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Is Zen pinball overly easy?

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  • Is Zen pinball overly easy?

    I've been feeling like Zen pinball in general is a bit to easy compared to real pinball.


    For example it sometimes feel like certain shots have "aim assist" built into the flippers, balls rarely go bumper/slingshot crazy like they can on a real table, very little punishment for missing shots, some tables give out ball saves like candy, the bounciness of the ball feels "muted" and easy to catch, rarely does it get out of control etc...

    Oh, and I've had it pointed out to me that the flippers are closer together than on a real table. Is that true? It does look that way a bit and if so I really wish it wasn't.

    The more I play the more the game seems to be designed as "easy" rather than "challenging". For example PvZ you can practically play with your eyes closed due to all the ball saving going on..


    What do you guys think?

  • #2
    I feel that most tables have gotten easier than they were in their respective games. I say "most" because a few tables have gotten a little harder - Ghost Rider is one example that is more challenging in my opinion.

    But I believe these tables are easier than actual tables, and that's for the better, because I feel that if you lose the ball, 99 times out of 100 it is because you made a mistake, either through poor ball control or missing a shot, and not because you've just been unlucky. The number of times I've nailed an orbit shot on a real table only to watch to my horror as the ball goes straight down the middle, or similarly see the ball go down an outlane straight after launching the ball. To me, that's the most frustrating part of pinball, and I thankful that Zen has took out the luck factor for the most part.

    In the end. real pinball tables in arcades are there to make money, and their creators do their best to shorten games as much as possible so that punters place more coins in their machines.
    PSN: Jeppo99
    Feel free to friend me, but make sure you mention that you are from these forums.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Metalzoic View Post
      I've been feeling like Zen pinball in general is a bit to easy compared to real pinball.


      For example it sometimes feel like certain shots have "aim assist" built into the flippers, balls rarely go bumper/slingshot crazy like they can on a real table, very little punishment for missing shots, some tables give out ball saves like candy, the bounciness of the ball feels "muted" and easy to catch, rarely does it get out of control etc...

      Oh, and I've had it pointed out to me that the flippers are closer together than on a real table. Is that true? It does look that way a bit and if so I really wish it wasn't.

      The more I play the more the game seems to be designed as "easy" rather than "challenging". For example PvZ you can practically play with your eyes closed due to all the ball saving going on..


      What do you guys think?
      I agree with everything you say except the "aim assist" thing. You forgot to mention you essentially get unlimited tilt warnings as long as you let them reset. Also, the flippers raise higher than real pinball tables making hold traps and backhand shots much easier. I agree that it is easier to keep balls in play on zen tables than it is on real tables resulting in much longer games. That does not mean every challenge on a zen table is easy. And I hope you are not using PvZ as an example for the difficulty of all zen tables. PvZ is probably the easiest table zen has ever made with Sorcerer's Lair a very close second.

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      • #4
        It does seem to be more designed for "fun factor" than "challenge" in many cases. Even the tables that have setups that like to drain the ball are telegraphed to a certain extent, so you know to prepare a pre-emptive nudge just in case.

        And in certain cases you can see that the physics run on auto-assist - just look at the shot in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 where if you hit the top center hole (the one that awards you with shards of whatever) and time your return shot properly, you'll be able to repeatedly shoot EXACTLY straight up from the tip of the left flipper to return right back to that hole. Physics wasn't my best subject in school, but I suspect that wouldn't happen in the real world.

        But on the other side of the fence, much of their market is probably made up of casuals. Sure, they could design the tables to look like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hLZRPt_IvU, which has enough space to fit more than two balls side-by-side between the two flippers. And given how Plants VS Zombies can last so long as to seem tedious, it might be nice to see a set of "unforgiving" tables like that to add to the play variety.

        In the end, I've learned to accept the fact that it's more fun pinball than realistic pinball, and I'd never be able to match these performances in real life.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Peridot Weapon View Post
          And in certain cases you can see that the physics run on auto-assist - just look at the shot in Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 where if you hit the top center hole (the one that awards you with shards of whatever) and time your return shot properly, you'll be able to repeatedly shoot EXACTLY straight up from the tip of the left flipper to return right back to that hole. Physics wasn't my best subject in school, but I suspect that wouldn't happen in the real world.
          Actually, repeating the angle (which is the fancy name of what you described above) is a skill that can be used on real pinball tables. If the ball's trajectory is perpendicular to the angle of the flipper at the point of contact, the ball will travel at the same line it travelled in.


