Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Blizzard Unveils Hearthstone Adventure Mode: Curse of Naxxramas!

A new single-player adventure mode for the Blizzard's free to play card game Hearthstone was unveiled a couple of days ago at PAX East. In this mode, players will be able to take on AI bosses as a part of a single-player campaign. The new expansion is set to launch in Summer 2014 on PC, MAC and iPad platforms while a specific release date is not yet known.

What's even better news, at least for me, is that this adventure mode will take place in NAXXRAMAS!!!! I've been a WoW player for 8 years now and Naxxramas was my favourite raid ever at level 60. It still is to this date, not the level 80 version but the really challenging level 60 version! I was playing a tank warrior back then and I've had some fantastic times there and made some incredibly entertaining memories. Our guild had server first kills on the likes of Maexxna and Thaddius which is my favourite boss EVER (Tanking was so much fun on that boss)! 


However at level 60 we could never get past 4 Horsemen so we couldn't fight against Sapphiron and Kel'Thuzad. Of course I cleared the place at level 80 when it was redesigned as a higher level raid dungeon but I still feel that something is missing because we couldn't advance further back then. To be fair to my guild, none of the other 2 raiding guilds could get past 4 Horsemen during that time on our server (yes on my server only 3 guilds were raiding way back then). Ah well I don't think anyone cares about my personal Naxx experiences but I still wanted to share as I've had some of the best times in there. 

So back to the original story, The Curse of Naxxramas will open its 5 wings in a course of 5 weeks. Kind of like the new instances in Mists of Pandaria where we needed to wait for a week for the new bosses to be available. The first wing, that is Arachnid Wing will be free to all players whereas the next wings will be available for purchase with in game gold or real life money. Frostwyrm Lair, the 5th wing, which will have Sapphiron and Kel'Thuzad as last 2 bosses, will be unlocked once you complete all 4 wings so this means that we only need to save up for 3 wings. So better start saving your hard earned gold now if you plan on not spending a dime on these wings. I assume it will be around at least 600-750 gold per wing. 

In this new mode we will get a total of 30 brand new cards including a guaranteed legendary card after completing a wing and 9 class specific cards. When we count one unique neutral card for each of 15 bosses, a total of 5 legendary cards per wing and 9 class specific cards, the total sum accumulates to 29 cards which would suggest that the 30th card could be a legendary reward for completing everything in Curse of Naxxramas. But I am merely speculating here. Even if you don't earn any of these cards or decide you can't afford the rest of the wings you don't need to worry because all the cards will still be available to everyone in Arena, if by luck you run into them of course. Upon earning a card, that card will immediately be added to your deck to be used in any mode of your choosing.

Shade of Naxxramas will surely be a big threat if left unattended for a couple of turns whereas Baron Rivendare will be a great complementary card with Cairne Bloodhoof or Sylvanas Windrunner among many others.

Based on what we have seen so far among the many riches that Naxxramas will offer us, it may as well look like you better start stacking up on Deathrattle cards as soon as possible. It is safe to say that after Murloc rush or Beast rush decks, a lot of Deathrattle control or Deathrattle rush decks will start to unravel.

Apart from these new neutral cards there will also be 9 new class specific cards. By completing a class specific task given to us during a boss encounter we will earn new cards exclusive to that class. These class specific cards will be unlocked by  using predetermined decks.

The introduction of a brand new mode and dungeon of course brings forth a brand new skin for our game board that complements the beauty of the necropolis Naxxramas.


The second encounter in the Plague Wing, Heigan looks rather promising. It seems like with his Eruption hero power, our dancing skills will be put to the test. If you are a Hearthstone player, yet you never played WoW, you probably have no idea what I am talking about. Just search Heigan Dance.... Worst case scenario, you will be ready to face Heigan the Unclean when Plague Wing is released!


By the way I simply can't wait to see the 4 Horsemen encounter in Hearthstone (last boss in Military Wing). Can you just imagine facing 4 different heroes with 30 health and 4 hero powers at the same time? That encounter will be hellish!!! I CAN'T WAIT!!! Also, considering that Ashbringer is already in the game as a Paladin exclusive weapon, its previous version Corrupted Ashbringer, which dropped from the 4 Horsemen, as a minion (like the new Dancing Swords card) could indeed be a good reward. 

