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Review: The Pinball Arcade: Gottlieb Table Pack 2 (Nintendo Switch)By ringlord71 At 14.04.2019 13:37

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Expectations do need to be tempered with these sorts of titles - FarSight Studios is not here to redefine the next generation of digital-pinball. Unlike other studios who excel in trying to push the boundaries of innovation with videogame pinball, The Pinball Arcade instead prefers to keep the realism of the real pinball tables. Sometimes liberties may be taken, such as making the odd-model jerks on the real tables appear much smoother in their digital iteration, but otherwise they are accurate and stay true to form of their real-life counterparts.

Dating back to 1981, the oldest table from this pack is the popular 'Black Hole.' Its significance in pinball history lies on the fact that it was the first table to feature a lower reverse playfield. Aside from that however, this digitised version is a fast-paced replica. For starters, the artwork of the table looks immaculate and the hyperspace-styled stars comes across very well on the Switch. There are four flippers on the main table, with two in the reverse lower playfield. This lower playfield is like the one found in Gottlieb's Table Pack 1's 'Haunted House' table. The way the rest of the table darkens when the focus becomes on the lower playfield is done quite well. Unfortunately, the table doesn't quite hold the attention due to the lack of having the more "glamourous" features that more modern tables bring.

Moving to 1983, is one of the most unique pinball tables ever conceptualised by Gottlieb, or any other pinball manufacturer. Goin' Nuts'' is probably the rarest pinball tables in the wild - with only 10 created. Like 'Genie,' this is a wide-body table. However, there is one quirk that will please those who despise the outlanes. This does not have any outlanes and each ball begins with a multiball sequence, which means that this table packs a heap of fun on it. The multitude of bumpers spread across the table with the two in-field flippers in addition to the main flippers means that this table is Goin' Nuts. One of the more fun tables to try in this pack.

The third table by chronology may seem a tad bit familiar: 'El Dorado City of Gold,' released in 1984, is a carbon copy of Ed Krynski's 'El Dorado'] table from the Gottlieb EM Pack. This updated version of the table about the fabled 'City of Gold' is a reskin - but other than that, the core mechanical output of the table is completely the same, aside from the fact that this is a Solid State instead of EM, like it's former iteration. This also means that that City of Gold is just as fun as El Dorado, which wasn't a fun table to play on. There will be some who may enjoy this table, but for the most part it is the weakest of this pack.

The fourth table is designed by Ray Tanzer and Constantino Mitchell towards the end of the 1980's. 'Bone Busters Inc' would be the worst table in this pack if it wasn't for City of Gold. It does have the comedic and eccentric style going for it, with the Old Mean One-Eye screaming tips from the speaker. Frankly, this isn't a "bad" table, but it is an underwhelming one compared to some of the others that have been brought to digital life on previous packs. It does have an easier multiball setup than other tables, but otherwise there really isn't much more going for it except maybe the humour.

In 1993, Ray Tanzer designed 'Wipe Out,' which is themed around snowboarding. It is like the Victory table from Gottlieb's Table Pack 1, where it centers around completing the course in order of checkpoints, from the beginner Green Circle, to the expert Black Diamond, through to the Triple Diamond Round. The Ski Lift houses the Avalanche multiball which is a huge point-getter. This is one of the better tables in the pack - and its super fun trying to activate the multiball as well as witnessing the moving-ramp.

The final table in the pack is the Rescue 911 table, based on the hit TV show from the 1990's. While this was a personal favourite of the pack, do not take this table lightly. It can be a torturous experience as it may seem a bit "cheap" due to the ease of how quickly its games can end. There are plenty of "dead" spots which will end up with many balls in the drain. Of course, keeping the balls alive is part of the challenge - but this table has more dead balls in it than all the other tables in this pack. There is a cool chopper on the playfield which flies the ball, while missions come in three kinds: Cave-In, Wild Fire or Hostage missions. The table is designed by Jon Norris and Bill Parker, and their experience in designing great tables shows with this one.

One of the main things that seemed to cause real gripe with this table pack is the difficulty on inputting the player initials at the end of the games. While other tables also had similar issues, it does seem like this issue is not getting fixed. While it's only minor, considering that the whole point of pinball is take reach big scores and then brag about it on the leader boards, not being able to efficiently put in initials due to the button prompts not responding to the controller properly is quite annoying. Also, though in the options menu it can be set to make the room dark in order to make the lights on the pinball tables pop - it still doesn't seem dark enough. The gloss and lighting effects of the tables are lost a bit due to the inability to really make the "digital" room dark enough to contrast the table.

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Final Score
[i]Gottlieb Table Pack 2[/i] is worth getting to play tables such as Rescue 911, Wipe Out, and Black Hole, while Goin' Nuts is an experience due to its rarity and absurdity. El Dorado City of Gold and Bone Busters Inc do let the pack down a bit, but not by a huge margin. There will always be some fans who those two tables will greatly appeal to; however, the more memorable moments of this pack stems from the former four tables mentioned. Get this pack, score some points, and brag to the worldwide leaderboards! Get pinballing!

7

/10

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