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Available on

Xbox Live Arcade

 

Platform

Xbox Live Arcade (Xbox 360)

 

Genre

Pinball

 

Publisher

Zen Studios

 

Developer

Zen Studios

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

December 8, 2010

 

 

- Realistic ball behavior

 

 

- Have to be a pinball wizard to get the tables interactive action to initiate

 

 

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Pinball FX 2: Marvel Pinball

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

pinball fx 2 marvel pinball          pinball fx 2 marvel pinball

 

With a history that reaches back into the late 19th century, pinball is the great granddaddy of all electronic gaming entertainment. Throughout the years, the popularity of pinball tables has become less and less, with some of the giants of the industry, responsible for the most famous tables ever created, becoming nothing more than footnotes in history. Console gaming rendered arcade gaming (and by extension pinball tables, a fixture in arcades) obsolete, but pinball has survived by transitioning to console gaming, carving itself a little niche following. By combining its pinball title FX 2 for Xbox Live Arcade with a extremely popular theme, the

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- Xbox 360 Game Reviews

Marvel comic universe, Zen Studios has assured that pinball tables, albeit virtual ones, are still a viable presence in today’s gaming with all the fun and challenge of classic pinball tables.

Pinball FX 2: Marvel Pinball features four of the most popular characters from the extensive Marvel roster of heroes: Wolverine, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Blade. Each table features a completely unique layout, with a

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definitive homage to the electronic pinball tables that filled arcades in the ’80s.

Each has a similar gameplay: shoot the ball into play, and by hitting targets and special areas, players can initiate high-scoring interactive sequences where the main table character interacts with matching villains. The table that gave me an unexpected “you got me” moment was the Spider-Man one. After unleashing the Green Goblin, who attacks Spider-Man with a green gas, I lost a ball almost immediately. The reason? That apparently disorienting gas release caused the left paddle to be controlled by the right Xbox 360 controller trigger, and vice versa. So if the ball was headed toward the left paddle, pulling the left trigger would have no effect on the ball going back into play. The left was controlled by the right, and the right by the left. Of course, to get the Green Goblin into gas attack took some deft pinball wizard skills that would practically make Tommy jealous. It takes a lot of nimble-fingered pinballing on all four tables to get to the payoff. And it’s not always clear what needs to be done to actually get the interactive fights between Marvel hero and villain begun or bonuses achieved. Since the player needs to pay close attention to the ball or balls rolling around on the table, unfortunately they won’t get to enjoy watching the battles they worked so hard to start.

 

pinball fx 2 marvel pinball         pinball fx 2 marvel pinball

 

All four tables have a high level of fun and challenge, but I found the Wolverine one the most engaging (although that may have something to do with him being my favorite Marvel hero of all-time). All are visually appealing, although the Blade table tends to be a little too dark, but keeps with the table’s theme, since vampires – and vampire hunters –are nocturnal. One really stellar aspect of each Pinball FX 2 table is the ball physics. The ball rolls around the table in completely realistic fashion.

Table settings can be customized, but that customization comes with a price: the high score on altered tables doesn’t count for the Superscore and Wizard Score that players can use as bragging rights. There is also a multiplayer option, both offline and online (which can feature video chat with the Xbox 360 camera).

Although the Marvel connection really influences interest in these pinball tables, Zen Studios made sure it didn’t rely only on that Marvel license for sales. Regardless of Marvel’s heroes and villains, Pinball FX 2’s realistic and engaging pinball gameplay is as close to bringing back the glory of pinball’s Golden Age as it gets.

- Lee Cieniawa
lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(April 7, 2011)

 

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