Saturday, May 16, 2009
My thoughts on Plants vs. Zombies
Killed in a Smiling Accident has a brilliant review of Plants vs. Zombies, so I don't need to write one. :) Instead I'll just ramble on with some personal thoughts on the game.
Of course at the start I enjoyed Plants vs. Zombies very much. Who wouldn't enjoy a game in which a pole vaulting zombie jumps over a wall-nut only to splatter satisfyingly in your exploding potato minefield? But the longer I played, the more frantic the game became, until it reached the point where it was simply too hectic for me. Besides, at that point I had already grocked the game, understood the tactical principles behind a good defense, and by ending the learning process (according to Raph) also ended the main fun part of the game.
So when I read Melmoth's paragraph where he discusses into what drawer of game genre to forcefully shove Plants vs. Zombies, my reaction was "No question! Plants vs. Zombies is a real-time strategy (RTS) game!". Which is probably not how most people would describe it. But Plants vs. Zombies ends up leaving me with exactly the same feeling as other RTS games I recently tried, like Dawn of War 2: The tactical decisions you make a really, really simple, and wouldn't pose any challenge if you weren't forced to take these decisions in a hurry while trying to watch several parts of your screen simultaneously and having to click fast when stuff happens.
Now I'm an old codgergamer who grew up with turn-based strategy games, and for me that sort of gameplay is unsatisfying. I'm okay with losing because I made a wrong tactical decision, but I hate losing because I didn't click fast enough, or got overrun at some point of the map I wasn't watching at the moment. And I don't like having only very limited tactical choices, made artificially challenging by speeding them up. But that's just me.