Patchwerk will be a pretty interesting encounter as well. I imagine his hero power will be something like dealing a massive amount of damage but it will get a damage penalty based on the number of our minions which would suggest that we will be needing LOTS of minions on our side to mitigate that massive damage. To make matters even more interesting, technically we might need more minions with TAUNT to survive. I mean isn't Patchwerk like that in WoW? I remember getting 1 shot so many times that I couldn't keep track of anything anymore while we were trying him on level 60 despite using all the potions and flasks available to a tank during that time. And if they put something like "beat Patchwerk in/under 15 turns" or something as an enrage timer, things would get even more and more interesting :D Some bosses should definitely get turn limitation, it would make it much more challenging or maybe I should stop taking WoW encounters so literal and implementing them to Hearthstone...

One last thought. Do any of you remember the real hero in Naxxramas? Kel'Thuzad's cat pet MR. BIGGLESWORTH! I really hope he will be a fun legendary card in this expansion. Even 0/0 with no special power would suffice for me. I just love that cat! :D It would indeed be a pretty funny card.


I am so excited about this Adventure Mode that I can't even fit into my own skin. Single Player mode was pretty weak in the game so this Adventure Mode was a really needed feature. To be perfectly honest I was getting tired of playing against other players. Up next should definitely be the introduction of the Death Knight class which is my main on Horde side (I've got some interesting thoughts about DK cards which I will be posting when they are completed) alongside multiplayer modes like 2 players against a boss or 2v2 3v3.

This news is also extra exciting in that we might see more WoW raid dungeons as a part of an adventure mode in the future. As a vanilla player I really wouldn't mind seeing more dungeons like Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, Ahn'Qiraj (40 men) (C'thun simply HAS to be in the game in one way or another!!!). Also 3-4 vs Onyxia's Lair would be pretty interesting as well. Although imagine playing Ragnaros against Ragnaros or Nefarian against Nefarian :) It would be pretty hilarious.

Curse of Naxxramas surely hints at many more dungeons to follow. After finishing up with vanilla raids, the likes of Black Temple, Tempest Keep (I'm still waiting for a Kael'Thas legendary card although his boss version would be incredibly entertaining) and of course Icecrown Citadel might present themselves. I am sure many of you have made some incredible memories in those dungeons like me and it would be fun to relive those moments in a rather more different and unique way with the help of Hearthstone! I can't wait! 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

So, When Will AMC's New Series "Turn" Start Collecting Awards?


I think AMC has some sort of an aura. I can't believe that a channel could be blessed with so many magnificent shows. Whatever they do, after show after show they just hit the jackpot for me, with the exception of maybe Mad Men.

AMC's new drama series, Turn, following the story of Abe Woodhull, a farmer living among the colonists in New York who is later recruited as a spy for Washington by his childhood friends who have enlisted in the war against Britain to win their independence, managed to hit that jackpot for me.

While the premier of the show started rather slow early on, that is a given for all pilot episodes. However, towards the middle of the episode, its potential to achieve success kept increasing after every minute. So now I started asking myself, when will I start seeing Turn winning awards? Because I strongly believe it will start grabbing them in the future. The character development is great, I loved the plot of the show. I really like spy type of movies/TV shows but Turn takes that even further for me as I believe it's much more original than your regular spy movies/shows.

I loved the acting as well. I've been following Jamie Bell ever since his BAFTA winning performance in Billy Elliot, one of my favourite movies, when he was just a child. I really love seeing more of him now in serious projects like Filth, Snowpierce and Turn. I just hated seeing his talent go to waste in movies like Tin Tin and possibly Fantastic Four in the future...He has done a marvelous job in Turn among all the other actors. I particularly enjoyed the performance of Kevin McNally as Abe's father who pledged allegiance to Britain. I really loved the dynamic between Jamie and Kevin and I can't wait to see what will happen now especially following the end of the first episode. 

Anyway that was just a quick expression of what I thought about Turn. Full of potential for great story telling and character development. If spy stories are your cup of tea, give this a go. I doubt that you'll be left disappointed.

PS: I prefer to use red colour on my links because; as my theme is rather dark coloured, dark blue can easily be missed. That's why I choose red, just so you know...

