is also Plant Food in the game, which you can give to any of your plants to give them a boost, aiding your attempt to defeat the zombies. You can buy plant food if you want, or you can just collect it in-game from defeating the glowing zombies that drop the plant food when they fall victim to your horticulture barrage.
Overall, it is fantastic follow up to a game I own on more platforms than I can count. It took far too long for the game to come out, but I'm glad it finally did. And I'm glad they took the free-to-play model and did it their own way, by thanking the die-hard PVZ fans with a ridiculously awesome, completely free game. I hope this is the start of a revolution for this gaming model.