We have a trio of tables from Pinball FX 2 / Zen Pinball for you as Steve gives you a quick run down on which of these is worth your time.
Star Wars Rebels
When all is said and done, pinball is pinball. Ramps, bumpers, ball locks, flippers, being completely unable to judge where the hell you’re supposed to hit the bloody ball because you have all the hand-eye co-ordination of a meth addict with a head injury, all that good stuff. What Zen do with their seemingly endless stream of downloadable tables is try and make them thematically interesting. I mean, chances are you’re going to buy them all anyway, because why wouldn’t you when each is less than the price of a coffee, but not all themes necessarily appeal to all people.
This is the case with the Star Wars Rebels table. After rinsing the living hell out of every other aspect of the Star Wars franchise for table inspiration, it’s no surprise that Rebels got the treatment as well. The table itself is fine, if a little uninspired, but not being familiar with the source cartoon (and thusly not giving a rats bollock about it) most of the character references, voices and mode themes are lost on me. It’s probably aimed at younger gamers, although I’m not sure how many kids play pinball. Also, as a table taken on it’s own merits it’s just not interesting enough to recommend. It’s all a bit too simple and bland, especially when you could be playing the excellent Empire Strikes Back table.
Avengers: Age Of Ultron
The second of the trio of tables reviewed today is the Avengers Age of Ultron table, which suffers from pretty much the opposite problems that Rebels had. It’s needlessly complex in its requirements for Wizard Mode, the table art is really busy and makes it difficult to see what’s going and generally has too much extra gubbins that seem to be tacked on for the sake of it.
Take the choice of difficulty level at the beginning of the game, for example. It changes the score and time available in modes and the pitch of the table, but it just seems to serve no real purpose other than to make it unnecessarily convoluted.
Also, as bizarre as this may sound, it takes itself far too seriously. It’s a pinball table, for God’s sake, but the way the incidental dialogue is delivered (by a mix of credible and completely awful soundalikes) you’d think they were in some broadway drama or something. As such, it’s just no fun. Zen are capable of very entertaining tables, and Marvel has no end of licenses to pillage (as has been seen already with the multitude of licensed tables already available) so it’s just disappointing.
The final table is a bit off an odd one. When the Portal table was announced most people went “Buh? Wah?” and then put their tin foil hats on and tried to extrapolate some way of it meaning Half-Life 3 was about to be announced but I gave a little squee of excitement as more Portal in any form isn’t a bad thing. It’s a simple table, probably more simple than Rebels is, but it has the bonus of being fun to play. I know I keep prattling on about fun but why the hell would you play video games if they weren’t fun?
One thing I like about the table is that it’s a high scorer. It’s easy to trigger the (thematically wonderful) modes and rack up some decent scores from them and there aren’t too many of them that lead up to Wizard Mode. The table is relatively clutter free, has some lovely set dressing and uses samples from Portal 2 as its dialogue. As it should be. Getting a soundalike to do GlaDOS would be easy given the post processing on Ellen McLain’s voice, but also a borderline heretical notion.
Out of the 3 Portal feels most fun, simply because it isn’t over blown and it isn’t boring. Being rewarded with a decent high score despite being a cack handed chimp is always going to get a thumbs up from me, so if the Portal theme doesn’t float your boat then you might as well give this table a miss too. Saying that, if you don’t get on with Portal we can’t be friends anyway.