Monday, 7 April 2014

Shaun of the Dead 12" Talking Figure Review

I might have mentioned once or twice before in my posts that Shaun of the Dead has been my number 1 movie of ALL time! So I decided that when I had a stable income one of the first things I will buy would be a collector item about this movie. I was thinking of a T-shirt or maybe something else but when I found out there was a 12 inches figure of the lead character Shaun, I was simply chuffed to bits. Talking feature also seemed like a fun idea and I couldn't wait to try it out after I purchased it.


The packaging itself seems sturdy enough to handle the Zombie Apocalypse with ease. I had to spend about 10-15 minutes to remove Shaun and his accessories from its neat package. The box itself looks great enough to display if you prefer to portray your figures in their boxes. But I should also note that inside the box there is a cardboard of bloody zombie hands to be used as a background which I think is a nice touch.



























The details of the figure itself, particularly his head sculpture, certainly aren't as good as you can find on figures from Hot Toys. But those Hot Toys figure cost at least 4-5 times as much. However, for the money I really shouldn't complain about the details as this Shaun figure is simply excellent. The fact that he talks is just the icing on the already tasty cake.

When I decided to buy this figure, I naturally did some research as to what people thought of it. I noticed that some of the buyers complained about problems with its paint work. But to be completely fair my figure was in perfect condition. I had absolutely no flaws with the paint application. I quite liked the red ink on his breast pocket as well. It reminds me of the famous line from the movie "You've got red on you".


The figure itself seems strong enough to take a fall or two but I wouldn't recommend playing with the tie too much as it looks like it can easily be broken. The stand resembling the carpet in Shaun's flat looks pretty good. I especially like the chest and the CDs. The chest can be opened and closed. You can choose to display your Shaun with his chest open and store it with the records that are included in the box like I did. I must admit it looks pretty cute. I really love the detailing on the flowers as well. Paired with the cricket bat you've got yourselves a Shaun that just came alive from the movie posters.



My only *real* complaint would be not being able to move the arms. You can only move the whole arm from his shoulders back and forth but you can't move below the elbow. I'd have preferred to place his arm a little bit closer to his torso but I'm afraid that is not possible.


My only *not-so-real* complaint would be his talking feature which I thought was not exactly pointless but unnecessary when I heard the quality of it. I would have preferred them to work more on the head sculpture and make it resemble Simon Pegg even more but needless to say that it is indeed a fun function. 

I thought the lines they picked for that feature were quite good. Some of the best lines in the movie involve other characters as well and they usually take the form of a dialogue so in my honest opinion they went with some of the best Shaun "exclusives". Though I wish it had "Get f****d four eyes" line. 

Quality of Shaun's voice could be better but that certainly doesn't mean it's poor albeit it does sound like it was recorded with a mid-range smartphone. However, as someone who doesn't intend on using the talking function, it's still pretty adequate for me IF I do want to take it for a ride. The volume of his vocal is surely more than enough as my dog, Akira, paid quite a lot of attention accompanied by loud barks from the moment I started testing it.

Overall I think this is a really good quality Shaun of the Dead figure for the money. This is the kind of figure that should be displayed on the shelf of every Shaun of the Dead fan. Be sure to pick one up if it's among your favourite movies as it won't be putting a dent in your budget.


Shaun makes a great addition right next to my Col. Hans Landa. I've also got Loki from Avengers on the other side of my shelf (review to come). This trio will be able to handle whatever Apocalyptic scenario you throw at them!

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Apology for my Youtube Videos...

I don't know if you have tried reading my older posts where I shared a lot of videos from Youtube, especially on recaps of reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance or new trailers from TV shows or movies etc.


I think most of them can't be watched anymore and there is absolutely no way for me to update these videos because if you aren't living under a rock then you will know that my great(!) country, Turkey, blocked Youtube. 

I can't be expressing my true feelings about this predicament because I simply don't want to end up in prison as we can't exactly say that there is a freedom of speech here! But more importantly this blog is not a platform for controversial subjects such as religion and politics. This is a place to celebrate TV, books, games, movies, actors! Nothing more nothing less! Shame though because Youtube was essential on my blog to share gameplay videos, trailers, certain scenes etc.

So simply I can't access Youtube anymore thus I can't check if my videos can/can't be watched. So I am humbly sorry for whatever inconvenience this might cause to my readers, if you are there that is. Please accept my apologies. Thank you.

I will avoid sharing videos from now on. Well because I have no other choice...But I have more reviews coming up from Diablo III Reaper of Souls to Hearthstone. So stay tuned!

