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Customer Review

57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what you get, July 27, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Plants vs. Zombies [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
The game itself is a lot of fun. The designers have a great sense of humor and are very creative. I played it for the first time online at POPcap's site and loved it right away. So I came to Amazon's Games and Software so I can avoid the hassle of trying to install the same game on other computers on my home network and being denied--their system usually makes downloading and installing casual games on a PC fast and easy.

However, one of the pitfalls of this system for casual gamers like me is that you may get more than you bargained for if you don't pay good attention or aren't familiar with other forms of gaming. In this case you are getting a games system client or games manager (similar to BigFish or iWin, etc.) which must be installed along with the game before you can play the game, which isn't immediately apparent in the game's description. In fact, you do not download the game at all thru this link (for PC version) at Amazon. You are downloading something called Origin--which is what EA now calls its games client. After waiting for hours for the thing to download (I didn't think to check the size of the download--1.28 GB!!!--since other games I'd ordered were very fast) on a DSL connection, I had to then register a new account with Origin, which involved agreeing to more than one EULA, picking an avatar, deciding on privacy and social gaming settings, etc. Fine, I thought, get all that done and I can start playing the game. But no, I was told I had no games at Origin and had to enter the license key from the Amazon downloader to search for the game I just bought. Then, when it found out I had bought a game is when the actual download and install of the game took place, which took almost another hour (and more EULA's), before I was able to play.

When I searched for this game on Amazon, the first result was, apparently, the standalone version from POPcap games, but it was not available for download immediately as of late July of 2012--one is asked to sign up to be notified when it is available. I wish now that I had waited for this version. If you have a PlayStation or Xbox, etc., and are heavily into gaming, you probably already know about all this--and I'm sure the gaming client has its advantages, but if you are just a casual PC gamer like me that just wants to play on a real computer when taking a break from more mundane tasks, you might want to wait for the version directly from POPcap to arrive.

UPDATE 10/23/12:
According to a blog at PopCap Games, they have partnered with Origin now, so it seems unlikely that you will ever be able to get the simple stand alone version. There are other things irritating about the Origin system once you get it installed, but I want to say at this point that all the effort to get this games is worth it as I absolutely love this game. If it weren't for the Origin system it would easily get five stars from me. It's just very irritating to me that I have to log in to play a game installed on my desktop. I just want this for a diversion and have no interest in going online with it--plus it is not clear to me what I can do online with it anyway. Other than the game updating itself, being online seems to be more for Origin's benefit rather than mine or yours. Plus when you play this on a home network, if someone else is playing on another computer it makes you think you can't play. Just put it in offline mode when this happens and you'll be good to go.

Another reviewer has recommended buying at a brick and mortar store if you want to avoid the hassles I mentioned, but, with Popcap aligned with Origin now, that would just avoid the long amount of time it takes to download everything. You'll still have to deal with creating an Origin account and all that goes with that, altho I expect there are plenty of copies of this on the shelves pre-merger.

Now, for a review of the game itself, my opinion is it's one of the all time best casual games ever made. PopCap's lineup has always been high quality, but they have outdone themselves with this one. If you like strategy and humorous creativity, this game is for you. I won't go into the premise of the game as it has been covered pretty well already on this page.

One criticism that holds some weight is that there could be more difficulty and maybe that will happen in second version. The difficulty doesn't ramp up after the second time you play thru Adventure mode and then collect enough money to buy all ten slots--at least not in any obvious way. I think there are some changes in algorithm that makes levels harder the more you play. But anyway, the criticism is only valid for Adventure mode. There are plenty of Minigames and achievements to shoot for. I read somewhere this game was designed for children, and I can see that--besides its cartoonish nature, it is a good game for teaching children to set and achieve goals. The Achievements page of the game makes this easy and is also pretty funny while being self-promotional for PopCap at the same time (keep scrolling down til you get to China zombies).

