I want to first say that, as much as I love this much needed addition to the Pinball genius of Pinball FX2, and as stand-alone content, I was still somewhat disappointed and disillusioned by this particular endeavor. With only three (magnificence aside) new pinball tables, and sparse themes, great as they are to see, Star Wars Pinball left me feeling a disturbance in the force quite rightly. It’s not that the game content wasn’t excellent or not enjoyable, or not even that I wasn’t fond of it- it’s simply a matter of not adding enough, as many fans often complain about. I commend Zen studios for toying around with such a longstanding saga and epic series, but as of now, it’s just that- toying around with Star Wars. Now, if future tables were to be released, and more content added as they have hinted on and off…then I might rethink my opinion on the matter of scoring, but as of right now, I think this little tri-pack is a bit on the slim side. But, discontent aside, allow me to begin my base review (which will be a lot shorter than normal, in all likelihood) for you guys.
The tables are, of course, as much the stars of this particular show as are the familiar faces of the Star Wars series- being Luke, Vader, Fett, and Yoda in the tables mainly, with some others thrown in. I did enjoy the visual aesthetics and setting for each of the three tables (Boba Fett, Empire Strikes Back, and Clone Wars), and their amount of content was quite nice as well- certainly beating out the much loved Windows 95 ‘Space Pinball’ in those terms anyway. Zen’s pinball version of The Empire Strikes Back is one hectic journey, just as the movie portrayed, and also does a great job of conveying that chaotic sense of multitasking and figuring out where to go next- just as Han and Leia and Luke did in the movie. It was by far one of the more enjoyable tables, especially in comparison to the Clone Wars (based upon the animated show, not Episode II) and Boba Fett tables, which I will admit, left a bit to be desired, even though they were great fun to play around with.
Boba’s main gimmick for his self-named and proclaimed table is hunting down and capturing “bounties”, as befits the most renowned bounty hunter of them all. These massive amounts of payment are definitely worth the trouble, and the “side mission/content” on this table is especially promising as well, making it still quite a promising find, even if it ranks a bit lower among the Star Wars tables now available here. The Clone Wars table is by far the easiest to abuse, which I am hardly apt to complain about, and has virtually an unlimited amount of potential scoring and action to boot. While I’ll admit the animated cartoons have had me…discontented because of limiting the Star Wars narrative to a certain appeal to a certain fanbase, and basically being completely nonsensical about everything in the saga (Anakin as a Master with a Padawan?!?!?!), I did quite enjoy playing through this table, and would rank it second on the list here after Boba Fett’s.It definitely had the most diversity in the pack, and probably even in the whole of the Pinball FX2 plethora of available content as well, which makes it a destination board in my book.
My biggest complaint is the lack of continuity within the tables, although it is perfectly understandable to me, personally- being a developer of sorts myself as well. I know that they most likely picked these three themes for the first additional content because they were the three most popular choices- one a movie, one from the current television series that is mostly a hit, and one from the most infamous face in the galaxy, aside from Skywalker Jr. and Vader. So, I know popularity probably had a big say in matters, and I certainly can’t begrudge Zen the money for their troubles when they created some excellent pinball wizardry. However, it would’ve been nice (and still would be in the future) to see the entire original trilogy played out in board formation, instead of The Empire Strikes Back being the only one of three to make the appearance. I mean, come on! They picked three settings and didn’t automatically make that connection?! And you call yourself a Star Wars fan! But, jests aside, they could’ve included Boba/Sarlaac in their Return of the Jedi board, and Yoda in just about any of them. I imagine they might even want to include the newest trilogy in additional Star Wars Pinball content packs, and even personalized character ones for the likes of Fett, Skywalker, Solo, etc. if they really wanted to… Those are just my two cents there.
Star Wars fan/fanatic or not, any good and respectable gamer and pinballing connoisseur should enjoy and maybe even love these three fresh tables. From the bits of that classic musical themesong, the crazy fun of both collecting bounties with Boba and training and generally abusing Clones in the Clone Wars, there’s a bit of magic for all of us in this particular game. It’s the addictive playing that counts as well. Sure it’s a little bit unrealistic and far-fetched for a real-life pinball table, but after all, this is the galaxy far, far away that we’re talking about…. The DLC versus the stand-alone pack offers only one slight difference in mechanics: the lack of a custom ranking procedure and so-called “Balance of the Force”. Otherwise, these two shape up in comparison quite nicely and provides even more entertainment for the game and players.
Concept: Create interesting and intriguing table design for a Star Wars themed pinball universe. Every kid’s dream since the discovery of a galaxy far, far away.
Graphics: It’s a visual recreation and nostalgic trip, and looks just like those remastered editions.
Sound: It’s the quips from the characters and the extensive work with the established themes that really nail the Star Wars vibe.
Playability: The controls work the same as day one.
Entertainment: An excellent sell, and certainly worthwhile addition to the already vast amount of content available to players.
Replay Value: Moderate.
Overall Score: 8.0