Posted: December 20
picked this up late 2014 in a humble bundle with lots of Star Wars and lots of Marvel tables, plus several others. was a big fan of pinball when i was young (early to late 80's) and remembered liking the one included with Windows forever ago.
tables feel solid, very much realistic in their physics; can feel almost just as satisfying as any table i used to play IRL. i think they have done a good job balancing the fact that you can overcome physical limitations with keeping the play very much realistic in a physical sense, for the most part. the tables seem to cover most of the common pinball tropes that i recall; as well as having some devices of their own that can be seen to resonate through various parts of the collection.
also, in general, i think they've done a good job of keeping the challenge level to a similar level you would find on real pinball tables; a few of the tables feel a bit overly-inclined to take you to the drain down the side slots, or to throw the ball in the dead center of the flippers; but most have a decently long 'grace period' in which the ball is auto-relaunched if you end up draining quickly after launch.
also, the competitive part of the system is interesting; there are theoretically tournaments from time to time; but it's got good tracking of your ranking compared to your friends, with the stats being accessible easily, and a little trophy on the icon for each table for which you've got top score among your friends.
the menu UI is fairly intuitive and i have no real complaints in that department; it's not terribly inspired, but it's not a PITA either.
the flippers seem to only be available (i could have missed something somewhere) as "left flipper"/"right flipper" control mapping, which can be a real pain on a few of the tables where this means you're constantly banging the ball into a flipper that should be on a separate button, or on an inverted control scheme. (e.g. an upper set of flippers mapped backwards.) mostly, though, this hasn't been a huge issue, but it's definitely a constant annoyance, and it's one difference from most real pinball tables and also at least one other pinball game i've played, 'Pinball Arcade'.
also, either the game or the tables seem to be poorly optimized; i get more frame-rate issues and the like on this than i do on the majority of immersive 3D games i play; and i have played another pinball title (Pinball Arcade, focused on emulating actual tables rather than creating new ones) which has no issues at all on my machine. if you have such issues, you'll need to figure out how to enable triple buffering for your machine, which can be a hassle.
still, well worth the effort IMO; but c'mon Zen! the game has been out there for a long time now, and IMO there's no reason at all not to be able to fix these problems; at least using the known solution that seems to fix the issues on most systems. why not just spend the few days/weeks of developer time to at least enable that much of a fix on the majority of the systems that having the issue rather than leaving your customers, some of whom are going to be far from technical, to have to find and implement what can be a quirky PITA solution?
and for that matter, you ought to be optimizing this thing so it sings; it's very disappointing, after having seen what was perfectly acceptable performance for a pinball game way back—on a Pentium with a PCI video card—to be left with the feeling that the game is at least moderately sluggish in some cases. and, yes, i know it's more complex than that, but the point is that this really isn't rocket science here, guys, and optimizing the engine should have been a top priority.
if you like pinball in one form or another, and especially if you like the themes of the tables offered, this is a good game to have; for the number of hours of entertainment, seems hard to go wrong here. if you hit it at the appropriate time you can even get it for practically a steal; and i'm assuming more sales will be on in the future. generally this seems like a good one to go for if you are just looking for the pinball feel, and think you would enjoy the themes for which you can get tables...
if you are an oldskool pinball enthusiast, however, i would recommend checking out "Pinball Arcade" before FX2: it has emulations of many *real* tables, and can be a relatively fair price if you buy the Season packs rather than individual tables. i certainly can't afford it, but if thats the kind of experience you're looking for you're not likely to find a better deal. (or any other deal at all that i'm aware of!)