Quoted from Jediturtle:
I fully acknowledge that I am still in the honeymood stage with my pro, but at this point I honestly can't see it leaving my collection. It has so much personality and an addictive nature. It is brutal, but not unfair. Adrenaline rush from start to finish. I find the code to be great. It isn't the deepest code in the world, but it is well matched with the brutality of the playfield, if that makes sense. If it was much deeper, only the elite players would ever see the end. The battles are each unique with a feel and personality of their own. I love the "supers" system, with its risk/reward strategy and accidental cash-ins. The sword / power is a much more interesting take on the Star Trek Away Team / GOTG Upgrade idea. The risk/reward of having supers and power start from the crazy dangerous Black Knight shot is genius. Knight retro mode is amazing as a fan of the first game. It is very obtainable during a decent game and is a really nice mid-point mini-wizard to break up the battles. The Black Castle is the perfect difficulty in my opinion. It takes a great game, but it's doable. I've only gotten there once so far, and I didn't beat BK, so I have yet to see Rage. I also haven't seen Ransom yet, so that is another challenging yet obtainable reward waiting for me. This game definitely can't be breezed through (at least for me), but I do not think anything is too difficult or impossible for mortals to reach. Great balance.
I will admit, I do wish there was one more stackable multiball available in the pro. Catapult could have been implemented and tied to the left VUK, but I get that it was kept as something special for the prem/LE. That said, it doesn't really feel like anything is missing, it just would have been nice to have.
As for the layout, yes, it is a simple layout, but every single shot is so satisfying. I have only played a handful of games on the premium, but the upper playfield just didn't grab me. Then again I am (oddly) not a big fan of BK2K, especially the upper playfield, so I guess that's not a surprise. The catapult is a very cool mech and difficult yet satisfying to hit, but I found it to distracted me from the rest of the game too much. If all you are doing is concentrating on the upper playfield and getting catapult going, it is going to get repetitive fast. It also killed the flow of the ramp. The pro ramp is simple and shallow, but man it feels so good to hit. And comboing the ramp into the shield lock from an on the fly backhand has quickly become one of my favorite combos ever. It just feels so good...even better somehow than an upper flipper ramp Picard maneuver type shot. I feel sorry for the prem/LE guys losing that combo. Sure, you can do it when you drain from the upper, or by letting it just pass through, but it will never be the same as off of a silky smooth ramp. Nearly every shot is backhand-able which is always fun. The light lock target can even be backhanded, which is a cool shot. Yes...this game even manages to make stand-up targets feel good, LOL! It would be nice if Magnasave was a little stronger or better positioned to be as effective as the older machines were. My old BK could suck a ball half way out of the outlane. This one is more of a preventative measure than a real save. I probably use it on a fair number of balls that wouldn't have needed it, but better safe than sorry. As long as it's above the post it will usually catch (unless very fast moving), but once it's a hair down the outlane, forget it. Still, I love it, have gotten used to how to use it, and am very glad it's here. And I personally love it being on the lockdown bar. Nothing more satisfying than smacking it and watching the ball snap onto the save with that awesome sound and shaker effect firing. Good stuff.
As for the Black Knight himself...what a great "toy". Tying three different shots into one highly themed and great looking toy was just genius. The flail is wicked cool and used in great ways. The body target is such a sucker shot, but so valuable when supers or power is lit. The shield lock is awesome. I love that the shield not only blocks the lock lane, but can smack the ball back at you like the old Gottlieb kicking targets. Top it off with the bling of the face LEDs changing color based on what he's saying to you! So fun, so well theme integrated, and great looking to boot.
All of the art assets are second to none in my opinion. Just a beautiful machine all around. The animations are killer. Lich Lords mode start is my favorite animation of all time...just so intense. Every mode start feels special and like the start of an epic battle. It just pulls you in like few games do. I just can't say enough good things about the animations. Kudos to the team behind them...they killed it! I would like to see a little tweaking done to when WAR hurry-ups start, are going, and are finished. When in the middle of a battle, half the time I do not know WAR is happening (other than the insert lights, which are very well done). I'd like a little more fanfare to call more attention to it, but that's a nitpick. Maybe just a "THIS IS WAR" callout at the start? The lightshow overall is amazing. Sound, speech, and the killer music are all awesome. My only gripe is I never EVER, EVER want to hear the Black Knight call me "brah". I appreciate the humor added, including the "waivering confidence" stuff as you get closer to him, but BK should never say that word, LOL. (Yes I know...i'm too old...get off my lawn. ). I might even change that one using Pinball Browser as it's the only one that actually makes me cringe, and not in a good way. Other than that...everything is spot on. I do get some distortion from the speakers at a fairly low volume, so I think some audio levels could probably be tweaked, but that's minor and there are some adjustments in the settings that could probably help. Also, the shaker motor integration is great...one of the best I've played.
Sorry this turned into a bit of a full review (actually I may copy paste it into the review section). I just am really in love with this game and can't say enough good about it. I feel sorry for those that have dismissed it as being stripped down or too simple. Steve Ritchie once again proves that a great game doesn't have to be too complex. This is a pure battle pin...fast, flowy, and brutal, with a fun and fitting ruleset, wrapped in amazing art and A/V assets.
As for the comparison with DP...that's a tough one. I actually sold my DP pro to fund my BK, however I only let it go because I intend to upgrade to a DP premium at some point down the road. I would say they are very close to equals in my mind. DP is a bit more lighthearted fun, BK is a little more intense and adrenaline pumping. BK shoots better, but DP has more interesting, though sometimes clunky, shots. DP is probably a bit deeper, which is appropriate as it plays longer. DP is a bit more unique in both layout and code, but that isn't a knock on BK by any means. If forced to choose, at this point I would say BK as I love the intensity and adrenaline, but DP is right there with it. Once I manage to bring a DP premium home, they will both be long term keepers for me, so you can't go wrong with either.
Good luck with the choice!