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How Realistic Is Pinball Arcade From System Three?

31/03/2014 13:52 BST | Updated 28/05/2014 10:59 BST

One of the first digital titles for the PlayStation 4, Pinball Arcade, has just been released as a physical title, which includes the Challenge Pack - and I wanted to see just how good the pinball table recreations were.

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© System 3

Pinball Arcade on PlayStation 4 recreates the greatest pinball machines of all time, featuring 22 licensed tables from Bally, Williams, Stern and Gottlieb. Everything from classic electro-mechanical tables to the greatest tables of the 90′s and beyond!

Every flipper, bumper, sound effect, and display animation has been painstakingly emulated in astonishing detail!

Expandable with regular updates via PSN to add additional tables as well as Online Tournaments to challenge yourself and compete against your friends!

There are 22 classic tables included with the game, including Tales of the Arabian Nights, Star Trek The Next Generation, Elvira and the Party Monsters (who reading this is actually old enough to remember Elvira?), Twilight Zone, and many more.

To give you can idea just how much effort has gone into making the tables look the same, I played Monster Bash, and then played the Monster Bash pinball machine.

Monster Bash (1998): The goal of the table is to get six of the most iconic Universal Studios Monsters to form a band the likes of which has never been seen! If you can dig out the Mummy, he'll dust himself off and plug in his bass. Dracula will fly out of his coffin, dying to sink his teeth into a mean guitar riff. The Creature from the Black Lagoon will crank on his sax! Frankenstein will jump off his slab and jam on his keyboard. The Bride of Frankenstein will start to sing about her Ball and Chain and the Wolfman will give you a howling drumbeat. With the help of the PHANTOM FLIP auto-play feature, you can let go of the flippers and watch the game complete your shots.

So this is how Monster Bash looks in the game:

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© System 3

And here is how the original looked:

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© Andrew Edney

As you can see System 3 really have done a great job in recreating every little detail from the look of the table, each flashing light, the sounds - basically everything!

Another example is Tales of the Arabian Nights.

Tales of the Arabian Nights (1996): The setting is ancient Baghdad where wishes can be granted in the ultimate battle to rescue the Princess from the clutches of an evil Genie who taunts all foes. There are jewels to be collected and a playfield that will have players spinning Aladdin's Lamp, flying on Magic Carpet ramps or visiting the Bazaar for countless awards. With a deep set of rules, beautiful artwork, engaging voice over, and excellent sound effects, this is one of the most popular and highest rated tables of all time.

Again, I played the version in the game:

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© System 3

And then I played the original pinball version:

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© Andrew Edney

So as you can see, the tables themselves have been beautifully recreated, but how do they play?

Well to put it simply, very well. I have never been a huge fan of pinball games on either consoles or PC, primarily because you don't necessarily get the same feel you do playing a real table, but when it comes to Pinball Arcade, I found it to be the next best thing to actually playing on a real table. Everything from the flippers and bumpers, to how to ball reacts is recreated perfectly, and add to that the lights and sounds, and you think you are actually playing the real thing. I really liked that depending on which table you were playing on, the flippers could actually feel lighter or heavier, which is a really good addition to the game.

Overall I would have to say that this is by far the best and most accurate pinball game I have ever played, and I look forward to seeing what other tables will be released.