          Originally posted by Peridot Weapon View Post
          But on the other side of the fence, much of their market is probably made up of casuals. Sure, they could design the tables to look like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hLZRPt_IvU, which has enough space to fit more than two balls side-by-side between the two flippers. And given how Plants VS Zombies can last so long as to seem tedious, it might be nice to see a set of "unforgiving" tables like that to add to the play variety.
          Have you played Iron Man yet? That is probably the most unforgiving table of the 26. The infamous V12 table is also pretty unforgiving, especially with the left outlane.
          PSN: Jeppo99
          Feel free to friend me, but make sure you mention that you are from these forums.

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          • #6
            This has been the biggest complaint from pinball 'purists'. I love Zen's originality and table designs but I starting to get annoyed on how easy the ball is to control and the length of some of the games. PvZ comes to mind on how long the game can last. The ball has too much weight compared to Pinball Arcade. It needs more bounce in all aspects otherwise the physics are decent.

            That said pinball arcade suffers the same frustration for me. Most of the tables are too bouncy and not enough weight.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jeppo99 View Post
              Have you played Iron Man yet? That is probably the most unforgiving table of the 26. The infamous V12 table is also pretty unforgiving, especially with the left outlane.
              Actually Fear Itself, Earth Defense, X-Men, and a few others have most certainly made the list.

              Honestly I understand everyone has their opinion, but really I swear some people are never satisfied. If it's too easy, it sucks. If it's too hard, it sucks. Zen has found the balance that caters to both casual and serious pinballers. I bet their (Zen) next table will be difficult. It's always like that. Like others have mentioned earlier..it's all about the fun factor. If something is too hard, then the player will get turned off and not want to play anymore. Iron Man was that table for a long time for me.

              Zen is their own company and obviously they aren't trying to replicate an actual table. That's what Farsight does. It's nothing wrong with that. Both respective companies (Zen and Farsight) exudes what pinball is through authentication and fantasy. Zen brings something different to the pinball genre and I love it. I don't think their tables are easy. Some of them, yes! All of them....HECK NO!!
              PSN ID- RayCrocheron82
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              Tables Wishlist- Hanna-Barbera 4 pack, Holiday table, DC tables, or any Zen table...even if it's My Little Pony

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              • #8
                In my opinion the tables shouldn't take 5 hours to bust a huge score.
                With most tables, the game is not testing your skill as much as your stamina and grinding abilities.

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                • #9
                  Well, with all due respect, only the top 0.1% players will regularly get a game lasting an hour on any ZP table. I consider myself a top 10% player, and I average about 15 minutes per game, and I got a World War Hulk game lasting about 30 minutes once.
                  PSN: Jeppo99
                  Feel free to friend me, but make sure you mention that you are from these forums.

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                  • #10
                    Lot's of good comments in here. Overall, I'm happy with the difficulty of the tables. There are so many now that there is a good balance of hard/easy tables to choose from. I do believe that Zen pinball is easier than real pinball, and I'm fine with that. I play games for fun and if frustration > fun then I lose interest quickly. I like going for trophies and beating each of the tables but I don't enjoy marathon sessions. If I find myself approaching 45 minutes to an hour on a table I get burnt out and lose focus. I'm just not interested in grinding.
                    PSN: Bearded_Warrior

                    Table Wishlist: Lord of the Rings, God of War, Final Fantasy VII, The Legend of Zelda, and Marvel's Archangel.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jeppo99 View Post
                      Well, with all due respect, only the top 0.1% players will regularly get a game lasting an hour on any ZP table. I consider myself a top 10% player, and I average about 15 minutes per game, and I got a World War Hulk game lasting about 30 minutes once.
                      Depends on the table, I suppose. Plants VS Zombies or Mars can last for what feels like an eternity even if you're an average player. You may not score very high during that time (especially on Mars if you get stuck in a mission where you just can't nail that final ramp), but you'll be playing for awhile.

