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Pinball FX2: Bethesda Pinball
Score: 90%
Publisher: Zen Studios
Developer: Zen Studios
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Arcade/Classic/Retro/Online


What will they do next? It's a question I often find myself asking whenever I'm finished reviewing the latest pack of virtual pinball tables from Zen Studios. I can never guess, but that's part of the fun; there's no lengths the Hungary-based developer will not go to in order to come up with a fine licensed product to adapt to one of the oldest forms of arcade gaming. In the case of Pinball FX2: Bethesda Pinball, Zen has delivered its most thoroughly modern collection to date with three tables, two of which are based on games that have received the highest honor I can bestow as a game reviewer. As far as pinball tables go, the adaptations are indicative of a developer at the height of their craft. Bethesda Pinball is more than worthy of the games it seeks to honor.


Doom isn't just my favorite shooter of 2016. It's my favorite game of 2016, and it's not all that close either. id Software seemed to have left the gaming community gobsmacked by the overall level of quality, quantity, polish, and confidence that bled from every inch of the game's being, but me? I wasn't surprised at all; I knew going in that it was the shooter that I had wanted for years. To make a long story short, you should play it if you haven't already. If you want the long version, the review is linked below.

Now that I've got that plug out of the way, allow me to play the shill for another product: the pinball table based on Doom. Having reviewed Zen's work for almost a decade now, nothing surprises me anymore. They could adapt anything into a pinball table, and the fact that Doom lends itself well to such a medium isn't a shock. The rusty red and sickly sulfur tones of the original game pervade the table, and the only real exceptions to the rule are the olive-clad Doomguy himself and the legions of demonic horrors who have invaded and besieged the Union Aerospace Corporation's Mars Installation. In a running theme for this pack, original assets are plentiful and welcome. Memorable quotes pepper the experience, and Mick Gordon's ruthlessly brutal soundtrack is with you every step of the way.


Fallout 4 is one of the greatest open world shooters of all time, but it's a rather lousy role-playing game. So much to the point where there's an argument to be made that it fails to stack up against the other four core games in the series. My opinion on Bethesda's 2015 odyssey through post-apocalypse Boston has admittedly soured over the last twelve months, and that's largely thanks to its awful cycle of downloadable content that failed to capitalize on what really worked and instead focused on what really didn't. But the more I revisit the series' history, the more I yearn for what used to be.

But pinball... pinball never changes. While this table is pretty exclusively based on Fallout 4, there are certain visual designs that are unmistakably universal to the series. The color palette (mostly brown and green), the almost retro-esque future technology, super mutant physiology, the Pip-Boy, it's all here. Unique Fallout mechanics (S.P.E.C.I.A.L., companions, etc.) also make an appearance, making what would otherwise be a simple pinball table into something much more ambitious.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is probably Bethesda's most celebrated game to date, and it's easy to see why; it's a distillation of all the things that are great about that developer's particular breed of role-playing. It's so pure, focused, and utterly absorbing that many of us have lost days, weeks, and even months to our adventures among the Nords and the Dovah that reign above their craggy mountain towns.

So what does the table deal with? Well, it more or less follows the exploits of the primary questline; you are Dragonborn, and you must save the Nord homeland, Tamriel, and all of Nirn as a whole from Alduin the World Eater, an ancient dragon of immense, frightening power. The main pillars of The Elder Scrolls' gameplay can't be accurately replicated on a pinball table (nor can that of the other two, for that matter), but that doesn't stop them from trying. The end result is, as always, a very challenging experience.


If you're a fan of Pinball FX2, Bethesda Pinball is likely going to be a no-brainer for you. If you're a fan of Bethesda and don't hate pinball, it's still a fairly easy sell. At $10.99, you get three quality tables that also happen to be unique adaptations of three excellent games.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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