Quantcast
Review: Zen Pinball 2 (PS4) - Destructoid

DestructoidJapanatorTomopopFlixist



Zen Pinball 2  




Review: Zen Pinball 2 (PS4) photo
Review: Zen Pinball 2 (PS4)

2:00 PM on 01.10.2014

That PS4 sure plays a mean pinball


You've no doubt run into at least one of Zen Studios' pinball platforms by now, appearing on virtually every current device out there that can play games (the only exception being Xbox One as of right now). They hit it big over the years with numerous licensed and original tables such as Star Wars, Marvel, Plants vs. Zombies, Ninja Gaiden, and Street Fighter, with many more surely on their way for 2014.

After landing on the Wii U last year, the PlayStation 4 is the next current-gen system to get the pinball treatment from Zen Studios in the form of Zen Pinball 2. Those who have checked out any past incarnation know what to expect, but newcomers are definitely in for a treat should they jump in -- which they absolutely should.

Zen Pinball 2 (PlayStation 3, PS Vita, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Wii U)
Developer: Zen Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment, Zen Studios
Released: September 4 2012 (PS3/Vita) / March 21 2013 (Wii U) / December 24, 2013 (PS4)
MSRP: Free (Sorcerer's Lair table included, other tables are various additional prices)

As usual, Zen Pinball 2 is a free platform that offers a "try before you buy" model for each table, and an import process for players who own any tables from PlayStation 3 and/or PlayStation Vita's Zen Pinball 2. Whereas on PS3/Vita this was a simple Cross-Buy purchase, on the PlayStation 4 this has to be done through an import button on the game's main menu.

Since this entry is not technically a Cross-Buy title, the import process does not work backwards from the PlayStation 4 version to any other system, so a player with multiple systems who would like the most bang from their buck would do well to remember this. It's clear the import system was not the easy solution, so the effort Zen Studios went through to make sure players would not have to re-purchase anything is definitely appreciated.

PS4's Zen Pinball 2 does not currently offer the entire back catalog of tables. Instead, it has Star Wars Pinball, Star Wars: Balance of the Force, Marvel Pinball, Avengers Chronicles, Plants vs. Zombies, Epic Quest, Paranormal, Earth Defense, and Sorcerer's Lair in starting line-up. This collection includes arguably the best tables Zen has put together so far and will no doubt give players plenty of pinball action to digest while the rest of the library -- and new tables, of course -- will inevitably make their way to the platform in the coming months. 

The game runs in 1080p at a blazing 60 FPS, and looks stunning in motion. There doesn't appear to be any noticeable visual edge here, but there didn't need to be. Zen Studios' tables are consistently colorful, vibrant, and have always had an unmatched visual presentation. It looked stellar before, and still does in this outing. Ball physics also appear to be untouched; which is also great as they were perfect the way they were.

Zen Pinball is not a simulation of the real pinball experience, but rather what I colloquially refer to as cinematic pinball. Objects and characters will move around the table and directly influence the ball, with the camera sometimes moving to set pieces that do not exist on the table itself. These are pinball tables that can only exist in a videogame, and that's what makes them -- and this game -- so special.

Controls are standard fare, with things like the DualShock 4's TouchPad not being used for any radical control option. Of course, this is just fine as it wouldn't make any sense and would more than likely end up feeling imprecise; detrimental to something like a pinball videogame. L1/R1 (or L2/R2) control the left and right bumpers respectively, and the left analog stick handles nudging (don't tilt!). The controls are simple, but there's a sense of even more control now with the fantastic DualShock 4 feeling much more tight and precise than the DualShock 3.

Leaderboards, personal statistics, the in-game trophy system, multiplayer, and an operator's menu are all here, and create a wide range of incentives to continually return to the game outside of simply wanting to impulsively best personal high scores.

Zen Studios were undoubtedly the digital pinball kings last-gen, and are already well on their way to claim the same title on current-gen. PS3/PS Vita players, other platform players, and complete newcomers alike all have no reason to miss Zen Pinball 2 on the PS4. There's no added benefit to this version; just the same game with the same tables we've come to adore, but that doesn't stop it from being a game absolutely everyone should play.