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Plants vs Zombies 2 It's About Time Gets Far Future Update

A couple of days ago highly anticipated update has finally been released in Plants vs Zombies 2. The 4th world called "Far Future" is finally here along with a lot of major updates and new additions and much much more to add to the overall playability of the game.

The Far Future world takes place in the 24th century when the zombies manage to advance greatly in technology as well as science and created brand new gadgets and machinery to aid them in their war against our plants to have a feast with our brains! This new world can be unlocked by using the World Key that you will receive after beating Day 8 in the previous worlds. Of course you can also pay about $4.99 to unlock it.


But don't be afraid, our garden has got some great advantages to tackle all these new zombies types. Our garden will have tiles with special colourful symbols attached to them. Let me give you a quick example. Let's say we put two Peashooters on the tiles marked with the green X. When we use a plant food on one of those plants, the other one will also take advantage of it after the initial boost is completed. Simply, the first plant that we used our plant food on will receive the buff and start shooting an array of peas. After the first Peashooter completes this given buff, the second Peashooter will also receive the buff and start shooting. So ultimately you will only use one plant food to buff two or in some levels even more than two plants. But again these plants must be on their respective tiles that share the same symbol.

Apart from these tiles we will also have a selection of 7 brand new plants to choose from that will give us a distinct advantage against 12 new zombie types. For example a Laser Bean plant will help us pierce through the heavy armor of shield bearing zombies.

One other major addition in the game is Zen Garden. I am glad we finally got back our Zen Garden which was one of my favourite features from the original game. During gameplay, zombies now have a chance to drop seeds that can be used to plant in our Zen Garden. After plantation we water them and wait for them to grow. After we grow them we can earn coins from them and we can also grow new special bonus plants that can only be used for one level.


However this is where the in-app-purchases will show its dominance over players. Because with the addition of Zen Garden, there is also a new currency implemented in the game called gems. These gems can be used to speed up plant growth and to unlock new pots to plant more seeds. When we water a plant it will start a timer of approximately 15 minutes till it requires watering again. You can use these gems to remove that timer over and over again until your plant is fully grown. Of course these gems can only be bought with your real life money. I am not sure yet if there is a slight chance of a gem drop from a zombie but we will see. I haven't seen one drop yet though and I wouldn't count on it if I were you.


The new world has only just been added to the game but there is already a shadowed world right next to it. Looks like PopCap has already started working on the 5th world and word has it that this 5th world will be called "Dark Ages" and as the original players can understand from its name, we will have our mushrooms back! Remember the Night levels in the original game? It was dark so we could receive sun power from Sunflowers only. Thus we were given a chance to use mushrooms for a much less sun power than regular plants to make up for that extra sun power loss. There was even a mushroom that cost 0 sun power! I already can't wait for this new world!


This new update has made me really happy. If you have read my full review of the Plants vs Zombies 2 It's About Time, you will know that I thought the game was lacking both in diversity of zombies and plants, and overall game experience as gameplay was starting to get incredibly routine after a couple of levels. There also weren't a lot of other extra things to do either. However, now with the introduction of Zen Garden and lots of new plants alongside a plethora of new zombies, the game will become much more diverse in terms of almost everything! Now, I've got my fingers crossed for a chance to actually play with the zombie side for once in the 5th world! Here is to hoping...

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Goodbye The Good Wife! (Major Spoiler and Avoid the Picture!)

If you haven't watched last night's episode of the 5th season of The Good Wife do not read on. Or actually just keep reading so you won't be shocked to almost death like me at the end of the episode!


Because this has been the most shocking moment I have ever witnessed in the history of television. Yes we lost tons of other characters, many characters were killed off or retired or simply just let go from all sorts of TV shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. But this one definitely takes the cake! And no this is not a good thing!!!! I am not complementing at all. Although for the shock value it sure did hell of a fantastic job!

So if you have actually watched last night's (for me it was last night) The Good Wife episode then you know that our beloved character Will Gardner, probably the most likable character again in the history of television, was killed by his deranged client Jeffrey Grant, who was accused of killing a college student after she resisted against his rape attempts, during his trial.


