Reviews Video Games Xbox One

The Pinball Arcade For Xbox One Review

Having already come to every console, computer, tablet, and smartphone you might own, FarSight Studios are finally bringing The Pinball Arcade to the Xbox One. But while this is (along with the PlayStation 4 edition) the best looking version, it is otherwise the same game…for better or worse.

Sink Ship  The Pinball Arcade Xbox One

For those unfamiliar with The Pinball Arcade, the game presents recreations of real pinball tables that were originally built by Stern, Bally, Williams, and Gotlieb. Not only do they look and sound just like the originals, but the work the same as well, thanks to the game’s authentic physics. Though while you have to pay for each table, the program itself is gratis, and even comes with a free copy of “Arabian Knights.”

So what’s different about the Xbox One version of The Pinball Arcade? Well, the most obvious change — unless you’re comparing it to the PlayStation 4 edition, of course — is that it looks better than other versions. Not by a lot, mind you, and certainly not in a way that impacts how much fun these tables may be, but you will notice little touches, like how it’s a little sharper, a little brighter, and the ball looks a little more metallic, even when compared to the PlayStation 3 version.

The Xbox One version of The Pinball Arcade also has most of the tables that have been released for this game so far; it’s only missing the two that have been released for season four: 1991’s “The Party Zone” and 1990’s “Phantom Of The Opera.” But since there are nearly fifty tables currently available, I think you’ll have plenty to do while you wait for these two.

Of course, not all tables are created equal. But while some are better than others, none of them are terrible. In fact, they’re all fun in their own ways, especially if you look at them from the perspective of a pinball player, and not just as, say, a fan of the movie Terminator 2 looking at the Terminator 2 table.

As impressive as the Xbox One edition of The Pinball Arcade may be, though, it’s not without its flaws…though all are ones found in earlier versions as well. For starters, this has the same main menu design as the other ones, which lists the tables alphabetically. But if you have all forty-seven tables currently available, or even just more twenty of them, it can be rather irritating to get the one you want if it’s in the middle of the alphabet.

Dracula The Pinball Arcade Xbox One

The menus, both main and table specific, aren’t all that good looking, either. Which, obviously, doesn’t matter as much as their functionality, but they do have a rather low-rent vibe about them that really needs to be updated. For instance, the size of the font in the pause menus is so big that it makes this look more like a PlayStation 2 game than PlayStation 4 (and I say this as someone who has complained about text being too small in so many games lately that I’ve just been cutting and pasting the same paragraph about it into almost every game review I do).

As for the way the tables are presented in The Pinball Arcade, most only have two viewpoints — one that follows the ball, and another that puts you at the bottom of the table — but they could really use some more, especially since that latter viewpoint often seems to be from the perspective of a small child, not an adult with a better vantage point of the whole table. This becomes readily apparently when you play such tables as “Centaur,” which you seem to play as a kid who can barely reach the table top.

Though it would also help if you could switch them in the options menu, or even set them ahead of time for all of the tables so you wouldn’t have to fiddle with the buttons whenever you play your first game. Same for the high score initials; it would’ve be great if you could set it once and then not have to worry about it again. Though it would also be cool if you could share high scores between different versions of the game that you own.

The Xbox One version of The Pinball Arcade also has a rather unique problem with the music. While all of the tables have their original soundtracks, not all of that music has aged as well as the tables. But because of this game’s attention to authenticity, you can’t turn the music off, or even down. Which is really too bad because there are times when the music is so loud that it drowns out some of the sound effects, most notably the sound of the ball rolling on the table itself. The irony being that its that sound that makes these tables seem even more authentic.

Attack From Mars  The Pinball Arcade Xbox One

Of course, most of the aforementioned problems with The Pinball Arcade don’t have much, if any impact on how much fun you’ll have with these tables. Which is a lot, since these are pinball tables are classics for a reason, and FarSight has done an excellent job recreating them in video game form. Welcome to Xbox One guys. Welcome indeed.

SCORE: 8.5/10


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *