There aren’t many things more iconic than the Star Wars franchise. Zen Studios has done a very good job of staying true to source material in their previous creations of virtual pinball tables. Anyone who knows me, or my love of video games, has no doubt had to suffer through me talking about pinball at some time or another. It’s no surprise that when I heard they were doing another table based on the newest Star Wars movie, Rogue One, I was a wee bit excited. Having seen the newest movie I was excited to see the subtle nods that they would no doubt sneak into the table.
To start, let’s talk about table layout. This is probably the most basic table layout Zen Studios has done in quite some time. It sports two sets of flippers, one set at the bottom and then another set at the middle of the table on either side. Also, there are two sets of ramps and lanes on either side of the upper section of the table. The middle of the table is wide open allowing for fairly easy shots all around the table. Lower sections holds true to the simplistic nature of the table only one drain lane on either side. A set of bumpers is nestled at the top of the table completing the look. On the surface, this table can only be described as a simplistic design. That’s not a bad thing necessarily, but with Zen Studios continuing to push the limits of virtual pinball it just seems to stand out more to me.
It’s a simple design, sure, but how does it play? The answer is really smoothly. Anyone who has read my previous pinball reviews know the first thing I notice is “is the table fun to play just hitting the ball around without going after missions and objectives?” The answer to that is most certainly yes. The wide open middle, two pairs of flippers and limited lanes and ramps makes for some pretty easy combos. It’s easy to string together multiple shots even without knowing what you are actually supposed to be doing. This lends itself well to newer players who are giving this table a shot because of the name attached to it. I can see myself recommending this one to new players for sure.
But what about those more experienced players? Ah, that’s where this table gets sneaky. That seemingly simplistic design quickly gives way to multiple different game modes, some with different playfields. There are a total of 10 story missions from avoiding Stormtroopers, navigating a U-Wing to shoot down Tie Strikers, to battling Director Krennic and his Death Troopers. There is also an extremely evil multi-ball mode where the balls shrink down to the size of small peas. Multi-ball modes are chaotic enough, a mini-ball multi-ball mode is just nuts… and I loved every minute of it (even if I swore at Zen for putting that into the table).
Visuals are top notch. The top section of the playfield, where the bumpers are located, packs a lot of action. Depending on the mission or mode you are doing it can be replaced with a Stormtrooper stalking you, a giant At-ACT Walker, or bounty hunters looking for you. There is a great deal of animation packed into this table. Maybe too much if I was being honest. Pinball is a game of watching the ball, planning shots, and executing them. Sometimes all the animation divides your attention, and pulls you away from what you really should be focusing on.
Audio is spot on, all the classic Star Wars sounds you’d expect to hear in any movie or game. Music is traditional as well. As is the voice work. I believe they ripped audio right from the movie, if they didn’t they did a damn good job of remaking it. It really added to the seamless nature of making everything feel genuine.
At the end of the day, this does feel like a Star Wars experience. There are several subtle, and not so subtle, nods to the movie that tie it in nicely. The simple overall design of the table will welcome new players, while the deeper design decisions will give more experienced players a run for their money. Is this my favourite Star Wars table? No. Is it a good Star Wars table? I can say wholeheartedly, yes. I have no doubt I haven’t uncovered all the different modes or secrets the table has to offer I hope to discover them and many more. And we all know that pinball is built on hope.
Pinball FX2‘s “Star Wars Pinball: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” DLC was reviewed using a promotional code on Xbox One, as provided by the publisher. Click here to learn more about Stevivor’s scoring scale.