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Everything we know about Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville

It has been more than three years since the release of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2, and PopCap Vancouver has been busy during that period. Announced and released in an early access stage on September 4, Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is the next evolution of the multiplayer-focused third-person shooter, and it’s the biggest game in the series yet.

Filled with story content, several multiplayer modes, and more playable characters than ever before, Battle for Neighborville is shaping up to another zany game perfect for the family to play together. Here is everything we know about it so far, including how you can start playing right now.

Gameplay

Plants vs Zombies Battle for Neighborville Van
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is an online third-person shooter that focuses on the never-ending battle between the titular Plants and Zombies in the town of Neighborville, as well as the areas surrounding it. Located on either side of the town, the two factions battle it out as they complete missions, as well as competitive multiplayer battles and wave-based Ops.

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As was the case in Garden Warfare 2, free-roam areas are available for those who want to explore and hunt for collectibles. In these areas that you’ll also complete campaign-style objectives, such as defeating a powerful Zombie enemy or rescuing kidnapped plants.

You will have the chance to explore as the Zombies, as well, for when you want to get a little eviler. You can do these areas – Weirding Woods, Mount Steep, and Neighborville Town Center — either alone or with up to three friends. The mission are not easy, so you might need the help.

Ops mode and cooperative play

Plants vs Zombies Battle for Neighborville Cooperative
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Just like in both previous games, there is an Ops mode included, which is essentially the series’ take on Horde mode. Details on this mode are scarce at the moment, but in the past, it has involved defending a point while raising up either potted Plants or computer-controlled Zombies to protect your position. The wave-based mode is designed to provide a hefty challenge, and requires coordination when playing with a team.

Battle for Neighborville is an online game, but it hasn’t forgotten about local couch co-op, either. Every single mode in the game supports split-screen play on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so you can keep enjoying the game with your friends if you decide to tackle some story content.

Competitive multiplayer

Plants vs Zombies Battle for Neighborville MP
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The heart of Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville is its competitive multiplayer, and there are more options than ever before this time around. Six competitive modes are going to be available at launch, including all modes from the past – this means Turf Takeover, Team Vanquish, and Gnome Bomb will be returning. To go into a multiplayer match, you select your choice from a terminal in the hub area and then walk through a portal directly in front of it.

One of the new modes this time around is called Battle Arena, which takes place in the special “Funderdome” area. A four-versus-four mode, it’s a best-of-seven contest. What makes the mode unique is that you can’t pick the same character in two rounds, so you have to get acquainted with the entire roster.

Characters

Plants vs Zombies Battle For Neighborville Characters
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There are 20 different playable characters in Battle for Neighborville, with both the Plants and Zombies having 10. This lineup includes every character from Garden Warfare 2, as well as three new heroes on each side.

Returning Plants

  • Chomper: Melee-focused attacker that excels on the front lines
  • Kernel Corn: Assault specialist with damage at any range
  • Peashooter: Attacker focused on damage at medium range that can use a turret
  • Cactus: Sniping defender with mines and a flying drone
  • Citron: Defensive specialist that is extremely evasive
  • Rose: Support specialist that can transform and frustrate enemies
  • Sunflower: Support specialist focused on healing

New Plants

  • Night Cap: Attacker who uses spores as main weapon, can turn invisible
  • Oak & Acorn: Defender who can grow from Oak into Acorn and carry other Acorns on branches as turrets
  • Snapdragon: Attacker specializing in fire-based abilities

Returning Zombies

  • Foot Soldier: Grunt-style attacker with a rocket launcher and assault rifle
  • Imp & Z-Mech: Elusive attacker who can pilot powerful Z-Mech suit
  • Super Brainz: Melee-focused superhero with the ability to fight multiple enemies at once
  • All-Star: Defender with powerful auto-cannon and crowd-control moves
  • Captain Deadbeard: Defender with a weapon that transforms from shotgun to sniper rifle
  • Engineer: Support and technical specialist with gadget-focused abilities
  • Scientist: Support specialist who can heal and deal close-range damage

New Zombies

  • Electric Slide: Attacker who can deal long-range damage and crowd control with tornado
  • 80s Action Hero: Attacker with a bow that can fire as a powerful shot or in a spread
  • Space Cadet: Works similarly to Oak & Acorn with Space Station for faster movement

Progression

Plants vs Zombies Battle For Neighborville Night Cap
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Character progression is handled a little differently than in past games. As you gain experience through the battles you fight both against other players and computer-controlled characters, your character’s level increases. Once it has hit level 10, you can travel back to your hub area and promote this character, which changes their rank title and resets their level back to 1.

Promoting unlocks additional possible upgrades that you can equip for your characters. These include the ability to recharge health faster, move more quickly, or reload more quickly, among other bonuses. You have 7 total upgrade points available for each character, with certain abilities being worth more than 1. Multiple versions of each character can be saved if you want to use them for different modes.

Additionally, you can gain cosmetic items such as clothing or hats. These can be unlocked in missions, given as gifts from NPCs, and purchased through the Mr. Reward-O-Tron 9000 using coins. The item you get will be random, but the coins can only be earned through playing the game. After launch, another currency called Rainbow Stars will also be available to purchase for real money, but you will not be using it for blind loot boxes, and a limited number of Rainbow Stars will be earnable in the game.

Release date and editions

Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville will be released on October 18 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. As of now, no plans for a Nintendo Switch version have been revealed.

The Deluxe and Standard Editions are available now on announced platforms, and the Founder’s Edition is included with an Origin Access Premier membership.

PopCap plans to support Battle for Neighborville for the foreseeable future, and this will be done in the form of free post-launch content. Seasonal Festivals will be available, including the “Lawn of Doom Festival” in October, which will change the scenery and bring more customization options for characters. New Festivals will happen every month, and there will also be more features, characters, and maps coming, as well. A battle pass system will give you access to additional rewards, and will also be free.

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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