Star Wars Pinball Review (PS3)
I know what you’re thinking: “More pinball? Really!?” And, to a certain extent, I’m right there with you. We’ve now got two games that between them can contain over 50 pinball tables, so it’s increasingly easy to feel all pinballed out. Furthermore, preferences seem to be swinging towards the simulations of real-world tables offered by Farsight Studios, but Zen has the Mother of all Aces up its sleeve: Star Wars!
Smartly, two of the tables in this pack are based on some of the most beloved facets of all things Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and Boba Fett. And there’s a Clone Wars table, which we should just get out of the way; will make you want to turn the sound off. The kids might dig it, but the second-rate impression of Yoda you get to hear every few seconds when playing that table would drive most fans of the original trilogy to tears. If George Lucas or the image of Mickey Mouse’s head fashioned out Millennium Falcons hadn’t already, that is. But mostly George Lucas. Playing the table is the most bland of the three to boot, but stay with me, the other two are worth it.
So it’s actually quite good that the Clone Wars table set the precedent of matching the property for quality, ‘cause Boba’s next. Perhaps one of the table’s better features is that you get to take revenge on Fett’s ignominious death, belting the tentacles of the Sarlacc with almost every FWAP! of your flippers.
At first blush, this seems like the most interesting table of the set in terms of animation; Boba flies across with his rocket pack, fires homing missiles and has a shootout with a stormtrooper. There’s lots to see and it’s all nicely animated. It always helps that your actions match up quite will to what’s going on too.
Before we get to Empire, I’ll say that this is a great table with plenty to see and do, but most importantly is the current holder of the “Best Skillshot Ever” title. You get the ball into the right zone (the lit one), then shoot how many points you want on top of that bonus in an endearingly fuzzy LCD display that mimics the Star Wars binocular style.
Empire Strikes Back
It’s hard to recall a pinball table ever having so much of its subject matter faithfully recreated. The introductory animation is Darth Vader standing on the deck of his star destroyer, looking out at the stars before turning to face you and walking off. The skill shot here is you hitting the probe droid from the start of the movie; with each successive ball launch the period of time the probe dips low enough for you to hit gets shorter, making it harder to hit.
The meat of the table involves lighting up the words “Star Wars” to induce a bit of the Fox fanfare. That’s your cue to send the ball up an opened chute to choose which numbered scene of the movie you want to reenact. You choose from one of five starting points; scene 3 is getting through the asteroid belt, at which point a couple of asteroids appear floating above the table with a TIE fighter flying around. It’s your job to belt all three to get to the next checkpoint. Not everything from the movie is covered by this scene selection mechanic. There are things to be found exploring the rest of the play area, which is as it should be.
The voice acting should be mentioned. Although Zen got the rights to use the Star Wars license, it seems they didn’t get the rights to lift all the dialogue from the film. This could have been disastrous, but the impersonators used are good enough that you won’t cringe and might even utter, “That’s pretty good,” from time to time. Lost a ball? You’ll hear Han say, “You said you wanted to be around when I made a mistake, well, this could be it, sweetheart.” It’s not Harrison Ford, but it’s as near as damnit.
Really, there is no criticism I can level at the Empire table. So lets call it £7.99 for two and a half tables, huh? In other words, if you’re looking for a pinball game to get you enthused again, found one you have, yes?
7 Skywalker flips on Degobah out of 10