Trendspotting – 2014 Games Where We Picked Plants
Picking plants in video games wasn't invented in 2014, but the practice suddenly become very popular last year.
On multiple occasions I found myself pausing in the middle of otherwise violent video games to stop and smell the roses, and then literally rip them from the dirt and stuff them into my pocket. These are a few of the plant picking simulators that stood out to me last year.
Far Cry 4
Like I stated before, last year was not the first time I found myself pulling flowers and weeds out of the ground in a video game. Far Cry 3 had you picking plants and using them to craft an assortment of syringes, and that moved forward for Far Cry 4. In the context of Far Cry, however, picking plants is odd. You have a gun in your hand, you're often outrunning bears and rhinoceros in the wild, but stopping to grab some plants is all part of the game. On many occasions, I would pause guarded behind cover as bullets flew overhead and pick a plant while I waited for my enemies to reload.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
Much like Far Cry 4, Shadow of Mordor is straight action game with a focus on violently beheading and dismembering an army of Orcs, but somehow and for some reason, picking plants was implemented into the game. Neither Talion and Celebrimbor struck me as green thumbs, and their mission was an important one that required timely actions, but it didn't matter. When you saw that plant you needed, you stopped, knelt down, and grabbed it. There were many occasions where, while outrunning an army of furious Orcs, I would stop and grab a plant as long as I had a decent lead.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Because Dragon Age exists in the RPG genre (though it has plenty of action), pausing to pick plants seems slightly more appropriate. It felt very similar to the way I picked plants in Shaodow of Mordor, however, perhaps thanks to both taking place in a fantasy setting. Picking plants was important for crafting herbs in Dragon Age: Inquitision, and there's an indefinable joy in walking over to one, seeing an icon appear on screen calling out what plant it is, realizing you need it, and claiming it as your own.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
To be fair, Toad has been picking plants since his playable debut in 1987 with Super Mario Bros. 2, but I couldn't help but notice after playing the three games above that here I was again picking plants. Toad doesn't need them for herb or syringe manufacture like the games above. Instead, he needs them to throw at enemies or for puzzle solving purposes. Unlike Ajay, Talion, and the Inquisitor, Toad has no need to hold onto his plants for extended periods of time – he wants to get rid of them as soon as he picks them up.
Special mention – Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
You don't pick plants in Garden Warfare, but it's worth mentioning because it involves plants, is placed in the middle of an action game, and came out last year.