Pinball FX 2/Marvel Tables Review

Pinball FX was released for XBLA in April 2007.  The game was very well received. But Zen Studios not wanted to rest on their laurels took it upon themselves to create not only a sequel the the original game but a platform as well. Pinball FX 2 not only updates the original tables(DLC too) and their physics but it also includes a table for free.  Might I add that Pinball FX 2 is a free download and Zen Studios will be releasing “DLC” as stand alone demo enabled tables.

For those not overly familiar with Pinball FX, you’re in good company.  I too was very unfamiliar with the original but I purchased most, if not all, of the DLC to prepare for the sequel.  Having only a week or two to play the first game and not being very good at it I can say confidently that the “old” tables do play significantly better in PBFX2.  The visuals appear sharper, crisper and the overall game play feels smoother. Not only are the visuals up to par but the sound effects as well. The audio notifications of the story elements each table is trying to tell come through quite well and really make the tables that much more engaging. PBFX2 contains an excellent single player representation of video pinball but also has local split screen and online play. If you are a pinball purist this may not be  your cup of tea however the ability to try tables out may give you a change of heart.

The overall objective of pinball, of course, is to play as long as possible while racking up points.  If the competition with yourself is not sufficient then perhaps being reminded of the scores your friends have attained will keep you flippin’.  I must admit that several people on my friends list have scores that only depressed me when the game would encourage me to gain the 15-17 million points I’d need to beat them.  Not only are you scored on individual tables but Zen has included some meta-scoring that branches out into every table you’ve played. The tables have visual queues, sound effects and voice overs that attempt to tell you a story and provide hints to the player about how to progress. Being somewhat of a pinball noob I appreciated the help. When starting a new table and it takes me longer than I’d like to admit to effectively learn a good portion if its secrets. Therein lies the fun.

Marvel Tables

Zen studios announced and quickly released a four table DLC pack for the 360 and a standalone game for PSN. These tables feature Wolverine, Blade, Spider-man and Iron Man. Despite not wanting to appear shallow, I must admit that I was instantly more engaged in these four tables because of the characters. The same could be said of the Street Fighter table. Rocky and Bullwinkle, not so much. Voice over miscasts are the only detractor in this new content. Wolverine’s voice comes to mind as the greatest offender. Nevertheless these are great tables and well worth the $10 or 800 MS points.

Ups

-platform implementation is great and consumer friendly

-plenty of outstanding tables to choose from, ex: SF, Earth Defense, Agents etc

-meta-score and individual table scores create great competition with friends who also play

-the Marvel tables are especially enjoyable due to inclusion of iconic characters

Downs

-I can’t quite get the hang of the tilt

-Some of the voice overs for the Marvel tables are a bit off

-having pinball savants on your friends list can be discouraging,  as you are encouraged to beat their scores, which can be distracting and often humbling

Bottom Line

Download PBFX2, try out some table demos, buy as many as possible, if not all of them. I highly recommend buying the Marvel tables.

Full Disclosure

– I did not play the online or split screen multiplayer

– GameEnthus.com received this game from Zen Studios