Pinball FX3 – Williams Pinball: Volume 2 Review – PlayStation 4

After a strong debut with Williams Pinball Vol. 1 last October, Pinball FX3 adds three more nostalgic tables to their library with Pinball FX3 – Williams Pinball: Volume 2.  I was a bigtime pinball player back in the 90’s but somehow all three of these iconic Williams Bally tables never made it to any of my arcade hangouts, so not only did I enjoy playing these new tables, I had just as much fun reading about their history during the opening cinematic camera pan when loading each table.  There is a lot of fun info that shows just how integrated pinball was with other forms of pop culture at the time.

As with the previous bundle, these three new tables can be played in the standard Pinball FX3 style with all the flashy effects, 3D animated models, and traditional physics, or you can go for ultimate realism with the Classic mode and the Pro Physics simulation model.  Zen Studios has done a masterful job taking tables from more than two decades ago and updating them to something contemporary and more in line with the rest of their massive library, yet still manages to preserve the purity of the original designs.

In this bundle we have three exciting tables starting with Black Rose, sporting an adventurous pirate theme loaded with fun ramps and elevated rails.  The literal centerpiece of this table is a rotating cannon that allows you to fire the ball toward any target.  There is a great multiball mode and a third flipper for more interaction towards the top of the table.  Fun remastered elements include an animated 3D pirate and a compass that tracks the ball around the table, plus a cool cannon firing system that takes you down to the surface of the table for a first person view.

Attack from Mars is up next and borrows heavily on those classic sci-fi movies from the 50’s and 60’s.  The overall design is awesome with 3D saucers and foosball-style aliens located around the table.  There is an insane multiball mode and when you finally spell MARTIAN it’s an all-out invasion where you can defend yourself with an armed soldier or any of three missile launchers.  The background music and the voice overs are perfectly matched to the era of the theme.  My only issue with this table is the crazy scoring that will do wonders for your ego but are totally unrealistic with the other 84 tables in the library.  On my first game ever I scored 1.5 billion points.  Just for kicks I played an entire game without ever touching a flipper and scored 228 million points.  It’s not hard to do when a single bump on the top bumpers earns you 5-10 million per bump.  This is definitely the table to play when you want to brag about your score.

Last but certainly not least is The Party Zone, a wonderfully designed table that assembles all sorts of pop culture references into one epic pinball party.  The Munsters-style theme music is the perfect tune, as you shoot the ball towards these cool transparent spiraling ramps and chutes.  There’s D.J. Captain B. Zarr. rodeo-riding on a rocket, a dancing robot, and other fun stuff all over this table.  While I usually don’t pay too much attention to the exterior art designs on these tables, I have to admit the cabinet design on The Party Zone was really good.

Overall, the pinball experience is no different than it was for the previous Williams bundle, and while these tables are arguably just as obscure as the first four Williams tables, they are no less fun and provide an endless challenge in both their standard play mode as well as stripping away all the FX3 glamour for the more tradition real-world experience.  I continue to find it remarkable that with as much pinball as I played in the 80’s and 90’s that Zen Studios has now gone seven for seven with picking tables that I have never played nor even heard of.  Maybe I’ll get to relive a pinball memory in the next bundle, but until then I continue to make new memories and new high scores with Pinball FX3 – Williams Pinball: Volume 2.

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