The Game of the Year train has arrived at Best Surprise Central! That’s my way of saying that we’re about to reveal the winner of 2014’s Best Surprise award. (Honestly, I wish I hadn’t committed to this locomotive metaphor. Oh well.)
And the winner is…
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
The stage was set. A budget console release of a third-person shooter spin-off of a hugely popular tower defence game. There was no way that Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare could be good – until it was.
It’s only fair to mention that the expected microtransactional hooks, missing at launch, have finally found their way into the game. But still, Garden Warfare delivers a variety of enjoyable classes, ridiculous weapons and power-ups, and a suitable mixture of maps and modes.
Also, the shooty bits control well. In fact, Garden Warfare finds a great balance between its gunplay, the heavier artillery, and the game’s special moves – resulting in a very approachable yet oddly deep and challenging shooter.
Setting a shootout in brightly lit cartoon environments makes for a nice change of pace, too. Also, you can play as a cactus.