The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Studios has released its first DLC pack based on the Star Wars universe,
containing three tables that run the gamut of visual themes and play styles. If
these new tables are an indication of the quality we can expect from the rest
of the series, then pinball fans have a happy year ahead.
Pinball FX's DLC packs usually end up containing at
least one table I don't like, largely due to personal tastes in table design.
With Star Wars Pinball, I find myself liking all three tables for completely different
reasons. The Empire Strikes Back retells the events of the movie in an
entertaining way and contains the most side missions, hurry-up modes, and
multiballs - at any given time you're working towards a handful of different
goals, making it one of the most replayable tables Zen has released yet. Boba
Fett, on the other hand, is mainly focused on a gameplay loop of activating, completing,
and turning in bounties. While I found the table's other side missions less
compelling, the massive payouts for turning in intergalactic criminals had me constantly
looking forward to the next bounty. Clone Wars is (perhaps unsurprisingly,
given its source material) the most accessible of the three tables, and
features constant action thanks to its numerous ramps, none of which are
particularly hard to shoot. I've never been particularly interested in the
animated series, but it contains a few of my favorite modes from the pack,
including a clone training mode that features two distinct mini-playfields,
making it another welcome addition to my rotation.
All three tables are also loaded with Star Wars
details, from the voice clips and dot matrix reenactments of movie scenes in
The Empire Strikes Back to the CG-inspired characters of Clone Wars voiced by
the actors of the show. I can't help but feel a twinge of nostalgia every time
Yoda offers some cryptic advice, or when a favorite bit of Star Wars music pops
up to introduce a new mode.
You don't need to be a Star Wars fan to recognize
the creativity Zen has brought to the new tables. The company continues to include
more fantasy elements in its designs (though nothing as crazy as the
table-flipping antics of Infinity Gauntlet), which may turn off old-school
pinball fans, but I enjoy launching pinballs at Darth Vader and locking balls
into a floating Slave I, even if such antics would be impossible on a real
While Zen Studios continues to hone its table
design, Star Wars Pinball is presented to players within the aging structure of
Pinball FX 2, providing no new improvements or surprises in terms of table
guides, social features, or tournaments. It also lacks the Balance of the Force
and custom ranking features of the standalone Star Wars Pinball. Having the
tables accessible within my main table library is worth it, but I wish it
wasn't an either/or proposition, and I yearn to see what new features a
full-fledged Pinball FX sequel might have. In the meantime, Star Wars Pinball
provides players three more entertaining tables well worth a spot in their
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.