The Marvel: Vengeance and Virtue expansion pack for Pinball FX 2 was developed by Zen Studios and published by Microsoft Studios in conjunction with Marvel Comics. It was released December 14, 2011 and retails for 800 MSP. A copy was provided for retail purposes.

The Marvel: Vengeance and Virtue pack is the latest addition to the Pinball FX 2 family. This time we are treated to a four pack of Marvel superheroes, some familiar, others less so. Moon Knight is clearly the most obscure character but also manages to be the most intriguing table on offer here. Thor is rather straight forward but alsoinstantly playable and fun. The X-Men table is nice because it actually focuses on the X-men as a team and not just Wolverine. Finally the Ghost Rider table adds a dark theme to the collection and some overall interesting mechanics. It is a solid collection overall, but none of the tables truly stand out as being amazing.

Here’s what we liked:

Moon Knight – Easily the star of the show, Moon Knight is arguably the best table in the package. It’s the only table in all of Pinball FX2 that has a fully rendered opening scene. This goes a long way towards explaining who Moon Knight is and what he is all about. The look of the table is certainly strange, mixing ancient Egyptian and modern urban looks together. It’s a compact table that flows well and plays quickly. Oddly, we experienced some occasional slowdown while playing Moon Knight which has been unheard of before in Pinball FX 2.

Thor – The simplest of the tables, Thor is also the most fun to play out of the gate. It’s colorful and attractive. It is medium in length but still plays on the fast side. The only real downfall is that the voice acting tends to get repetitive pretty quickly, especially when Thor says the same thing each time he hits a specific ramp.

X-Men – First of, big kudos to Zen Studios for portraying the X-Men as a team and actually working together. This table looks great but the play is going to be a love/hate relationship. It’s a very long table and plays pretty slowly. This is incredibly frustrating because there are several occasions where the ball will inexplicably gain a tremendous amount of momentum and cause you to drain out. Still, it certainly keeps you on your toes.

Ghost Rider – Probably the least successful of the tables in this package, this table is still competent and fun to play. It’s a rather dark setting and subject matter here, and it tends to take itself rather seriously. The main problem is that this is probably the most difficult table to fully understand. Nonetheless the ramps are fun to hit and the table plays smoothly. In this case the table is short but tends to play slowly.

Here’s what we didn’t like:

Needs new avatar awards – One of the coolest features of Pinball FX 2 is the wizard score. The wizard score combines all of your high scores and tournament bonuses, multiplies them by the amount of tables you have and then adds that score to the cumulative scores of all your friends. Certain avatar awards were available to those who could accumulate a whole lot of points. When there were only eight or ten tables this was a real challenge and encouraged people to really interact and compete. Now with over twenty-five tables available almost everyone is way past earning all the awards. Adding a new award or two could really help relight the fire.

Nothing new – Those looking for innovation won’t find it here. The formula is incredibly well done, but it would be nice to see a little risk taking in the next table or two.

There are a lot of parallels between this pack and the original Marvel Pinball pack. They are both incredibly high quality and quirky all at the same time. Longtime fans are sure to be pleased by this effort. Newcomers are advised that this is a great pack to get started with, but there are a lot of other tables you might like more. Zen Studios continues to do an admirable job of creating high quality content. At the same time they are giving us a lesson about the Marvel Universe. Give this pack a try and you are sure to have fun.

Score: Try it