Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within (Xbox 360) Review – The Force is VERY Strong Here Young Padawan

Being a huge Pinball FX2 fan I am always happy to give some new tables a spin, especially the Star Wars Pinball tables that have been released lately as they combine two things I hold quite close. I remember being 9 years old looking at shelves full of VHS tapes at my “Grammy’s” and asking her what Star Wars was, and after watching the first video my brothers and I were hooked. Over 20 years later I am still a fan and I am eagerly anticipating the next chapter in the saga, hoping it isn’t horrible and that it is the Star Wars we love. However, we’re here to talk about the new pinball tables in the Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within pack. Han Solo, Droids, Episode IV: A New Hope and Masters of the Force are the four new ones and they cover an array of heroes and villains within the Star Wars universe.

We could go on and on about the pinball mechanics and how amazing they are in Pinball FX2, but the franchise has been out for 3 ½ years and if you want to read about how awesome this pinball engine is you can read one of the many reviews that I’ve done on the series by clicking HERE. Those who want to know if you should be picking up Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within and why the simple answer is a huge YES! Because how can you go wrong with Star Wars? I wish reviews were this easy but let me tell you about the tables and how they are must have for pinball fans.

I gravitated to the Han Solo table immediately as I am a fan of the character. I instantly saw that this table was the epitome of what everyone has come to love about this boyish rogue. With the familiar music of Mos Eisley Cantina playing in the background the atmosphere is instantly set. The table itself is much like a cantina on Tatoonie where you head in for a good time but things can quickly turn for the worse. The challenge this table provides is quite easy at first as you can keep the ball flowing for quite a long time, but like the smuggler the table is based on, if you want the big score you have got to take some risks and make some hard shots. From moments like the multi-ball portion of the table where you have to hit specific targets to attack Tie Fighters to the need to complete a skill shot where you have to get the ball to fall into the asteroid worm, these are where the risks are and where the big scores come into play.

What I especially enjoyed about the Han Solo table is the little things like Chewbacca working with the welder to repair a portion of a table or Han sitting in his Captain’s chair where he reaches his arm over his head to relax.  There are some great quotes Han is known for too that are said throughout gameplay like, “Never tell me the odds” or “No Mystical Force Controls My Destiny “ that make the table quite enjoyable and fun to play. Fans will really appreciate this table for sure.

Episode IV: A New Hope is another enjoyable, if not difficult table that features quite a few memorable moments from the movie with Tatooine and the Death Star being prominently featured. Obi-Wan, R2D2, C3P0, and of course Luke Skywalker are the main players here with Luke sitting on the bottom left practicing his Lightsaber skills. This table features a Yavin Mutliball Mode that activates the Death Star to blow up the rebel base. This is a great way to get some points while maintaining the plot of the movies as well. There is also a mode I couldn’t quite activate where you go after R2D2 when he goes off in search of Obi Wan which leads me to my next point.

Episode IV: A New Hope is probably the most frustrating of the tables for me as I couldn’t seem to get anything to work on the table with regularity or even get a decent score. Something felt disjointed and after over trying a dozen times to get things flowing I had to move on to the next table. This is probably something more challenging for advanced players, but is a bit of a letdown for an intermediate player such as myself. Rookies will really feel the pinch too which might not turn out to be as fun for them as it really could be.

The Masters of the Force table makes up quite a bit for the struggle that A New Hope table presented, as it is a Sith vs. Jedi table featuring Darth Sidious, Count Doku and Darth Maul up against Yoda, Obi Wan and Qui-Gon Jin. I thought this table was really well planned out with the left side dedicated to the Sith and the right side dedicated to the Jedi. It features the same objects on each side but in their own theme. For example, on the Sith side we have Darth Sidious’ throne room on top and the opposite side we have Yoda’s hut from Dagobah. Both of these areas of the game open up a mini-pinball table when you get the ball past their respective Holocrons (futuristic encyclopaedias) where you can add some serious points to your total.

While all this is happening there is a meter on the bottom that goes back and forth calculating which side of the force is winning.  As you are playing Yoda and Darth Sidious offer council trying to maintain your way as a Jedi or attempting to convert you to the Dark Side. Although it’s not really prevalent I got the impression that you’re playing this table as Luke Skywalker as he goes through his journey to becoming a Jedi Master. Of the Heroes Within pack this was my second favourite; even though not overly complicated the design was pure genius and the gameplay was packed full of fun.

Finally, there is the Droids table which features the loveable duo of R2D2 and C3P0 on a Sandcrawler, which is of course controlled by Jawas. The table itself is the insde of a Sandcrawler where the Jawas repair any salvageable droids to be resold or melted down into scrap. Throughout the table there are quite a few things going on like a magnetic crane moving about, flowing molten metal and whirring engines. The whole time everything is in motion there are Jawa on top of the table supervising everything that is going on and in some cases interfering with missions that you try and perform.

One of the missions I unlocked had me searching for a hidden droid by launching the ball up certain parts of the map and if I made the wrong move a Jawa shot me with an EMP gun disabling R2 on his search for the droid. Another mission opens up part of the table with molten metal traps that you have to avoid while hitting other targets. I found this to be quite a challenge in itself. One of the most annoying parts of this table has nothing to do with the gameplay, but it is something that I think is a great compliment to the creators, and that is how annoying C3P0 is in the game with his incessant comments. It made his personality come out really well and although annoying, I really appreciated the authenticity.

When it comes to virtual pinball, Zen Studios are the masters and it should come as no surprise that they managed to pretty much knock the Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within Pack out of the park. They managed to perfect things most of the time but I do admit at least one of the tables could have used a bit more work in some areas. That being said, at the end of the day every single one of them ends up being pretty fun to play and I highly recommend that you add this pack to your Pinball FX2 collection.

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