Luckily we don't see any actual killing but we hear it. When we watch Diane's trial in another courtroom close to Will's we hear gunshots and we kind of know what the hell is happening because in the previous scene Jeffrey makes it obvious that it is his intention to go for the security guard's gun. However, sometimes we just don't need to see things do we? Because this way we can hope. We hope that it will be your typical Hollywood happy ending like noone will get hurt or die. But it wasn't like that! 

As Kalinda rushes in to check on Will, we first see a man lying on the floor with only one shoe on his feet. We do not see the face or the body of this man. We hope it is not Will but when Kalinda approaches him we see that he is indeed Will and he is shot by the neck.

Later on in the hospital we see the very same feet with one shoe when his death was announced. He is covered in bed sheets. We know it is Will but as Kalinda approaches to lift the sheet to check if it's Will we hope, just like Kalinda that this is just some sick joke and the man lying there will not be Will. But no, of course it was Will again, lifeless. Good god I am so pissed writing this right now!

I have never felt this close to any TV character before. Will Gardner was the most lovable character that I have ever had the privilege of witnessing the story of. I am not a romantic at all and I don't consider myself to be an emotional person, I am actually a rock when it comes to emotions but The Good Wife was the first show that ever made me root for the main characters to actually get together and find happiness in the end. And it was solely Will who made me feel this way. In a show filled with frozen faces and unlikable characters Will for me represented life and all the positive things that this life can offer us. As I mentioned before, this is not the first time a beloved character was killed in a show. But there has never been another TV character who managed to win my heart like this. I never want to feel connected to a TV character ever again. This will be my first and last time! I am making this promise to myself right now!

Quitting the show because one character is gone might sound mental. And this is something I have never done before but I will probably do it with The Good Wife because for me the only approachable thing about the show was the beautiful dynamic between Alicia Florrick and Will Gardner. The only story worth following in this show was to see if they would be together in the end. While I am happy that the show didn't go for the expected scenario, for someone who wanted a happy ending FOR THE FIRST TIME in her life, this was a big disappointment, a huge shock and incredibly upsetting! And I just don't see The Good Wife worth watching anymore which is sad because I've enjoyed this show for 5 years now. But for me this marks the end of the line I'm afraid. And although the show is picked up for a 6th season I strongly believe that killing a major character like this will definitely affect the show. Not in a good way! (I am writing this statement based on viewers' reactions to Will's death because I am definitely not the only person who got incredibly upset over this).

As for the reason why Will is gone, the magnificent actor Josh Charles wanted to leave the show after his contract expired in the 4th season. But he was persuaded to stay for one more season. At least it was Josh Charles' decision to leave the show. That's my only consolation so far. I've thoroughly enjoyed his performances in Sports Night, Threesome, Dead Poets Society among other movies/shows. So I hope Hollywood will get a hold of this lad and we'll get to see more of him in the future!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time Review

Plants vs Zombies has been one of my favourite Tower Defense games of all time. The gameplay was incredibly enjoyable and there were plenty of things to keep yourself busy with. I remember playing it almost 7/24 till I earned every single achievement in the game on my PC. 

So I can safely say that when a second game was under development I was super excited. However unlike the first game, the sad thing about Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time was that it would not be available for PCs. You can only play it on mobile platforms which has its advantages as well as disadvantages. My preference obviously would be to have the game on both platforms.


Anyway when the game was released for iOS only I went bonkers as I'm an Android user. I also thought it would be an iOS exclusive title which pissed me off even more. The original Plants vs Zombies was released on Android OS 2 years after its launch on iOS if I am not mistaken, so if that would be the case for PvZ 2 as well I'd probably end up murdering someone. Well luckily it didn't take them 2 years to release the game on Android. I think I had to wait for approximately 3 months which wasn't that bad when you think about it.

Ever since the first time it was released Plants vs Zombies 2 has undergone some significant developments via updates however large or small. Thus naturally the current game is very much different from the original version of the game when it was first launched. I will try to only talk about the current version as it would be very confusing if I talked about all the changes. As PopCap admitted, they are trying out new features and ultimately act according to feedback so a lot of features are constantly added and then removed so it's difficult to keep track of them.

Well let's start off with some general information about PvZ 2 for those who haven't played the original game. Plants vs Zombies is a Tower Defense game developed by PopCap Games. In this game we control the plants side and defend our garden and ultimately our "brains" against waves of zombie attacks. We gather sun power to grow plants and use these plants to hold off the zombie attacks. Slightly off topic but, one of the best things about the first game was that we were also given a chance to play with the zombie side. I am afraid this feature hasn't been implemented in the second game yet. So I really hope that in the future they will.

