Even though Zen’s Pinball FX series have moved on to FX3 with its core (non-VR) platform, they’re revisiting their VR branch with the release of the Universal Classics Tables for Pinball FX2 VR. Available now for the Playstation VR version, we took the tables for another spin. And then another, and then another.
Way back when Playstation VR first launched, we included Pinball FX2 in our lineup as one of the best VR games you can buy for under 20 dollars/euros. That was back in 2016, but I’ll go right ahead and state that this is still the case – Pinball FX2 VR is a great example of what VR can do, especially when you play the Walking Dead table.
Zen’s pinball experiences have always benefited from the licenses that Zen acquired, and the Universal Classics Pinball pack is no exception to the rule. It’s not a new set of tables since it previously came out alongside the core release of FX3 (which we reviewed here), but Zen went back to the drawing board and added some VR-exclusive features similar to what made the previous FX2 VR tables so much fun to play. The included tables are the same three that came with the non-VR version: Jaws, Back the Future and E.T.
Easily my favorite table of the three has been Back to the Future, which has a Delorean time machine driving and flying past you as you complete objectives on the table itself. The fact that the original films came out in an era in which you can just picture the characters playing pinball themselves makes it all the more immersive, and there are a bunch of sound effects that help create an iconic soundscape that’s unmistakenly Back to the Future. The one thing that does detract from the experience is the voice acting – while Doc Brown and Marty McFly feature frequently, they’re not voiced by Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd, nor do the voice actors ever convince you otherwise.
This doesn’t affect Jaws or E.T. as much, but that’s probably because my own memory of those films is a little hazier and not because the voice acting is suddenly much better. Jaws does have a great feature where your table is essentially floating on water and the infamous shark circles you – and will even attack you at times. I probably don’t need to explain how well that works in VR. It’s intense, and the suspenseful soundtrack (which echoes the film’s score at times, but doesn’t copy it) also helps to craft the right atmosphere.
E.T. is a little less daunting, as the film’s star stands next to your table and is basically as endearing as he was in Spielberg’s production. He’ll perform amazing feats, but he’ll also show interest in what you’re playing – making E.T. feel like the alien buddy he always was. It’s the most easy-going table of the three in terms of challenge and pace, which is a good choice given the source material.
All three tables work well in VR, and have clearly been developed with plenty of attention to detail. It’s too bad that that final layer of shine is missing in the voice acting, but that doesn’t mean these tables aren’t up there with the Walking Dead table as some of the best examples of pinball in VR. You lose some of the FX3 functionality, but the VR aspect definitely adds a layer of its own to these tables. They’re not cross-buy enabled though, so you’ll have to buy the tables again (at double the price) even if you already own the FX3 versions. That might make some think twice, but VR enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy these tables – and will hopefully join me in wishing a Star Wars VR table is on the way.