Electronic Theatre Preview: Zen Pinball 2

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Electronic Theatre ImageZen Studios quickly shot to fame on the current-generation of videogame consoles with the launch of Zen Pinball FX, an Xbox 360 exclusive virtual pinball title which received both critical acclaim and great support from a loyal fanbase. One of the reasons for this loyalty was Zen Studios’ generous spirit, offering brand new tables and other improvements to players for free. Soon after and with a building reputation, the team concentrated their efforts on a PlayStation 3 sister title, and the rest is history.

Coming to the third quarter of 2012 we see a sequel for the PlayStation arm of the franchise arriving in the form of Zen Pinball 2. But while the screenshots may paint a picture that looks very similar to the original title, there’s much more to Zen Pinball 2 going on behind the scenes. More than ever it would seem that Zen Studios are keen tElectronic Theatre Imageo prove that there’s AAA retail releases demanding constant reinvestment to keep their fans on a level playing field, and then there’s another way to do business.

Zen Pinball 2 is free to any gamer who’s already purchased Zen Pinball. If you have the original Zen Pinball already installed Zen Pinball 2 will simply act as a downloadable content (DLC) pack for that original title, along with a few cosmetic adjustments and improved physics. Gamers who jump straight in at Zen Pinball 2 will receive all of the original content from Zen Pinball included with their purchase. What’s more, Zen Pinball 2 will also include all DLC packs made available for the original title, including the hugely popular Marvel themed tables. This essentially makes Zen Pinball and Zen Pinball 2 one and the same in terms of product, a staggering feat for a three-year-old videogame.

Of course, there’s more to the Zen Pinball 2 story. While in essence Zen Pinball 2 is a PlayStation 3 videogame Zen Studios are keen to establish an audience on the PlayStation Vita too, but not at the expense of their existing fans; gamers who purchase a table for Zen Pinball 2 will not be purchasing it for that console, but for the sister format too. Buying content for Zen Pinball 2 is buying content for Zen Pinball 2, however you may choose to play it.

The cosmetic adjustments mentioned above include a brand new feature for Zen Pinball 2.Within the menus will be a series of bite-sized videos for each table, offering insight into the scoring mechanic and tips for how to make the best of each table. The videos are no more than short clips as opposed to lengthy explanations simply as a Electronic Theatre Imagemeasure to prevent them from getting stale; players can spend thirty seconds checking out a new technique and then jump straight back to playing and trying to recreate the opportunity for themselves.

You may argue that Zen Pinball 2 is more of the same and three-years after the fact, but that’s simply not the case. Stereoscopic 3D visuals and rearranged visual design is only the surface polish, and Zen Studios are clearly about to offer gamers a much deeper product. Launching early next month, Zen Pinball 2 is promising nothing less than an innovatively pitched update to a hugely popular product, and anyone who’s ever played Zen Pinball won’t be asking for any more than that.


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