Pinball FX 2 Review
Developer: Zen Studios
Platform: Xbox 360
Reviewed on Xbox 360
Zen Studios' Pinball FX 2 is the ultimate platform for playing pinball currently on consoles. It's an incredibly detailed, physics-based framework for presenting pinball tables ranging from the classic to the fantastical, a social platform within Xbox Live Arcade for pinball fanatics, and it includes features for tweaking the tables themselves to your heart's content. Read on for more details concerning the Pinball FX 2 platform and reviews of the tables themselves...
I won't assign a score to the Pinball FX 2 platform itself since it is just that – a platform. Pinball FX 2 is free to download and is the framework and underpinning for all of the downloadable tables. It provides more polished physics, more detailed graphics and more precise action than Pinball FX. More importantly, it is an incredible pinball hub to scratch that pinball itch you didn't know you were feeling.
Aside from serving as a central location to access the tables you've downloaded or acquire new content, the Pinball FX 2 platform tracks a vast array of leaderboards for the different pinball machines, including a "Superscore" that transcends individual tables (and encourages you to purchase more). The Superscore is, essentially the total of all of your table's high scores, divided by one million. Then there's the "Wizard Score" that combines your Superscore with that of your friends' Superscores, then multiplies it by the number of tables you own and have played, encouraging you to own many tables and get your friends to do the same. It might seem underhanded, but gamers seem to love competing to get big numbers.
Pinball FX 2 supports a lot of different ways to play, many control options, and virtually any desirable view of a table in play, as well as split-screen multiplayer, hot-seat multiplayer and online multiplayer (that supports the Xbox Live Vision camera). There's even an operator's menu (for tables built specifically for Pinball FX 2 – such as BioLab, Pasha, Rome and Secrets of the Deep). The operator's menu includes an incredible array of features ranging from auditing the pinball table's memory (with play statistics) to tilting the table itself, adjusting difficulty, changing timers and even moving specific physical components of the table.
I even love that Pinball FX 2 gives you a brief countdown after pausing the game to let you concentrate and get back into the flow. The cost of a single table typically works out to $2.50. Even if you can find a decent pinball table nowadays (and you won't find many as good as the new tables for Pinball FX 2), that will probably only buy you two plays. In Pinball FX 2, $2.50 is forever... or at least as long as your Xbox 360 holds out.
With all this flexibility, and ongoing tournaments, Pinball FX 2 is the platform for pinball on the Xbox 360. Let's take a look at some of the tables (or bundles of tables) available for Pinball FX 2, each with its own achievements: