Week 3 of Battle for Neighborville’s Founder Edition featured fan favourite modes, such as Mixed Mode, a variety of PvP modes and an Ops mode, which is their staple horde mode and the heart of the Plants vs Zombies games. While the Mixed Mode is a lot of fun (though it still suffers from unbalanced characters), the Ops mode has left fans feeling disappointed and I can’t blame them either.
Graveyard/Garden Ops has always been the highlight of the previous Garden Warfare games. Four players are made to fend off a point from the endless hordes of either plants or zombies (depending on the team selected) and every so often a slot machine-like spinner would appear to determine a boss wave.
At the end of the last wave, the players had to make their way to the extraction point and hold out till their ride comes along to pick them up. It was a lot of fun and required a lot of planning and coordination.
However, the mode feels lazy in Battle for Neighborville. Firstly, there are only five rounds opposed to ten from the previous games. The extraction at the end is missing too. There’s no difficulty setting either. The mode feels too easy, short and quite dull. It’s beyond me why they didn’t just copy/paste how it worked in the previous instalments.
The old saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” rings true in this case. At least the slot machine is still there, but even that can’t save this mode. Hopefully, this gets tweaked upon or after final release because from the looks on the game’s Discord, nobody is impressed with it.
Mixed Mode brings in Gnome Bomb and Suburbination (what a word!) and Vanquish Confirmed. Gnome Bomb is my favourite. Each team has three points that they have to protect while a Gnome Bomb (yes, a Gnome Bomb) spawns in the map and players are required to grab it and rush it over to the enemy team’s statues and blow it up.
While a player carries the bomb, they cannot use their abilities and are marked on the map for all to see while the bomb ticks down. Once placed on an enemy team’s statue, that team has a limited time to diffuse the bomb.
This is a fun mode mostly because of its constant back and forth gameplay. It’s an explosive tug of war and watching that timer tick down while carrying the bomb makes the small hairs on my arms stand at attention. That’s the kind of thrill I’m looking for in a game.
Vanquish Confirmed is a spin on the typical deathmatch, where points are gained by picking up orbs dropped by enemy players upon death. This mode suffers from the same issue I raised last week with Team Vanquish; the pacing is really slow.
Battle for Neighborville really shines with objective-based gameplay. Suburbination is basically Conquest from Battlefield. Point A, B and C are spread across the map and teams are required to own one or all three to score points. This mode calls for strategy and really draws the action to specific points on the map.
I really hope the devs figure out how to iron out the kinks with the non-objective based modes and I can’t stress enough how much Ops mode needs a rework. We’ll see what Week Four brings to the table, hopefully it has more ups than downs.