986893_largerWith Plants vs. Zombies 2 [Free] finally launching worldwide this week, it's been very interesting to see the different reactions to it from eager gamers who were waiting to play the sequel to an all-time classic. With EA buying PopCap a couple of years ago, and the revelation that Plants vs. Zombies 2 would be a free-to-play title, many people were worried that one of their favorite games would be ruined with a stingy and restrictive pay model.

Well, it seems that all the worry was for naught as Plants vs. Zombies 2 is actually one of the most generous free-to-play games I've ever encountered. This was a major point that we highlighted in our review, but many of our forum members have been chiming in with their thoughts regarding Plants vs. Zombies 2 ever since its soft-launch early last month.

Here's a sampling of some of the impressions from players in our forums:

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User Appletini states:

I've finished all of the main story levels currently available in the game (the next world is "coming soon"), have almost all of the stars from the first world, several stars from the other worlds, and haven't spent a cent of real money so far. The six IAP plants haven't turned up anywhere else in the game, but there are 26 other free plants to choose from, and these are more than enough to work with.

...and continues:

Keys drop randomly from zombies (like the blue gems), so there's no real strategy to farming them. Your best bet is just to go back and work towards earning the three stars for every stage once you reach the end-of-world portal, and take the keys as they come. You can easily finish the game without unlocking every gate, but if you want to open them you'll gain keys fairly consistently while playing each level three times in order earn the stars.

Each key type belongs to the world it is found in, though, so you can't collect them in one world and use them in another.

screen1024x1024Here are some thoughts from New England Gamer:

The game has been very good to me so far. I am finding keys and earning stars so I can progress just fine. Sure there is unlock for the next levels and worlds but if you actually PLAY the game instead of PAY it you can unlock it all. So far the only thing for real money that is not unlock able are some plants - and that is a tangible, not consumable so when the time comes I will certainly pay for my favorite.

Great game - definitely happy with the download and so far the model is not an in your face IAP model but a well thought out one so the developers can actually earn some money for their work.

Jake7905 seems to like it at first blush:

I've got to say that I'm surprised by this one, I was expecting more free-to-play junk by EA, but this definitely feels like a PopCap game. The IAP is completely optional, I'm even considering buying the Snow Pea as a 'thank you' and because I want it. But the point is, I don't need it. Nice job on the the freemium elements, though a premium release would still have been my preference.

...and even more so the more he plays:

The more I play, the more impressed I am by the thought that went into the free-to-play design of PvZ2. I am not a fan of FTP games, which are usually nothing more then a poorly disguised cash grab.

This is not that kind of game, there is no paywall. The IAP is purely for skipping ahead (cheating), coins (which you'll earn plenty of in-game, think of the gems in Kingdom Rush), and extra content. This is easily the best 'freemium' game I've tried, it's basically a premium game in disguise.

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So there you have it, our forum community by and large is loving Plants vs. Zombies 2 and, much like we were, are blown away at how unobtrusive the free-to-play model is. There are still tons of impressions and helpful tips, as well as general discussion, taking place in the Plants vs. Zombies 2 forum thread, so be sure to head over and see what else people are saying about the game. And if you have any impressions or tips of your own, don't be shy about sharing them in the comments section below. Of course, if you haven't yet given PvZ 2 a try, definitely take advantage of the free download and give it a spin for yourself, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

  • Xissoric

    I agree, they did an amazing job on this game, definitely recommended.

  • cowtruck123

    Completely agree, although i bought all the plants (couldnt help myself) :)

  • Eseres

    PopCap really delivered with PvZ2. The only IAP thats in this game, is a few plants that you can buy, but don't really need. In fact, i don't see how PopCap intended to earn money on it. So im going to buy and unlock everything, just to support them as a "thank you" for a great game. Hope the will come new plants in the store over time.

  • http://bassoonhero.deviantart.com/ Michael Wootton

    I'm really enjoying it so far, the IAP is indeed unobtrusive and the game is extremely fun and polished. My only complaint is that I wish there was a higher drop-rate for keys, I've three-starred every level in the first world and still barely have any. Besides that though, they've done a really phenomenal job!

    • Jake7905

      Wow, that surprises me, I guess the key drops really are random. I unlocked all the gates in the first world with 2 keys to spare, and I've only earned 17 stars in the 1st world. I've been finding keys quite often, or at least often enough to keep pace with my progress.

      • http://bassoonhero.deviantart.com/ Michael Wootton

        Seriously, I guess so! Hopefully I just get a little luckier in finding them as I progress, sounds like not many others are having this issue of mine (which is good).

    • operaguy2112

      That's strange because I have acquired way more keys than I can use in the first world.

      • http://bassoonhero.deviantart.com/ Michael Wootton

        I just checked my file, I've gotten a total of 6 :| Apparently I have incredibly bad luck. Glad to hear it's not happening to everyone though, just, wish I could find some damn keys in my game... :

      • operaguy2112

        I would give them to you if I could. I've unlocked everything on that map and have a dozen or so left over. Too bad I can't use them on other maps.

    • rewyan

      The first world seems to drop the most keys from experience. I think I have 15 spare keys that I have nothing to do with. Anyway, it's completely random.

      A good way to obtain keys is through the endless mode (pyramid of doom, etc). A lot seem to drop from that.

      I hope there's a way to sell keys for coins in the future, or maybe even new plants and upgrades. We need something to do with spare keys.

    • http://www.wrestlenewz.com/wrestling Thatoneperson

      I like it too, not sure why everyone is complaining about the IAP, they're completely optional and the game makes you work hard to move on. But on the downside, I play on a ipod touch 4g and there seems to be no retina display, the game is very "blurry" so to speak. Hopefully they fix it.