Story

At the start of the second game our Crazy Dave drops and loses his taco. And as anyone who has played the games will know that Dave loves his tacos so he decides to travel back in time to find this taco hence the name of the game "It's About Time". Well something goes wrong during this journey and we end up in Ancient Egypt which is the first world that we'll encounter in PvZ 2.


For the time being there are 3 different worlds in Plants vs Zombies 2. The fourth world is currently under development. 1st world is Ancient Egypt, 2nd world is Pirate Seas, 3rd world is Wild West. The 4th world that is currently shadowed in the game will be called Far Future. (In the screenshot you can see stars, it was the currency in the earlier stages of the game to unlock new worlds; however, these stars are removed from the game after a major update.)

Unlike the original game, PvZ 2 is integrated on a free-to-play format with in-app-purchases. But don't worry, you really DON'T have to buy ANYTHING in order to finish the game. A lot of people keep complaining about these in-app-purchases, well they need to get over it and actually play the game. Don't expect to finish the game in one sitting! And do not expect to pass certain levels in your first try. Some of the levels are very challenging and you will have to try out a lot of different strategies to see which one works best.

Premium Plants

Like in PvZ, you can't have all the plants available from the start of the game. As you progress you will start to unlock new plants such as Twin Sunflower or Watermelon. However there are also premium plants in the game. These plants can only be bought with your hard-earned real life money. These premium plants that can't be unlocked in the game are: Imitater, Torchwood, Snow Pea, Jalapeno, Squash and Power Lily.  It is very sad that Imitator and Torchwood are premium plants as especially Imitator was my favourite plant in the original game. And as you can imagine these plants could really make a big impact and actually make progressing much easier. So I think it was a good decision to keep these plants as premium because it makes the game a whole lot more challenging. I would like to believe that any real fan of this game would want it to challenge the mind so they might come to appreciate this decision.


Currency

Speaking of purchases there is currently only one currency in the game, gold coins. With gold you can buy power ups among other things that keep changing. For example after an update you needed to purchase lawnmowers for each level if you lost them and you also needed to pay if you wanted to retry a level but they changed them back after they received a lot of criticism from the users. But PopCap is still trying to find ways to get people to make in-app-purchases to buy gold. For example right now you can buy an extra card slot with gold in survival mode that I will be talking about in the next paragraph. And who knows maybe they will remove that or add something else, there are no guarantees. However there are things you can not buy with gold and these are premium plants or keys that are needed to unlock new worlds. There were more currencies in the game before such as keys for doors (yea the game had doors back then) or stars but I will avoid them as they were removed after an update.

Survival Mode

Survival Mode in PvZ 2 is very different from the one we had in the original game. First of all we are not exactly free to choose whatever plant we want. There are cards containing plants presented to us after each wave that we manage to clear. And I found the difficulty is not linear like in the original game. In the original game the waves became more difficult as you progressed but in PvZ 2 you might even get a very tough wave early on and get defeated in the 3rd or 4th wave or get something fairly easy after managing to clear up a very tough wave. It's highly possible. Not being able to see the types of zombies you will be facing for that wave, which was something we could do in the original game, certainly affects your progression as well. I believe the survival mode in the first game was much more puzzling as the system in the second game, according to me, is based on not purely but mostly luck. For example in Ancient Egypt survival mode if you do not get a Grave Buster card by some "miracle" after 3-4 waves you will have a very tough time as almost all of the available planting slots will be taken up by graves. And I don't consider myself to be a very lucky person. There was a time when I easily reached 10th wave and then I could barely finish the 1st one because I was forced to face some Gargantuars... Gargantuars in the very first wave when you don't even have strong plants in your card deck, can you imagine something more disappointing in this game???


Mini Games

Just like in PvZ, there are also mini games in PvZ 2. If you ask me which game is better in terms of mini games I would definitely choose the original PvZ as I believe the mini games were much more enjoyable. I particularly like the part where we can play the zombies but unfortunately in PvZ 2 that is not possible. So let's take a look at the mini games in Plants vs Zombies 2. Apart from an endless survival mode in each world, we have two more mini games: Treasure Yeti and Pinata Party.