Zen Pinball is a must-have anywhere you can grab it, and Zen Pinball 2 specifically on PlayStation 4 is equally just as desirable -- if not more-so.



THE VERDICT - Zen Pinball 2

Reviewed by Brett Zeidler

9.5 /10
Superb: A hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title. Check out more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.








Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.





timeline following:
Zen Pinball 2



4:00 PM on 06.17.2014
Nolan North returns as the Merc with a Mouth in Deadpool Pinball

Heh. There's a mini Deadpool pinball table in this Deadpool pinball table. That's fun. Quick-time events, even if they're supposed to be a joke? Less fun. But I like that Zen Studios is giving Deadpool a table all his own --...more



2:15 PM on 06.04.2014
Telltale's The Walking Dead being reborn as a pinball machine in Zen Pinball 2

Not only is Telltale's Walking Dead series coming to Zen Pinball 2, it's shambling. Or staggering. Or one of the hundreds of zombie-related puns I thought about using for the headline before deciding to play it straight. But...more



3:00 PM on 12.04.2013
Zen Pinball 2 comes to PS4 this month with a free table

Zen Studios is bringing Zen Pinball 2 to PlayStation 4 on December 17 in North America and Dec. 18 in Europe. If you've already bought into the platform on PS3, you'll be able to import a number of tables for this new versio...more



11:00 AM on 03.15.2013
Zen Pinball 2 will launch next week on Wii U

It looks like the long wait is over, as pinball fans will be able to enjoy Zen Pinball 2 on the Wii U come March 21st. Zen Studios notes that the delay was to make sure the game was fully polished, and didn't need any patchi...more



10:30 AM on 01.21.2013
Zen Pinball 2 Wii U Pricing confirmed

Zen Pinball 2 was delayed on the Wii U, despite the fact that it was originally going to be a launch title. After some deliberation, some fans speculated on the price, saying it would be higher due to the new functionality o...more



1:00 PM on 08.08.2012
Zen Pinball 2 hits PS3 and Vita Sept. 4, new PopCap table

Zen Studios announced this morning that Zen Pinball 2 will launch on the PlayStation Network for the PlayStation 3 and Vita on September 4. And, if you happen to have both platforms, you can enjoy the game on both for no addi...more



7:00 AM on 06.13.2012
Avengers Chronicles features the best pinball tables yet

There are two things in this world that consistently remain on my top-ten of all-time favorite things ever: Pinball and The Avengers. The fact that those two things are coming together in not only one, but four tables as part...more



8:30 PM on 06.11.2012
Marvel Pinball: Avengers Chronicles has a release date

After being pushed back a tiny bit, the Avengers Chronicles expansion is finally headed to Marvel Pinball and Pinball FX2 on June 19th and 20th, respectively. As always, it'll be 800 Microsoft points ($9.99). In it, you'll f...more



10:00 PM on 04.10.2012
Zen Pinball 2 headed to PS3 and Vita as a free upgrade

While Zen Studios continues to pump out more pinball tables for its games, the developer will also work on Zen Pinball 2, a free upgrade to Marvel Pinball and Zen Pinball that's coming to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita th...more





Win your choice of console from Destructoid! in Destructoid's Hangs on LockerDome

DLC

6:30 PM on 07.16.2014
Don't want to grind for those new Borderlands 2 skins? Just be patient instead

Yesterday, a set of new skins and heads for Borderlands 2 released, featuring the Vault Hunters dressed as characters from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. As it was announced, the customization options would be made available as...more



6:00 PM on 07.16.2014
Sniper Elite 3 lets you pay to kill Hitler now

Now that Sniper Elite 3's been out for a few weeks, anyone that's developed an adequately itchy trigger finger can set their crosshairs on a significantly more prominent figure. Adolf Hitler's the target this time, and he's k...more



8:30 AM on 07.16.2014
Respawn shows off Titanfall's upcoming Dig Site DLC map

Over at the official Titanfall site, developer Respawn Entertainment has given us a look at Dig Site -- one of the three maps in the upcoming Frontier's Edge DLC pack. It's a mining site over "subtle" elevated terrain, w...more



View all DLC






Back to Top




All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more