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Pinball FX2

Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Casual
Developer: Zen Studios
Release Date: Aug. 14, 2014

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


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Xbox One Review - 'Pinball FX2' - Star Wars Pinball - Rogue One

by Brian Dumlao on March 15, 2017 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Pinball FX2 takes the pinball genre to another level with the most advanced ball physics and social features to date, along with a new collection of beautifully designed tables.

Every time Zen Studios comes out with a new expansion for Pinball FX2, it does so with multiple tables in tow. Rarely does it go with just one table for release unless they can't split the license into at least two variations. That's the case with the latest Star Wars-related table, Rogue One. It may only be one table in the package, but it is laid out well enough that few will mind.

One of the first things you'll notice is the surrounding table environments, which are set up a little differently from past tables. You're on the beach in Scarif, in front of the transport gate that leads to the base's center, where the Death Star plans are located. Instead of sitting on top of the beach, the whole table is sunken into the metal floor, and sand and metal crates surround it. There's a big placard at the beginning of the gate that tells you the name of the table, but it also changes a few times, depending on the mission.

The table layout seems normal, but it's more top-heavy than other tables. Except for the usual flippers and side bumpers, there's nothing particularly noteworthy in the lower half of the table. There are a few targets off to each side, but they're hidden well enough that if it weren't for the lights, you'd easily miss them. The top half of the table contains two ramps, with the one on the right being a little steeper than the left and also possessing a longer runway before hitting the curve. Lots of metal railways adorn the top and arc over the lower half to create a defined boundary.

The top middle area is where the focus is, as evidenced by the fact that the ball goes there almost every time when it's hit by flippers. By default, the area is completely filled with bumpers, and the small area below the placard contains a few targets that can be toggled by the flippers. Hit those targets or others, and the upper middle area starts to change. Sometimes, you'll get a giant K-2SO head with a turnstile on it. Other times, you'll get a Death Star or a giant pit blocked by a moving cutout of a random Rebellion member. That gimmick makes up for the perceived lack of variety present on most Zen tables and makes it a real table highlight.

You expect the table to play well, and it certainly doesn't disappoint. It feels easy when you start off, mostly due to the lack of multiple drop lanes and the narrow gap between the bottom flippers. It doesn't take long before you start to change the bumper field into something else, and with 10 different missions at your disposal, those changes occur quite frequently. However, completing those challenges is another story. The targets are there, but they're also difficult to hit, and it doesn't help that you won't get much time to complete those missions unless you're already at a high skill level in the world of pinball. You'll fail and fail often, but since you won't lose the ball that often, you have extra incentive to restart those missions. At the very least, this is a high-scoring table even if you don't finish any missions, so there's a reason for players to keep cracking at it.

As always, the presentation is excellent. The environment surrounding the table looks gorgeous, as do all of the elements that comprise the table. Interestingly, the presence of the various 3-D models in each mission isn't distracting when it comes to gameplay, as the models don't cover up any of the important parts you'd be paying attention to, a problem that has crept up in some of the tables over the years. As for the audio, both the music and sound effects pull straight from the film, so there's already a built-in epic feel when the familiar sounds start flooding your ears. The voices are original, but they evoke similar emotions since they carry the same spirit of the film.

Star Wars Pinball: Rogue One is another in the very long lineup of great tables for Pinball FX2. The table is well laid-out mostly because of the upper centerpiece that constantly evolves to keep things different. Gameplay seems deceptively easy, but the challenge pops in once you get too comfortable. It has a wonderful presentation that'll please both pinball and Star Wars fans alike. Even though it is just one table in the package, this is certainly worth it for those who already know what Zen Studios can do.

Score: 8.0/10

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