I tend to stick to Adventure mode in games like these, with maybe some exploration into minigames, if available. If I had done that with this game I would have missed out on a full and rich experience. For example, I couldn't see much purpose in the Zen Garden--til I figured out it was the best way to make enough money to buy the 10 slots. Then when I got those, tending to the garden appealed to my farmer/horticulturist side. When you get your Zen Garden pretty full, you will never want for money. Unfortunately the game won't let you become a millionaire--the money counter stops at $999,990.

In like manner you may not think the Tree of Wisdom is worth the trouble and it's fertilizer is too expensive, but once you have plenty of money you'll find it helpful--and funny. There are some Easter eggs you wouldn't normally know about without the Tree of Wisdom.

My favorite, and what I find myself playing most of all now is I, Zombie Endless in Puzzle mode. You can learn a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of each type of zombie thru experience in this minigame. Plus there are enough variables to it that it is always interesting and I have slowly but surely progressed in the number of levels achieved.

All in all I'm very satisfied with this game--I just wish the installation of it were much simpler.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 21, 2012 12:10:09 AM PDT
Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with this product. I readed your review right after buying it. Then I activated the key on my Origin client, which was already installed from a previous purchase.

I just wanted to say thanks, since your review let me pass through any problem and install the game easily.

Posted on Oct 21, 2012 11:25:55 AM PDT
A. Funk says:
When you were prompted to enter the license key, what did you type in? I'm totally lost at this step. If I would have known this would be such a nightmare, I would not have bought it!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 21, 2012 1:01:26 PM PDT
Under the "Your account" menue, there is an option called "Your Games & Software Library". Inside of this section, you can find all the license keys (which are alphanumeric codes) for your purchases.

You need to enter the Plants vs. Zombies code when you're promped to.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 22, 2012 8:54:09 AM PDT
Papakid says:
As Britez Lucas C has noted, your activation code is in your Amazon Games & Software Library. If you have allowed the Amazon Games and Software Downloader to reside in your system tray (bottom right on your computer screen next to the clock) the quickest way I've found to get to the Library is to right click the downloader icon and choose the Library option. It will go straight to the sign in page (if you are not already logged in to Amazon) and from there straight to the library, which is a summary of all the games and software you have purchased from Amazon. That's where you'll find your activation key for Plants vs. Zombies

If you are at that point, you have jumped thru most of the hoops now so you're almost there. If this is the first time you have used Amazon for downloading a game I can understand why you consider it all a nightmare. Other games aren't as complicated as PvZ and once you get the Amazon system set up it makes buying and installing games much easier in the future. The Origin System makes things more complicated than it needs to be--I like to keep things as simple as possible. Not only is the install complicated, but once you have it set up, you still have to keep logged in to the system, it updates itself and won't let you play until that's done and, if you're on a home network, complains when someone else is playing the game and tries to make you think you can't play--until you look closer at your options. I would much rather have a simple stand alone game that is easy to install and easy to start, but, unfortunately, PopCap Games, who makes PvZ, has partnered with Origin, so you are going to have to deal with that headache if you want to play this game. But I will say this--all the hassle is worth it. If you like strategy and are tired of match three and hidden object games, you won't find much better out there. It's one of the best casual games ever made.

Posted on Dec 22, 2012 8:38:21 AM PST
Another way to get this game is through Steam. Much easier to set up and much less hassle. Plus, I've seen it on sale around Thanksgiving or Christmas for as little as $2.50.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 1:45:13 PM PST
MacJunegrand says:
I agree with Joshua. If you get the Steam version of the game, you won't need to install Origin. And if you don't have Steam, it's still far less of a hassle to download, takes much less HD space, you don't need to be online to play the game and unlike Origin, Steam is not spyware.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2013 8:10:53 AM PDT
Sally Foster says:
Thanks Joshua and MacJunegrand for posting this information about Stream. Origin sounds like a pain, good to know there's a workaround.
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