Here we go again with another suite of Pinball tables for Pinball FX 2. The latest addition is called Zen Classics, which includes a total of four tables including Tesla, Shaman, Eldorado, and V12. Each table offers quite a different experience and if you are a huge fan of the tables you have more than likely played a couple of them on a different platform. As the resident Pinball guy here with Canadian Online Gamers I had quite a bit of time to spend with them and I am able to give you a full-fledged impression.
Gameplay is what Pinball FX 2 is known for when it comes to their Pinball platform the gameplay includes top notch physics incorporating the ability to tilt the table and pin point shots with the flippers. When taken as a whole, the sum of all the gameplay parts ultimately comes together to create a realistic experience that Pinball fans can salivate for.
This “Classics” pack provides four distinct themes that differ not only in experience but vary in difficulties as well. I noticed that it was definitely harder to trigger high scores on some of these tables. Tesla is based on the famous scientist Nikolai Tesla known for his contributions into modern alternating current electricity and the table definitely takes the concept of electricity and incorporates it into the its’ theme. This table feels more suited for beginners as it plays out at a much slower pace than all the others.
The Shaman table on the other hand picks up the pace a bit and has a jungle theme to it reminiscent of the typical villages you would find an archetypal Shaman living in. Having played this table on the 3DS it definitely does play a whole lot better on a bigger screen and does the table more justice. Although not as fast as other tables it definitely offers a bit more challenge.
Next is another table that I was first introduced to on the 3DS called El Dorado, which as you might imagine models itself after the mythical City of Gold in South America. Although this table does play a lot better than its handheld counterpart it is simply not as fun as the other tables in this pack. The pacing of the table is inconsistent and for some reason or other my ball would always find the direct center between the right and left flippers resulting in a ‘ball-out’ way too often for my liking.
Finally we have the V12 table. Car enthusiasts will recognize the V12 engine as being the inspiration for this pinball table. Chrome is a prominent texture throughout along with some engine parts. Not being a car guy at all, it does appear to be an engine and there is even sports a car babe right in the middle of the table. This table had to be my favourite as it had a good deal of challenge, kept the pace up quite well, and overall I found it to be a lot of fun.
As always Pinball FX2 sports a multiplayer move with turn-based battles or you can go head to head via split screen to see comes out on top. The best part about any table found for Pinball FX 2 is the leaderboards via Xbox LIVE. Here you can see who is truly the best Pinball player on your friends list. There is a strange addiction of wanting to beat your friends and you will spend more then a bit of time perfecting your skills in order to be number one amongst all your online friends who also have this game.
There is no questions about how well the Pinball FX 2 simulator functions as it has mastered the perfect balance between realism and entertainment to create the premier Pinball experience. The graphics seem to fall in place to help the gameplay experience. They are detailed with all of the moving parts, ramps, bumpers, and other unique table functions that each themed table provides. Shaman does a great job of creating a jungle forest theme and El Dorado takes you to the mythical city in South America. V12 is a unique table that incorporates the engine it is named for by having pistons, spark plugs and other engine parts scattered throughout. Finally, we have the Tesla table, which looks quite antiquated compared to other tables purely due to Tesla himself by showcasing a lot of the inventions he created in his lifetime.
Each table has its own set of music and sound that is well matched to the overall gameplay themes specific to each table, especially the pan flute music that really brings to life the Eldorado table. Along with the music the traditional pinball arcade sounds that anchor each table are also fairly prevalent. Without these the game would feel flat and prevent you from fully immersing yourself in the experience. Overall the music and sound effects compliment and truly elevate the visuals and they are important for the ambiance you have come to expect from Pinball FX 2.
Overall, the tables in the Zen Classics DLC for Pinball FX 2 are a nice addition for players looking for something new to play in the game; however, I have to be honest and say that these tables are not the cream of the crop and fans may even see some of them falling short in an area or two. The highlights are definitely awarded to Shaman and V12 tables in my opinion, but overall you can’t go wrong as the value price of only 800 Microsoft Points is really fair given you get four of new tables which brings even more gameplay for pinball fans out there.