Zen Studios once again brings a Marvel property to its superb collection of pinball tables in Zen Pinball FX 2, The Avengers: Age of Ultron table based on the recent blockbuster. But despite some mostly excellent table design, and effective and relevant events for you to shoot for within it, there’s a slight air of disappointment surrounding the table that Earth’s mightiest heroes can’t dispel.
Certainly the table looks the part. Iron Man’s Hulk Buster suit’s glove kicks things off by shooting the balls onto the table. Meanwhile, Iron Man himself stands at the top of the table ready to battle Ultron who is opposite him. Black Window stands at the bottom, similarly ready for battle, while Ultron’s robot army occasionally falls from the sky to do battle with her and the other Avengers by invading the table. Furthermore, the Avengers Tower adorns the table’s left flank with a tunnel available to shoot at during certain events, a highly detailed image of the heroes and Ultron make up the main stage, and burnt out cars make up the upper stage acting as bumpers. It’s an attractive and fairly intuitive table.
As Zen Pinball veterans would expect, different scenarios play out as you hit the pinball around the table. It all starts off with a multi-ball prelude event that provides two balls for you to rack up the score before the main loop of events kicks in. Once it’s over, it’s then a matter of readying each Avenger by shooting the ball up different ramps, then unleashing them or storing them in the Avengers Tower, fighting off Utron’s robot army as they descend onto the table, then assembling the Avengers when Ultron attacks in full force. It’s a good set of objectives that fits in with the general story of Age of Ultron without spoiling the film, it is, however, a bit generic if you hoped to relive the film’s experience.
Two of the more standout moments from the table’s events is the first person shooting as Hawkeye and the aerial combat as Iron Man against Ultron and his army, otherwise the events are fairly standard ‘shoot for specific lanes’ affairs, but reading the table correctly and achieving the objectives makes for some truly impressive scores and intense pinball action. It’s a bit of a shame, however, that the top stage is so difficult to see from the default table tilt. This can be changed in the settings, along with the difficulty, but this deactivates the leaderboards, and with competition being the main driving force behind the experience, this feels like too much of a compromise.
There’s also a concern about authenticity. Whilst the script seems spot on, none of the film’s cast reprise their role for the table. However, the voice actors chosen in their stead achieved a close enough match to minimise the distraction, until Thor speaks that is, who sounds absolutely nothing like Chris Hemsworth’s character. The aforementioned loose tie to the film’s story also damages the authenticity a tad.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron Pinball table is great but one that can’t quite live up to the reputation Zen Studios have built for themselves. The other tables are so spectacular that a minor misstep damages a table more; events, visuals and mini-games are less inventive because we’ve seen them elsewhere; the direct link to a film property demands closer ties for authenticity; ultimately Zen are a victim of their own success.
If you’re a Marvel fan then there’s no question about whether you should pick this table up, it’s a great Marvel inspired table. It’s a fun and entertaining experience to play that doesn’t fall into the trap of getting too complex despite a wealth of events to shoot for. However, its ties to the film are a little loose, and there are many other better tables available.
Thanks to Zen Studios for supplying TiX with a promotional copy
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