The Zen Studios are at it again, delivering a new and exciting The Walking Dead pinball table to their well established "platform" Zen Pinball 2. Probably this review will be published before this table is out to you, so just read what I have to say and get excited.
Well, excited if you actually like Zen Pinball 2 or virtual pinball games in general. If not then this review and game are not for you, just go away. If yes, please continue :) Zen Studios has a pretty great track record in delivering insanely detailed licensed pinball tables like they did with the Star Wars and Marvel ones, plus the great Plants vs Zombies one. If you have been an avid Duuro reader, then you have already read our reviews about how great those tables were, if not, check them out.
Anyway going back to the latest table the one I am going to try to "review" for you, The Walking Dead one. To put it simply, it's just great. It is based on the first season of Telltale's masterpiece The Walking Dead game and from what I saw, I was surprised from how good it used the source material. The first thing that you see when you start a game is the artstyle which is exactly like the one present in the game, cell-shaded heavy stroke around object style. But it doesn't stop there. While playing the game you will hear that the original voice work that has been recorded by the cast of the game, including Dave Fennoy and Melissa Hutchison reprising their roles as Lee Everett and Clementine, so there's also that.
That's great, but what is even cooler is that the table layout features some of the most important locations from the first five episodes. So after you lose a ball, seconds before you are able to start again, the camera will focus on certain 3D rendered locations like Clementine's treehouse or the infected streets of Savannah. While playing the table and seeing these locations, I started to remember why The Walking Dead first season is one of the best written games ever made, so good that each episode came extremely near into making me shed tears.
Now the Zen Studios guys don't just make a cool themed pinball table and be done with it. Nope, in every table they craft, they include a story which is told through plain the "main" mode of pinball, but also by activating certain mini-games while playing the "main" mode. The Walking Dead table is no exception to this rule and from what I saw, it just might be the most well thought out table in that matter.
If you hit a zombie with the ball a certain number of times, he will catch the ball and you have to choose to play a scene from one of the five episodes. Much like its source material, choice matters. You'll also have to choose who lives and who dies or you have to keep the group's morale up high and deal with the implications that come your way. Well, this mechanic is not as big as it was in the original game, but stuff well, might change.
So what mini-games you might expect? Well, you will be able to experience key events and locations like visiting the Everett pharmacy, scouting for secret pathways to avoid walker attacks, including sniping walkers on littered streets and in abandoned buildings and more.
Bottom Line: The Walking Dead Pinball table is a fantastic addition to the already great and vast catalogue of tables in Zen Pinball 2. It has many nods to the original games and some hidden stuff for the hardcore fans...maybe. It looks, feels and sounds very close to its source material and that is a great thing. In the end, I feel this table is a fantastic tribute to a masterpiece of a game. Thanks for reading!