STAFF REVIEW of Marvel Pinball Epic Collection Vol. 1 (Xbox One)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016.
by John Elliott

Marvel Pinball Epic Collection Vol. 1 Box art I’m a huge fan of pinball right from when I was a young gamer. Going to the arcade there was a sense of allure and mystery to those pinball games, mostly due to the fact that I wasn’t tall enough yet to be able to see the whole table to play the machines. However, as soon as I did sprout up I gave these machines a whirl and my love affair with pinball began.

Time has passed and I still do see pinball tables from time to time in hotel game rooms, at drive-in movie theaters or in much bigger cities where you you can see some arcades once again, which also happen to serve some tasty beverages. That being said, they are not very common anymore and a lot of gamers are left with virtual pinball tables and Zen Studios are the masters of this business. With the launch of the Marvel Pinball Epic Collection Vol. 1 we are graced with 10 tables, with some oldies and some newer tables, for fans to dig our teeth into.

We could go on and on with some explanations about how mechanically great the pinball simulation that Zen Studios creates with each table, along with realistic dings, whistles and clangs. On top of the amazing physics they also manage to present a polished and detailed presentation of any theme that they put into one of their tables. When I say they are the masters of pinball simulation I truly mean it and you are in for a treat when you pop into any one of the 10 tables offered in this collection. However, some tables work better than others as I find the various tables can fall into a recreational or pro category, which could scare off of some gamers. But what’s great about Pinball FX2 is that you can go into the options and change up the physics if you need to tailor the tables to how you want to play. Keep in mind though if you change the physics you won’t be earning any achievement points as well.

As I said, in this physical release we are graced with 10 tables that include the following:

- Marvel’s The Avengers
- The Amazing Spider-Man: Venom
- The Invincible Iron Man
- Doctor Strange
- Fear Itself
- Ant-Man
- World War Hulk
- Civil War
- Venom
- Blade

Having played most of these before through the Pinball FX2 game itself, where I downloaded some of these tables in packs or as individual tables, you might be left wondering that if you can download all of these why should you buy this disc? Well, for starters it’s a great price that is comparable to the price of buying them all online. Also, if you’re new to the pinball genre of gaming then this is a fun way to pick it up because I can confidently say that these tables are among some of the best that Zen Studios have to offer. On top of that they are all Marvel themed and if you love anything Marvel this is a great way to delve a bit more into the stories while having a lot of fun doing it.

World War Hulk has to be one of my favourite story arcs in the Marvel Universe and is something I would love to see come to the big screen after they get through all of the Infinity Gauntlet stuff that is permeating through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Basically, the heroes of Earth deem Hulk to volatile and send him off in a spaceship to outer space where he crash lands on a planet, and with a whole lot of story in between Hulk is eventually able to make his way back to Earth, and to say he is a bit pissed off is a huge understatement. He exacts his revenge on the heroes and this forms the premise of this particular pinball table as you defend against the Hulk. It's a solid table and one you should enjoy.

Growing up I watched a lot of cartoons. One of my regular go-to cartoons at the time was Spider-Man and that’s where I got my first introduction to Venom, and I absolutely fell in love with the whole story of Spidey, Venom and Carnage, along with the other symbiotes. This is another table that is great for story and is loads of fun. It features a mini-table within the table itself where you have to break Cletus Cassidy (a.k.a Carnage) out of prison.

The Civil War comic book arc is a series that brought me back into buying comics once again as an adult, but as an adult sometimes we have to make tough choices, and along the way I stopped buying these great stories and artistic works. However, when I heard about heroes going up against other heroes I couldn’t resist. This table does a great job of playing up both sides Pro and Anti-Registration sides of the Mutant Registration Act.

For those of you who only got the gist of this story through the movies I recommend that you spend the money to buy up a good chunk of the graphic novels telling this great story. With Civil War II around the corner it would be a great primer to get you into the story because even though this does a great job telling the core story you wouldn’t be doing yourself justice letting this pinball table try to tell you the whole picture.

Zen Studios has even captured the arrogance of Tony Stark as he battles the Mandarin and Whiplash in Stark Tower. The smug comments, and even how he stands in his office in his expensive suit and only dons his Iron Man suit when things get a little bit dangerous and he has to take on the villains. Being able to communicate his smugness and arrogance of the overly rich "Mr. Stark" through a pinball table is kind of amazing when you think of it.

Marvel Pinball Epic Collection Vol. 1 is one of the best collections of Pinball tables that both fans of Pinball or the Marvel Universe can easily get into and spend hours upon hours bouncing a little silver ball around a table. The amazing content combined with the masterful execution from Zen Studios makes this a really great entry for newcomers to the genre, for fans who haven’t delved into this content yet, or it might just make for a great gift for that geek in your life on a special occasion. The Marvel Pinball Epic Collection Vol. 1 is highly recommended by this gamer and it would be a shame for anyone to not try their hand at it.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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