As many of you may know I am quite a fan of both pinball and comics, as such Zen’s recent offerings have been right up my alley. Of course like many comic fans I am quite opinionated when it comes to what I think of the current canon. In my opinion Civil War was of the worst things to happen to since someone decided that young Liefeld boy needed a job. It turned excitement to dull politics and fun drunks to dull politicos. Well they made it into a pinball table and just like the comic it turns fun to drudgery.
You see unlike the bombastic fights of their previous tables this one is essentially just getting to watch a debate. There aren’t even really any good set pieces to drawn the eye, it’s all bold font and news screens, it’s like someone made Fox News: The Pinball Table. Not to say all the fun is gone, the table seems well plotted out at the very least. They even have a couple of moments well represented like the evacuation of Stamford but all just feels so flat. It really seems like more could have been done with this table; why not put the corpse of Goliath on there or have some table effects for the explosion in Stamford, watching Cap and Stark fight in The Situation Room doesn’t quite cut it for me. The News Hour nature of the presentation just sucks the tension out of the plot making it feel as though I’m watching a report on the conflict rather than experiencing it.
For $5 I expect a little more out of my tables, if you’re going to tell a story as monumental as Civil War you need to throw some gravitas and spectacle behind it. Weird thing is that’s something Zen has been good at in the past, their last table for instance ( Plants vs. Zombies) was full of great asides and interesting mechanics, killing giant zombie robots and firing Watermelon-a-pults was awesome. It just seems Civil War is a hard story to adapt to a pinball table, probably because it was boring and terrible, the story that is not the table, it was just kind of meh. The fault is with the source material and just like the comic it makes this table one you can skip.
Final Assessment: Clean Shave with a Cleft Chin
Patriotic and the old standard but dull as dishwater. You look up to the man who wears it well and know you can rely on him to get a job done, that said you’ll never invite him out for drinks because you know he’ll bore you to tears.