Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare coming to Xbox on February 18

PopCap's odd Plants vs. Zombies shooter will be available on February 18 as a timed exclusive on Xbox consoles. Garden Warfare will be $30 on Xbox 360 and $40 on Xbox One.

We had a chance to get our hands on the game, and it's definitely coming along. It's impressive that PopCap didn't force clear-cut shooter roles to the zombie and plant classes, although there are some familiar types, like healers and heavies. I first tried out the football jersey-wearing All-Star zombie, who is well-equipped with a machine gun, grenade, and a drop shield. He also has a powerful dash move which can result in a couple instant kills, provided the dash is well-aimed. I then tried out the highly mobile Engineer, who can temporarily traverse through the map at high speeds by traveling on a jackhammer. He can also call in an air strike using his drone, which can also fire pulse rounds at nearby plants.

I can't remember the last time an adversarial multiplayer game had a class who could burrow underground, but that's what the carnivorous Chomper is capable of. By instantly killing zombies using this sneaky attack, the Chomper was a favorite among the media attendees. The imagination put into this third person shooter gives a lot of reason for optimism, though much of this will come down to team in charge of balancing this diverse cast, because a battlefield full of Chompers on the plant side doesn't sound like a lot of fun.

Garden Warfare presents its share of tactical opportunities, including flanking from around city blocks, sneaking through tunnels, and dominating look-out points. However, it does feel like there's some room for expansion. If there was a designated sniping character for either side, I couldn't find it--at least not one with a scope. That, and more melee options were part of my modest wishlist for the final version.

You can watch a narrated multiplayer battle in this new video released by EA: