Plants vs. Zombies 2 "Soft Launches" in Australia

Plants vs. Zombies 2 "Soft Launches" in Australia

Plants vs Zombies 2 logo

Plants vs. Zombies 2 is undergoing testing in Australia and New Zealand to ensure that server capacities and in-app purchase prices are all up to snuff.

The long-awaited Plants vs. Zombies 2 was originally slated to come out on July 18 but in late June it was pushed back to an unspecific "later in the summer." PopCap didn't say at the time why it was delayed, but Senior Producer Allen Murray explained in a blog post today that the studio felt the game's new systems and technologies needed more testing before it was put out the door. To that end, Plants vs. Zombies 2 "soft launched" today in Australia and New Zealand.

"The goals of this focused launch are twofold: First, it's to test our back-end server capacity to make sure we are ready and capable of handling the traffic of our players worldwide. (Don't worry, you don't have to be connected to play, we just want to make sure everyone can get the game.)," Murray wrote. "Second, it's an opportunity for us to test at scale how our players play the game as well as how they interact with our store."

Quietly releasing games outside of the U.S. is actually a relatively common practice among iOS developers, as it affords the opportunity to test a game in an open market without the risk of overwhelming servers and support systems - and of overly negative backlash should something go disastrously wrong. Murray also warned that the game is not yet finalized, so people playing it should be aware that there may be "lots of changes" during the test phase, including in-app purchase prices. "We are looking to see how players interact with the game so we can make sure we are making the best Plants vs. Zombies 2 experience possible!" he wrote.

Plants vs. Zombies 2 still doesn't have a worldwide release date but Murray said it will be "coming your way very soon."

Source: PopCap

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thats okay. australians need some video games related good news once in a while

Hmmm yeah mobile and in app purchases, that's what I want out of PVZ [/sarcasm]

rhizhim:
thats okay. australians need some video games related good news once in a while

It looks like they consider us expendable, that's not really good news.

If I keep shouting "PC release", will they eventually make one?

Quick, we need some Aussies up in this joint. Are there major changes from the original? Is it fun? What's new?

Dryk:

rhizhim:
thats okay. australians need some video games related good news once in a while

It looks like they consider us expendable, that's not really good news.

I don't think "expendable" means what you think it means.

They're giving you the game early because your country is small and far away from everywhere else. Just because you're ideal test subjects doesn't mean that they want to lose your business.

lacktheknack:

They're giving you the game early because your country is small and far away from everywhere else. Just because you're ideal test subjects doesn't mean that they want to lose your business.

Yes. If something goes horribly wrong the bad PR won't spread quite as fast and far before they can fix the problems. I understand that we're ideal for that but it doesn't mean I have to be happy about it :P

Andy Chalk:
*snip*

Why is New Zealand omitted in the article title? We aren't part of Australia and we do have a presence on the Escapist. I am rather offended.

The early release seems to be iOS only. Windows and OSX aren't included. Not to mention it's looking like Android isn't even getting the game at all.

Seems like Popcap are less than focussed on the audience that made them who they are in the first place. This is clearly an iOS targeted game. Disappointing. EA pulling the strings perhaps?

SpAc3man:

Andy Chalk:
*snip*

Why is New Zealand omitted in the article title? We aren't part of Australia and we do have a presence on the Escapist. I am rather offended.

The early release seems to be iOS only. Windows and OSX aren't included. Not to mention it's looking like Android isn't even getting the game at all.

Seems like Popcap are less than focussed on the audience that made them who they are in the first place. This is clearly an iOS targeted game. Disappointing. EA pulling the strings perhaps?

THis has been gone over many times. The intial release will be iOS, then it will be ported elsewhere (PVZ was also a single platform release). What on earth would EA get from not releasing other versions?

Given they can't even hit the release with a single platform how would adding more help?

lacktheknack:
Quick, we need some Aussies up in this joint. Are there major changes from the original? Is it fun? What's new?

Dryk:

rhizhim:
thats okay. australians need some video games related good news once in a while

It looks like they consider us expendable, that's not really good news.

I don't think "expendable" means what you think it means.

They're giving you the game early because your country is small and far away from everywhere else. Just because you're ideal test subjects doesn't mean that they want to lose your business.

Ok,you guys wanted an Aussie perspective on this game.I'll give you one.Be prepared for frustration,LOTS of frustration.
The difficulty curve of the game has been ramped WAY up,so that gaining new plants,advancing to the next levels is MUCH harder without a lot of grind,or saying "F*** it and paying to unlock them.

In the first game,the game mechanics were deceptively easy to learn,and the difficulty curve felt natural and gradual until you suddenly realised the game had just gotten delightfully much harder.The inital reward of a new plant per level as been replaced by a system of coins,stars and keys.Levels and plants are unlocked by the latter two,and the coins are used to purchase new power-ups that allow you the abilities to flick,pinch or electrocute zombies away.This would be fun if the coin rewards weren't so skimpy you're tempted to top them up with real world cash.Some levels simply aren't winnable without power-ups,and if you're out of in-game coin or real moola,tough luck.

Winning the level by simply killing all the zombies before they invade your house is now not enough.Progressing to the next level is only possible by winning stars (or finding keys,which are sparingly placed and easy to miss).To win these stars,you must not just beat the level,but beat it EXACTLY the proscribed way the level tells you to.For example,on one level,you must not spend sun for 90 seconds,collect 3000 sun AND not use the lawn mowers.If you fail ANY of these provisos,no progression for you.MOST levels require you NOT to use ANY of your lawn-mowers to win the stars.So the thrill of narrowly beating the game has been replaced with the resentment that even though you beat the zombies,you didn't beat the zombies in exactly the way required,so no advancement or plants for you.As I said,the only way to beat many of these levels is with the power-ups,so you either repeat levels to get paltry coins to purchase them,or spend real money on them.There are about 90 levels,and God,does it feel like it.Can somebody tell Popcap that Grind and content are NOT the same thing?

I owned the first game on 3 platforms I loved it so much,and never had to play ANY level more than about 3 times.On this game,I've played some levels 6 or more times and turned it off in frustration.

Don't get me wrong,there's a great game hidden underneath the pay wall.with Crazy Dave taking Penny the time machine car back in time to find his fave taco,the new kind of period zombies are fun.Pirate Zombies,Pharoah zombies, and Cowboys are all cool opponents.(the zombie chickens and parrots are real SOBs though,and unlike the bunge zombies,there are no plants like the umbrella plants designed specifically to deal with them.)The handful of new plants are pretty fun,such as they are,my faves being snapdragon(incinerates zombies) and chili bean(zombies eat and fart themselves to death).However, ALL the mushrooms,garlic and cattail are gone.Some of the redesigns are not improvements.Tall nut looks square and cumbersome,while the grave-digger plant is now a weird wrap- around thing.Definitely you notice a drop in the quality of the artwork.
Also gone are the zen garden,mini games and night levels.Some of the mini games live on in the main game,but again difficulty and repetition is the name of the game.In the Egyptian level,there is a 'match' game(where you turn the shields of the zombies over,and try to match their symbols with the shield symbols of other zombies)that feel like so much filler.
It takes SO long to get all the plants(and some you HAVE to buy) you consistently feel like you're only playing half the game.In PVZ1,the difficulty is matched with the amount and variety of plants you have.In the new game,the difficulty is close to the final levels from the get-go.
There is a super game in there somewhere.But so much of it is locked behind grind or a paywall,I just kept thinking,"Gee I wish I were playing the first game." The freemium model has killed a lot of the joy of the game.Don't get me wrong,I'm all for diffculty and a little bit of grind for achievements,but the main campaign should not start to bore you with repetition and frustation.
My recommendation:lower the demands of the star system and make planets and levels unlockable by merely beating the level.The proscribed ways you are required to use to beat each level kills innovative gameplay.

I think I'm just going to wait until somebody works out how to hack the new plants into the old game.That to me will be a lot more fun than this grindfest.

AusGamer44:
Snip.

In short, as always, f*** pay - 2 - win. I am not buying such a game. And to be honest... I'm kind of sad too, because I really loved PVZ1. It was really quirky, charming... fun. Not an exercise in frustration. :/

Thandran:
[quote="AusGamer44" post="7.821446.19936089"] Snip.

In short, as always, f*** pay - 2 - win. I am not buying such a game. And to be honest... I'm kind of sad too, because I really loved PVZ1. It was really quirky, charming... fun. Not an exercise in frustration. :/[/quote

Indeed.Sorry for the long winded bitch- er,review,about the freemium model.I've seen lots of grumbling about the paywall in the reviews,but you always see that in so-called 'free to play' game reviews.This time that whinging is warranted.But I haven't seen a lot of reviews explaining just HOW hobbling to gameplay this model is to this particular game.The ios version of the first game had some payment options,but these were more to aid getting achievements,not locking off the game proper.I LOVEd the first game,and had it on my PC,DS,android and ipad devices. I mean,not advancing because you used ONE lousy lawn mower?And in the early stages of the game,the plants cost $15.00 EACH.$15!!!!!!!! They're $AU2.99 now,and considering I bought the first game for $7 on Steam,this seems like a ridiculous hike in price.
I can't help but think they fired George Fan because he was adverse to this kind of tinkering with his baby.I hope the guy is saying,'I told u so' while another company is paying him lots of money to make another brilliant game.

Oh no, AusGamer44's perspective is exactly what we needed. I came into here hoping for good news as I loved the first but I REFUSE to play pay to win. You certainly saved me a steam pre-order!

Don't worry that you came off as long winded, your telling us exactly what we needed to know.

AusGamer44:

lacktheknack:
Quick, we need some Aussies up in this joint. Are there major changes from the original? Is it fun? What's new?

snip

Whelp. I guess I'd better tell my Mom to thoroughly unhype herself. I know I've been unhyped.

 

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