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Zen Pinball 2 Reviewed by Chad Mitchell on . With tables that range from Marvel superheroes to the dark side of Star Wars, Zen Pinball 2 has something for just about everybody. And this PlayStation 4 version looks incredible, thanks in large part to the higher resolution and steady frame rate. Though the cross-buy is a little finicky, Zen Pinball 2 is yet another great game for the PlayStation 4. Rating: 92%
Zen Pinball 2
Zen Pinball 2 Zen Pinball 2 Zen Pinball 2 Zen Pinball 2
  • Review Score:

  • A
Let me start off by saying, I have never considered myself a big pinball player. My only experience with it when I was younger would be an arcade and one or two tables at the local skating rink. This was never really a big scene where I'm from, and it shows in my true understanding of how tables work and what my skill level is. Even though I've played video pinball games before, I don't think I grasped the full concept of how much fun they could be. Zen Pinball 2 for the PlayStation 4 is changing all of that.

I started out by trying each one of the tables individually, playing until game over. Right away I found which tables might be easier to learn on and which ones might present more of a challenge. I went back to the easier ones and started to get the hang of how to aim and how to control the ball as much as I possibly could.

Zen Pinball 2 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The controls are simple and easy to learn. The left shoulder buttons control the left flipper, the right controls the right, X launches the ball and square changes your camera angle. The left analog stick serves as a nudge/tilt function. Though I haven't quite gotten the hang of it, it serves as a great function for nudging the ball just a tiny bit if you need to get out of a jam. Do it too many times in a row though, and you break the table.

Speaking of the camera, there are a total of nine angles available. It's hard to describe them in detail, but they range from a top-down view of the whole table, to zooming in and out on the bumpers in reaction to the ball, and completely following the ball wherever it may go. Some are good and some aren't, but I've found that it's all relative to the table you're playing on.

Zen Pinball 2 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Zen Pinball 2 is a free to play game, meaning that it offers one table for free with multiple table packs to purchase, should you choose to build your virtual pinball library. Best of all, each of the downloadable tables can be played before committing to a purchase. The free table offered is called Sorcerer's Lair and is one of my personal favorites. It is also a great table for beginners. The packs include licensed tables from the likes of Star Wars, Marvel, Plants vs. Zombies and offerings from previous iterations of the game. Most of these tables have mini-games that you can access should you trigger them on the table, and all bring their own set of missions and challenges to complete. Each table also brings its own set of sound-effects and music, which adds even more character.

A few of my favorites are from the Marvel table packs. Planet Hulk, Infinity Gauntlet and Spider-Man are the three tables I spent the most time with. In Planet Hulk, there is an arena that can be accessed which takes you to a separate mini table where you get one ball to hit targets. These can be extremely challenging but very rewarding should you complete it. Infinity Gauntlet has a multi-ball mode where the table is flipped completely upside down and darkened; making it both fun and challenging to see how long you can keep it going. Spider-Man's multi-ball mode has the Green Goblin throwing pumpkin bombs down as you try to infiltrate Doc-Ock's lair. It even reverses the flippers so that the shoulder buttons control the opposite flipper on the table.

Zen Pinball 2 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The three Marvel tables I mentioned can help with racking up huge scores and are all really over the top, but each table in Zen Pinball 2 does things that no real pinball table would be able to do. Animated table pieces, transport to different tables and reverse flippers all add to the challenge and overall enjoyment of the game. While some animations could potentially be distracting, it was easy to tune out if I needed to. Focus and patience are the keys to this game.

The Star Wars packs are interesting in their own right. As you might expect, moments of the movies (and expanded universe) can be relived on the pinball table. This offers extra incentives for fans of Star Wars, as it's interesting seeing them played out in a sort of LED pinball display. While I didn't spend as much time with these as the Marvel tables, I see myself going back to them and learning more about them. Another personal favorite is the Plants vs Zombies table, which can get very fast-paced and difficult in certain respects.

One thing I would like to note is that this game runs in 1080p and 60 frames per second. The HD makes the game look gorgeous and the frame rate, which is the most crucial part in delivering a great pinball experience, certainly delivers. And because it's on PlayStation 4, the remote-play option is built right in. It is worth noting that the PS Vita has its own version of Zen Pinball 2, and currently most of the tables are cross-buy between Sony's three platforms.

Zen Pinball 2 (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Beyond the impressive presentation, Zen Pinball 2 still does a lot of the same things you've come to expect from older versions. The game not only tracks your score, but compares each of your stats with friends and rivals. There's a constant reminder that somebody you know has a higher score, which can make the game incredibly hard to put down.

Zen Pinball 2 is a fantastic game filled with great tables, responsive controls and lots of variety. Anyone who has an interest in pinball will be able to pick it up quickly, and those who are dedicated players will feel right at home on its many tables. I look forward to spending more time with it and hopefully increasing my pinball skills for any future tables that may get released.
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