When you think DOOM, Skyrim, and Fallout, it's rare that any follow-up thought involves pinball, unless you're Bethesda that is. Their line of thinking steered them in Zen Pinball 2's direction where a triple pack of pinball tables has just released to an audience always hungry for more. And what better way to give fans of videogames and pinball exactly what they want than to turn some of the biggest gaming franchises into digital pinball tables.
I'm not too sure what the overlap is when it comes to DOOM fans and those that might want to drop some cash on some Zen Pinball 2 DLC. Those few sitting squarely in the middle of that Venn diagram will feel strangely at home with the dark sounds and thematic lighting Zen Studios have brought to this table.
Each ball starts with a satisfying – if not overly noisy – skill shot launched from the iconic chainsaw. Missions involve slaughtering demons from hell, plus a side mission involving having to return power to the play table.
While I didn't stumble upon a reference to getting an arrow to the knee, Skyrim managed to be the lightest themed table in the pack (with a rather cheeky tip of the hat to Oblivion).
With a more confined play space, the experience feels smaller when it in fact boasts one of the more interesting features. Upon your first playthrough you get to create a character, and each playthrough after that gives you the option to continue from where your character left off (in regards to stats, not missions complete).
All of that, plus a fire-breathing dragon, and a hidden mini-table beneath the main play areas means there's plenty going on to keep fans of the series – and pinball – interested.
Unlike the Skyrim table, the character you create at the beginning of each play doesn't seem to really matter. Once you've created, and lost, a couple you'll likely just stick to the "Random Character" option just to get the game going.
There are plenty of faction missions to unlock from the Railroad, Institute, Brotherhood, and Minutemen, to unlocking the giant vault doors at the back of the playfield for some bobblehead hunting. It’s a nicely themed table with voices from the main character (male or female) and Super Mutants, and plenty of fancy effects for when stuff starts getting interesting.
Unfortunately, with the number of pinball titles in the downloadable market right now, most of which replicate real tables and physics, Zen Pinball 2 is starting to show its age. Once again, the voice over actor used for the majority (if not all) of the tables returns for each of Bethesda's offerings, when not using characters voices from the games they're based on. Any other gripes are aimed more at the fact that Zen Pinball 2 is now over four years old and in need of a successor, and not relevant to how great the triple pack is.
Reagan received a digital copy of the game from Zen Studios.