Yeti was a very rare zombie type in the original game but in the second game, from time to time you will get a warning about a Yeti spawn and you can kill it to receive extra rewards. But you need to be careful because this Yeti will try to flee from battle after receiving a certain amount of damage from your plants. I found that Watermelons are the worst strategy for Yeti because they do the most damage in the game. So Yeti will try to flee earlier than usual as it will be receiving very high damage in a very short time. In my experience there was even a time when I saw the yeti for only two seconds because I had 2 rows of Watermelons and it fled immediately after I landed two watermelons on it which of course weren't enough to get a kill. So I failed. But you can plant something cheap in front of the Yeti as it will start eating it so this might give you enough time to kill it off. If you fail to kill it, the Yeti will disappear so you will have to wait for a respawn. But if you succeed in killing the Yeti you will receive a reward box which you can only open after finishing the level. So after killing a Yeti if by some dumb luck you fail the level you will also fail to open the box. Anyway this box contains extra gold coins.

The second mini game is actually my favourite. Pinata Party. You can play these Pinata Party mini games every 74 hours or so. It's a very long wait time I know. In a Pinata Party we have to survive the incoming zombie waves with the plants that will be given to us in a period of time, kind of like the Zomboss encounter at the end of the original PvZ. Some of these Pinata Party mini games are incredibly difficult to beat. You might even have to try them a couple of times before actually completing it. After completion you will be given a chance to whack open 3 pinatas. You can find coins, new costumes for your plants or upgrades in these pinatas. After you complete 3 Pinata Party in a row without missing one, you are guaranteed a new costume for one of your plants.

Upgrades

Speaking of upgrades there are three different upgrades in the game. These upgrades are incredibly powerful and it can guarantee a win if you are faced with the final wave. First one is Power Snow (it replaced Power Pinch in the latest update). With Power Snow you can hold your finger on a zombie to throw snowballs at it. The second one is Power Toss which allows you to swipe on a zombie to toss it back. If you swipe on it twice you will toss the zombie off the screen. Third one is Power Zap with which you can hold your finger on a zombie to electrocute it. As I said these upgrades are incredibly powerful so in order to thoroughly enjoy the game I suggest you not to use them. I never use them because I see them as a devastating advantage which will take away the fun aspect of the game. It just feels like cheating.

Plant Food

One of the major differences from the original game is that in this second version we are presented with a new feature called Plant Food. This is a great way to boost your plants and it acts differently for each plant. For example using it on a Sunflower will give you a good amount of sun power instantly which would allow you to establish a good economy in a shorter time or using it on a Walnut will give it a shield making it twice as sturdy. You can only hold three plant food at a time but with the help of an upgrade that can be unlocked/bought you can hold up to 5 plant foods at the same time. The plant foods that you collect from a previous level will not be available on the next one. The plant foods only persist through survival modes that is if you manage to finish a wave with 4 plant foods in survival mode, in the next wave you will still have use of your 4 plant foods. Plant foods only drop from zombies that have a green glare on them.

One other feature that I love about this game is the chance to be able to fastforward during levels. Let's say that you've established a strong economy and you are simply waiting for zombie waves to spawn. You can use the fastforward button located at the top right side of the screen to adjust the pace of the game. This way you can progress much faster!


Negatives

What I didn't particularly enjoyed in the game is the lack of versatility. The gameplay is the same throughout the 3 worlds that we have so far so I hope this will change in the Far Future world. If you remember in the original game, in each scenario we needed a different strategy; like in the pool we needed to place leaves on the pool to plant seeds or place pots in rooftop scenario. In PvZ 2 there isn't this sort of versatility. It's just the same old same old gameplay. To me this is the biggest disadvantage of this game. Also in the original game we had more types of zombies and plants. Yes we finally got Gargantuar and Zomboss encounters in PvZ 2 via a recent update but it still lacks behind the first game in terms of zombie/plant types. We also don't have a garden to take care of, raise flowers and make money off. And as I already noted before we don't have a mode that lets us play with the zombies like we did in the original game. To me these are significant disadvantages.

Verdict

I believe that Plants vs Zombies 2 It's About Time falls a victim of its own hype as well as the success of the first game. To me PvZ 2 feels like an unfinished beta version whereas the original game feels much more refined and polished overall, except for the graphics of course.  

My rating for Plants vs Zombies 2 It's About Time: 4/5