Pinball FX2 Review

Here’s the thing about Pinball FX 2. It is a pinball game, in case you haven’t gathered that from the title, and it strives to be nothing more. This is not a bad thing. To pursue an idea in video gaming and to wholly deliver on that promise is admirable, but I tell you this so you don’t go into Pinball FX2 expecting anything more. In fact, the game’s determination to be nothing more than a pinball game is one of it’s strengths.

Pinball FX2 aims to be as much a simulation of real-life pinball as NBA 2K11 or Madden 11 aim to be believable simulations of the actual sports they emulate. None of the boards challenge the laws of physics, nor do they explode or catch on fire. They do everything a real pinball machine would do, and they do it well. The physics of the ball are totally believable, and represent one of the advantages over the original Pinball FX. A better pinball engine is in place here, and it look and works great.

Pinball FX2 is a bit of a strange beast among its Xbox Live Arcade brethren. You can actually download the game for free and purchase every board separately, or you can buy the 800-point core set which includes four boards. The same could be done with the original Pinball FX, and all of your boards (whether bought as a bundle, or each board purchased separately) can be played with the updated Pinball FX2 engine and graphics. Buying the boards separately costs about 200 points each. For this review, the four tables of the new bundle were played, as well as the four bundled with the original game.

The boards vary greatly in theme, covering things like skateboarding and car racing to underwater biolabs and secret agent motifs. The boards all have very different artistic styles, but they are all essentially built from the same set of pinball construction pieces. None stand out from the rest as particularly different or innovative. They are all multi-tiered and they all have ramps in similar places. There are additional boards than can be purchased, and the game is built so that they are very easy to demo. You can download the new boards in game, and try them out during a set time period.

Online multiplayer exists in Pinball FX2, and it works well over Xbox Live. Basically, you are competing for a high score. There is also local split-screen multiplayer as well, which is an often forgotten, welcome addition. Speaking of forgotten features, the online multiplayer also allows you to take advantage of the Xbox Live Vision camera. Nothing makes beating that online smack talker more rewarding than getting to see what his or her smug face looks like. The one drawback to the multiplayer is the dearth of competitors. Getting into games takes a long time, and it seems to be no issue with the online servers, but rather a lack of people playing.

Pinball FX2 delivers a realistic pinball experience, and nothing more. If you are a fan of pinball games, you are going to like Pinball FX2, plain and simple. If you don’t like pinball, this game will do nothing to change your mind. The game looks great, feels great and has absolutely no technical glitches or frame rate hiccups to distract you from the experience. If your looking for a good pinball game, look no further.

4 out of 5


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Author: Kyle Hilliard View all posts by

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