A month or so ago, I took a look at Pinball Hall of Fame: The Williams Collection for the PS2. Needless to say, I was very, very impressed by it. While browsing GameStop's website a few days ago, I noticed that the store closest to me had a copy of the Wii version of the game in-stock. So, being the pinball nut that I am, I picked it up. I was anxious to see how the Wii version stacked up to it's PS2 counterpart. And I'm pleased to say that aside from a few minor issues, it's just as impressive as the PS2 version.
The main difference between the PS2 and Wii versions is the two extra tables not found in the PS2 version, Jive Time and Sorcerer (these tables are also found in the PSP version of the game). Jive Time is the oldest table in the collection, dating back to the very early 70's. And it has to be, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most unquestionably evil pinball table I've ever played. Not only are the flippers spaced amazingly far apart, but the outlanes are wide enough to drive a car through. These annoyances are offset somewhat by the fact that Jive Time gives you five balls instead of the standard three. And it's still a fun table, if you can get past the unfair ball losses you'll undoubtedly face. Sorcerer is a fun, if not unremarkable, table.
There's really little else I can say about it. It fits right in with the rest of the collection. One big issue, though, is that both Jive Time and Sorcerer have one glaring flaw each. For Jive Time, it's that your ball can get stuck in a certain area in the upper right portion of the table. When this happens, you'll rack up points at an amazing rate until you shake the ball loose by bumping the table. With Sorcerer, it's the fact that multiball is useless, since as soon as it's triggered, the table drops the balls straight into the outlane. I'm not sure if either of these issues were present in the physical versions of these machines or not, but regardless they can be troubling.
The other big difference in the Wii version is controls. Using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk is, believe it or not, far more natural feeling for a pinball game than the PS2 controller. Flippers are controlled with the B and Z buttons, and bumping the machine is done by shaking the Wii Remote or Nunchuck, depending on which way you want to bump the table. The problem with this is that it's FAR too oversensitive. You'll often find yourself bumping the table when you press a flipper button just a little to hard quite often. Thankfully, in my experience at least, it's nigh impossible to actually get a tilt due to this. The other part of the controls that I wish would have been done a bit differently is the plunger control. You operate the plunger simply by using the analog stick on the Nunchuk. Which is fine, really. But it would have been really cool to be able to pull back on the plunger by pulling back the Wii Remote. That really would have added a whole new dimension of immersion to an already fantastic game.
Overall? If you have to choose between the PS2 and Wii versions, and price isn't an issue, get the Wii version. You'll get two extra tables, and along with that, two more sets of goals to accomplish, and two more machines to unlock Free Play for. Sure, the extra tables have some minor problems, and the motion controls are a little oversensitive, but that doesn't tarnish this excellent title enough to make it not worth recommending to everyone who loves pinball. It's my favorite game of the year thus far (perhaps tied with No More Heroes), and probably my most played game of the year at that. And if you're as big of a pinball fan as I am, it should be your most played game of the year as well.
Images courtesy of Crave.