  • operaguy2112

    The game is great, and the f2p model is not a problem, however I don't know how I feel about the ability to buy power ups and plant food throughout a level. It feels like a cheat but there are some stars that are impossible without using some powerups. Like the challenges that you can't spend any sun for 90 seconds. It feels like if you grind up enough coins or buy them, you can guarantee a victory on every level. Other than that though I'm really digging it!

    • RelientKSoCal

      The fact that the power ups and plant food are bought with in-game currency, not real money, is much appreciated by me, personally. It would have been VERY easy to charge real money for these also, so it's nice that they didn't.

      • operaguy2112

        I agree. Like I said the IAP is not a problem at all. But there's a difference between choosing your resources and using them effectively to beat a level and have a pool of resources you can grab whenever you get in trouble as long as you have coins. I just wish the challenges were designed so that every star can be obtained without using any powerups, but there are some that are just not possible.

  • bigjack66

    I don't get it I've played this game n it's boring a better free to play game was alien zone which has fantastic graphics and gameplay and you seem to have missed it. It's still there but they're charging for it now. Still worth it tho.

    • Jake7905

      Alien Zone? I saw that one, but I sure don't miss it.

    • mike

      can you post a link to alien zone's review please?

  • inteliboy

    It amazes me how IAP is such a huge issue to this community, considering how most games are either free or a couple of bucks. How about posting impressions about the actual gameplay, or the music, or the artwork, animation etc? You know, the actual game.

    • nini

      They want pricier upfront charges for games, following examples like XCOM. I think that locks us back into the stupidly overpriced game pricing structure of old but there you go, it's more honest in their view.

      As for a game, they've been burnt a ridiculous amount of times on visual goodness but finding a uninteresting game under it so these guys are gameplay (which I think means "ball-busting difficulty level, higher being better") first, audio and visuals later. As for IAPs, I too thought they were the worst aspect of gaming to exist but then I came here, thought "I sound like that??" and noticed it's not an absolute, zero sum, there can be only none type of thing.

      • HatfulOfHollow

        They can't be burnt by something that's free, and most of the time it's F2P games they bang on about. If I find a game that's reasonably enjoyable but with obtrusive IAPs, the latest example being Smash Bandits, I delete it and move on.

        I don't incessantly harp on about the evils of IAPs. By and large IAPs are a bad thing, this is entirely obvious to everyone. Nor do I leave absolutely pointless comments like "Oh it has IAPs? Then I won't even bother downloading it." Of course I'm guilty of shooting vitriolic comments at that crowd, but reading the same mindless, uninsightful drivel over and over in every comments section is rather annoying.

        There are numerous games like Punch Quest, Jetpack Joyride, Ace Patrol and now PvZ2 which handle IAPs well. By that I mean you can play the thing without spending a penny and have a grand old time, or they use the old shareware model. In fact in the case of PQ I did buy some IAPs because the game is so enjoyable it would be criminal of me if I didn't throw the devs a coin or two.

        tl;dr There won't be an anti-IAP revolution because the revolution is already here, and it's IAPs. Be less extreme, more discerning and continue with your life.

  • the fish

    I just started playing it. Level 8 and protecting the three sunflowers right now. It's great, more challenging I think than the first one. I like it!

    • mike

      my sentiments exactly

  • zekz

    Awesome highlighting some great user comments.

  • eventide

    I'm definitely liking it too. Liking it even more than PV1. My extreme apathy for EA aside, they nailed the F2P aspect quite nicely.

  • Flare_TM

    This game is too easy, want the winning tac?

    Place double
    sunflower, place mine for 1st zombie, place 2nd double sunflower, place
    2nd mine for 2nd zombie, use the freeze plant to delay zombies while
    your 2 double sunflowers rack up loads of sun, use the corn/butter
    throwing plant to slow zombies...unbeatable, but boring.

    Admittedly
    the only way to keep the game fresh for me is to intentionally not use
    this tactic and try other plants out even though there's more chance of
    losing it makes it more fun and engaging.

    Albeit the additional
    challenge from some of the extra star levels do add some depth like
    limiting sun and not planting on specific areas but for all the stock
    levels the above tactic wins out all the time.

    • mike

      is this true? can anyone verify?

  • Museic_lver

    At the risk of getting torn down by my ignorance, could someone please tell me why this game doesn't have retina support for a fourth gen iPod? It was my understanding that my iPod was retina display but whenever I install it I get fuzzy graphics and it's so offputting.. :/

    • bluspacecow

      IIRC correctly there's a service pack you download with better graphics. Should download when you log in. Try going into the cogwheel on the right hand side before you login , download preferences , them try toggling use cellular data

  • RottenRedRod

    My only issue is the prices on the IAP are CRAZY. I wouldn't mind dropping a few bucks on plants and upgrades if they were $1 each, but $3-5 apiece? No thanks. Good thing they aren't required at all.

    • Katherine Kroll

      I feel kind of jipped. I got all the stars without the extra plants so I threw a couple of bucks their way in appreciation for a challenging game if you chose not to use any of the extra buttons or store bought plants, and there's no true ending. Coins are practically worthless in game, there's no extra mini games no zen garden no end boss which annoys me I collected all stars I was excited to go grab my taco....and now I can't? Wtf?!?! Ok fine il go try the endless challenge mode card style game o wait people already hacked the leaderboards and have streaks of 9 million plus. Good lord they must be gods to get 9 million in less than 2 weeks /sarcasm. Wish popcap would actually do something to act like they care that people are blatentlt cheating.