Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtue – The Review
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Every time I see a closing sign on the door of an arcade, I die a little inside. Thankfully, the people at Zen Studios have brought the arcade to the living room with Marvel Pinball with its newest expansion, Vengeance and Virtue. This DLC adds four new tables, introducing you to the X-Men, Ghost Rider, Thor, and Moon Knight. With intriguing additions to the standard pinball experience, you will be sure to have a blast without leaving your couch.
Putting pinball on the console opens up a world of possibility for developers, and Marvel Pinball certainly took the cake when it came to expanding on the average pinball table. The characters are given the chance come to life on their respective boards in different situations, for example, when you shoot the ball up a ramp a few times or into a certain slot, you activate a scenario. These events allow for the chance to tell a little bit of story along with showcasing some of the skills that went into making this game.
The voice acting for each character is phenomenal. You can hear and understand every word over the game’s sound effects, and the voices fit the characters well. Witty banter also adds flair and individuality to each level. The sound of the flippers, bumpers, and all the normal bells and whistles a traditional pinball machine is known for are still present, along with some new noises that add to the sound library. Along with the spectacular sounds come bright lights and flashing colors.
Each board is themed to the hero it represents. Thor’s board shows the palace of Asgard as well as a little animated Loki in the corner (which you fight in one of the scenarios). Moon Knight has a board with a lot of white and silver, which matches the suit he wears. Ghost Rider’s level is looks like some kind of hell, which suits his character to a tee. The X-Men board has a metallic silver theme, befitting the main goal of defeating Magneto. All of the boards have the standard flashing lights, but some add things like fire, which can ignite your ball and score you some extra points, or change the color of your ball depending on what you hit.
The game also gives you little hints on a pixel screen in the top corner, but it is kind of hard to pay attention to them. In pinball, watching the ball is more important because if you are not following closely, you are likely to lose track and miss hitting it with the flipper. Voiced hints or a scrolling hint across the screen may be a better idea. They need to be apparent, not hidden in the corner where there is no time to look. However, this screen is a good addition as it also displays your score and any bonuses you have acquired when you do get a ball out or your game is over.
On top of eye-pleasing visuals and great sound effects comes the ability to alter how you play. You can actually change the difficulty of the boards so a rookie can play at the same level as a Pinball Wizard (thank you, Pete Townshend) and average around the same scores; that way no one feels left behind. The pitch (or angle of the table) can also be changed, which lets the ball drop faster or slower depending on your reaction time. These are all things I wish I could have done about 10 years ago without alerting arcade security. Customizability is key to any current generation game, and pinball is no exception.
Zen Studios really upped the ante on this one by adding four stellar tables to its list of Marvel masterpieces. The balance of enjoyment with the ability to customize the tables really expands the fan base. The lights and sounds are pleasing without being overwhelming, and the transitions are flawless. Animations are fluid and well composed, and the voicing really lends to the characters. If you don’t already have Marvel Pinball, pick it up just for these four new boards – you won’t be disappointed.
Marvel Pinball: Vengeance and Virtues gets a 4.75/5.0
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