                      Most tables allow you to keep replenishing your "defenses" against ball drains, and even get patched in some cases if certain shots often ended up in auto-drains (like the ball going straight out through the flippers after hitting the "calendar" shot on the Wolverine table - they patched in a 3-second Ball Save to prevent that). A steady supply of Kickbacks, Ball Saves and Extra Balls makes the tables last a lot longer. If they changed the rules so you could only get one Kickback per lane per ball, these marathon sessions would become a thing of the past.

                      Iron Man is a hard table to score well on because it doesn't give any awards for "halfway measures" - you complete a mission in its entirety or you just get a small score boost from it. But you'll still probably play for several minutes in a game - V-12 is probably the only table I can think of where I could potentially lose the entire game in two minutes.

                      I'd be content somewhere in the middle. I'd like a "decent" run on the table to last for 5 or 10 minutes, and I've had my fair share of marathon low-score runs on many a table now. Of course, I've also played these tables on everything from the PS3 to the Vita to the 360 to the iPad to the 3DS, so even if I'm still not really good at pinball I've become fairly adept at the Physics of Zen.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jeppo99 View Post
                        Well, with all due respect, only the top 0.1% players will regularly get a game lasting an hour on any ZP table. I consider myself a top 10% player, and I average about 15 minutes per game, and I got a World War Hulk game lasting about 30 minutes once.
                        The 1.2 billion run on Sorcerer's Lair that is (or was last time I checked) ranked 1st on the leaderboards lasted somewhere along 45 minutes. 90% of that score came from ball 1 and two extra balls. Balls 2 and 3 lasted very little due to sheer boredom.
                        I might not be the best player, but with enough patience I guarantee my games on tables like Tesla could last 12+ hours. That's just not right. A spectacular game should be on the 40-50 minutes department. I would like to see the overall difficulty increased, but then again, you can't please everybody.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jeppo99 View Post
                          I feel that most tables have gotten easier than they were in their respective games. I say "most" because a few tables have gotten a little harder - Ghost Rider is one example that is more challenging in my opinion.

                          But I believe these tables are easier than actual tables, and that's for the better, because I feel that if you lose the ball, 99 times out of 100 it is because you made a mistake, either through poor ball control or missing a shot, and not because you've just been unlucky. The number of times I've nailed an orbit shot on a real table only to watch to my horror as the ball goes straight down the middle, or similarly see the ball go down an outlane straight after launching the ball. To me, that's the most frustrating part of pinball, and I thankful that Zen has took out the luck factor for the most part.

                          In the end. real pinball tables in arcades are there to make money, and their creators do their best to shorten games as much as possible so that punters place more coins in their machines.
                          You pretty much hit the nail on the head with your last paragraph and answered your own question! Of course real tables are harder, the same as video games in arcades in the 90's were 10 times harder than their console conversions on the Sega Megadrive (Genesis) and SNES. Pay to play games in arcades were made so that you were constantly putting in money to progress while if you went home and popped the same game's cartridge into your console you could stay on for 10 times longer without losing a life. The thing is that if Zen Pinball was as hard as real pinball then it would alienate a lot of potential customers so it has to be well balanced to cater for pinball novices and pinball veterans.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bearded_Warrior View Post
                            Lot's of good comments in here. Overall, I'm happy with the difficulty of the tables. There are so many now that there is a good balance of hard/easy tables to choose from. I do believe that Zen pinball is easier than real pinball, and I'm fine with that. I play games for fun and if frustration > fun then I lose interest quickly. I like going for trophies and beating each of the tables but I don't enjoy marathon sessions. If I find myself approaching 45 minutes to an hour on a table I get burnt out and lose focus. I'm just not interested in grinding.
                            That's pretty much my take on it as well. If Zen Pinball was designed like a real pinball machines, then I wouldn't be playing it that much. I like that they have build onto the formula (augmented reality) and added several layers onto their tables (missions, wizard mode, etc...).

                            Zen has stated that they want their games to last longer compared to real pinball machines.

                            If you think the game is so easy, then try getting all 56 trophies. Many of those trophies aren't easy at all and take a lot of time and trial and error.
                            Last edited by shogun00; 09-10-2012, 03:01 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Play Tesla or Shaman if you want punishment for missing shots...
                              Check out my youtube videos for basic pinball strategies: caperUnderscore26

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