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Review: Star Wars Pinball Tables From Zen Studios (PSN & XBLA)
Anjo and I have been putting in some time on the Star Wars tables recently released by Zen Studios for their pinball games on both PSN and XBLA. Anjo took care of the tables on Zen Pinball 2, the platform for the Playstation 3, while I tested them out on Pinball FX-2 on the Xbox 360. To keep our thoughts making some kind of sense, the review is broken down by platform before we both give our final opinions.
Today I’ve learned that balls can become Jedi. Can you believe that? Amazing, they put a little force here and some force there and voila, more money towards the Star Wars franchise. As if those guys aren’t already insanely rich, but I digress. It takes brilliance to create an audience in every generation since the movies for the first time were seen on the silver screen, where a space adventure captured the world’s imagination and made plastic sword battles cool.
Honestly, I didn’t expect much. I mean how much story can “pushing a ball” around really contain, am I right? Boy was I wrong. The Star Wars pinball expansion contains three boards, each individually unique in its own pinball way. The first one contains the classic original story of Luke, Darth Vader, and Yoda. While gloriously randomly hoping for the best, you trigger to select a story. Yes, there are several actions you can trigger that make this pinball extension oh so pleasurable! One action triggers Darth Vader, who ruins my ball. Evidently the force was not with my ball at that time. I like the concept of creating actual game goals within a pinball game, giving it depth. Stage two brings you the clone wars and the third one, Tatooine with Jabba the Hutt, Boba Fett, and friends.
I have some slight complaints about controls. I know that the trigger buttons (L1 R1) make sense for this type of game but for some reason I kept pressing (x) for right and (L1) for left. It felt more natural that way. I also felt a bit of a delay, a microscopic one that made the game a bit aggravating. At times the controls wouldn’t even respond, and no, I am not blaming poor game skill on a busted controller. I’ve actually tried it with second controller and the issue persisted. I played Co-op with my husband and he noticed the same issue. The music and sound couldn’t be any better and I can definitely see a replay value in this.
Since Anjo has been as kind to intro everything, I’ve just decided to chat a little bit about each table on the XBLA version. Mostly because I quite like the controls and feel that you all will get the gist given my previous reviews of Zen Studios pinball sets.
The Episode V table is a classic take on Star Wars from the movie. I quite enjoyed playing it as it felt like a blast from the past (and the movie). Mostly, I like the layout of this table and the placement of all the higher point scoring areas. For the most part, figuring out how to trigger events and missions was easy. Knowing how to complete them is a little more difficult. However, it’s not so hard to figure out as in my first session on this table I was able to take the top of the friend leader board. That may also be due to the fact that the Episode V table seems to be the least favorite of my friends (why?!).
I’m not as particular to The Clone Wars table because I didn’t really watch the show past the first few episodes. Added to that, the darker colors make it a bit harder for me to pick out the best areas for scoring higher points. However, as I spend more time on the table I have gotten used to the setup and been able to progressively score higher. But still not as high as I scored on the other 2 tables, which of course affects my enjoyment of playing it. I will admit I have a ton of friends getting awesome scores on this table and making mine look bad.
I hate to say, it was love at first play on the Boba Fett table. While the Episode V table is damn awesome, this one definitely takes the cake as my favorite from the Star Wars set. Boba Fett as a character is kick ass all on his own. This table just takes all of that into account. The Sarlac pit is pretty beastly and I love the ability to accept missions from both the Empire and the Hutts. Those missions can allow some crazy high points! First time I took the top of the friends’ leaderboard was thanks to a 30 million bounty collected and turned in. While in other tables I don’t always enjoy the tiered process of the missions, but with Boba Fett as the main character it’s all kinds of fun.
PSN: The graphics are wonderful and the music makes my earwax jitterbug! There is a great replay value and great for single/Co-op play.
XBLA: The tables are fun flashes to different aspects of the Star Wars universe. They aren’t targeted to a specific age group of Star Wars fans which makes it enjoyable for anyone.
PSN: The controls, good god the controls! The setup didn’t come naturally to me, which I have never played pinball on a controller before, and the delay could cost you a ball or two! Even with a Jedi ball, I couldn’t predict it before it happened which cost me a ball!
XBLA: The most I can say is that some of the missions are harder to execute because the ‘how’ wasn’t pointed out well, but it varies from table to table.
Anjo: I expected very little and got more than I could possibly imagine. I think that for a Star Wars fan audience, this is a great little time killer. What would’ve made the game perfect was if you could select a ball-skin. Like Death star ball, Yoda ball etc, you catch my drift?! Much fun with replay value, that’s what I call entertainment for your money!
LadyLuck: Well Anjo pretty much covered it. If you are a Star Wars fan (even more if you’re also a pinball fan), these tables are so fun and completely a blast to play. At 800 MSP, I feel just a few good plays on any of the 3 tables is worth the cost. Granted, I’m a really big Star Wars fan so I’m a bit biased, but it was a blast to play in my first session and I’ve been back to it several times. Well done, Zen Studios!