Review: Star Wars Pinball Pack One (DLC)

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Title: Star Wars Pinball Pack One
DLC For: Zen Pinball 2
Format: PlayStation Network Download DLC (182 MB PS3 and PS Vita Cross-Buy)
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Price: $9.99
ESRB Rating: E10
Star Wars Pinball Pack One DLC is also available on Xbox Live Arcade, iOS, and Google Play.
The PlayStation 3 version was used for this review.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 308 of the podcast.

The first 3 of 10 tables from the Star Wars universe have finally come to Zen Pinball 2. I can almost imagine how tough it was for the fine folks at Zen Studios to not be able to shout from that mountaintops that Star Wars was coming to Zen Pinball 2, but the wait was worth it.

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The first three tables; ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, ‘The Clone Wars’ (based on the animated series), and ‘Boba Fett’ all play quite differently from each other, so this one review is basically going to be broken into three mini-reviews of sorts.

The Empire Strikes Back:
Probably the most sought-after of the three tables for many Star Wars fans, this table is an incredible homage to the movie that many fans consider the best in the series. Challenges come in the form of scenes from the movie, including wrapping-up the legs of an AT-AT with a towline from a Snowspeeder, evading Tie Fighters in an asteroid field, and taking a Stormtrooper out that has you pinned-down. Challenges are tough through-and-through, and will take precision to execute effectively. Even the skill shot can be tough, as you have to launch the ball at a probe droid that’s popping up and down, at uneven intervals. Hit it though, and it can spin for some pretty big points. If you hit the skill shot, a super is then available, requiring you to fire the ball straight up the middle at another spinner, which is a LOT tougher than you’d think.

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This is definitely going to require patience and skill, as the far right and left ramps are used liberally in some of the challenges. The loop in the middle gets a lot of love throughout the matches, which definitely tests your reflexes at time. A lot of special care was taken to make this feel like the movie though, from Vader’s light saber returning balls to the side channels, to characters such as Vader to Stormtroopers appearing on the middle platform, you can tell that the table was designed by true fans of the movie and series.

From an audio perspective, they’ve stayed mostly faithful to Empire, with one exception. When the ball is saved, you’ll hear the Stormtrooper from A New Hope say “move along,” but hey, that quote works even if it was in the prior movie, so I’ll let it slide. Also, something that I tried to bust Zen on is one of the minigames, which involves Luke practicing his lightsaber skills with the drone on the Millennium Falcon (a scene that takes place in A New Hope,) but it was explained to me that it’s merely a flashback…

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Seriously though, the audio is fantastic, with authentic sounds and voices, and of course, that iconic music from John Williams. It does a fantastic job at bringing you into the game, and you’ll find your heart racing as you try to hit that last loop to take the AT-AT down as the ticker clicks indicate that time is almost up. It brings a smile to my face every time I play this table.

The Clone Wars:
Based on the animated series, The Clone Wars is probably the most combo-heavy out of the three. Challenges are complex and require a lot of patience and tenacity. Anakin and Ahsoka feature prominently throughout the table via speech and characters on the screen. Challenges are a combination of training missions on separate screens, requiring you to progress through levels, which obviously get tougher as you move on. Overall, the feel is similar to World War Hulk, but with not as many lanes and a bit more aim required. It’s definitely a fast and challenging table, with the only downside for me being that Yoda talks a LOT. It’s not bad by any means, but after a while, his quotes can start to repeat a bit too much for my tastes.

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Other than that, it’s a quality experience with a fantastic, fast-paced soundtrack. I’m too “proud” to check the in-game guide to find out what the skill shot actually is, so unfortunately, I still don’t know what it is. I try different cameras, but still I haven’t been able to figure it out. The action is quick and frenzied, requiring experienced reflexes and an immense amount of patience.

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Boba Fett:
One of the favorite characters of many Star Wars fans, so much so that George Lucas plugged him in whenever he could when he was “remastering” the movies. Everyone always asks me to choose a favorite table, and in this pack of three, I’m having a hard time picking one. Every time that I play this one, I just smile the entire time. It’s the fastest table in the pack, with a very kinetic sensibility throughout, as the Fett-man flies all over the place, firing his blaster at targets when you hit them. The layout is well done, with easy to hit lanes in the middle, but requiring accuracy on the edges. The entire table design is a love letter to our favorite bounty hunter, including the appearance of the Sarlacc, and Han Solo’s in carbonite used as a spinner. Challenges are presented as Boba Fett receiving instructions from Darth Vader or Jabba the Hutt, both who make a physical appearance during gameplay.

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As expected, the challenges can be tough, but are definitely ones that you can complete with good reflexes and aim, consisting mainly of needing to hit multiple lanes is a set time limit. To lock the ball for multiball, you actually need to shoot it into the ramp of Slave 1 as it floats in front of the flippers. One disappointment though is that Slave 1 doesn’t seem to have the dirty, metallic, and just plain nasty sound when it flies off, which honestly, is one of my favorite things from all of Star Wars.

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Conclusion:
The first pack of three are excellent, and not a stinker in the bunch. Once again, Zen Studios impresses by creating completely unique experiences while being completely faithful to the source material. There’s a lot of love for Star Wars here, and for fans not only of Star Wars, but also of Pinball in general, these three tables belong in everyone’s stable in Zen Pinball 2. Also, don’t forget that these are all available via cross-buy, so you’ll get both the PS3 and PS Vita versions for one price.

Score:
9.0

Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Podcast Co-Host, Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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  • http://twitter.com/Gnordy Geoff

    Great review. I can’t wait to pick these up tonight.

  • Scubafinch

    Hell yes. Great review Glenn. With their pedigree it didn’t even cross my mind that this would be anything less than an A!

    • ChazzH69

      Agreed.

  • http://twitter.com/kurisub Chris

    Thanks for the review! Picked this up tonight with the $10 loyalty cash Should be interesting to see if I can spot which clips they re-recorded audio for.

    • http://psnation.org/ Josh

      Actually, on the Empire table anyway, it sounds to me like almost all of it is re-recorded dialogue. Very little of it sounds like the original.

  • Scubafinch

    Ok… I dabbled with the Vita versions this morning on the train commute. So far, extremely impressed. Again the Vita version is fantastic… sharp graphics, plenty going on and no slowdown.

    It’s a shame that the Vita version of Pinball Arcade doesn’t have the same level of polish… the version on my Galaxy S2 is much better, which really shouldn’t happen.

    It’s a little harder on the Vita with the Clone Wars table as the smaller screen doesn’t lend itself to the vast quantity of ramps and loops… but it’s still great.

    They’ve done the Star Wars franchise (and us) proud… awesome job.

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