Quoted from jar155:
Ok, it's not ALL bad with Star Wars, but I don't like the sum of its parts when it comes right down to it. I just wanted so much more from the Star Wars theme than we got here. It feels like they cranked the speed up to distract you from the fact that it's a pretty bare game.
The playfield shots are smooth as silk, and shots, when made, just feel right. The geometry of a game is something that Steve Ritchie just seems to understand better than most anybody. Some shots are tight, some are easy, but they all feel pretty much where they should be. It's hard thing to put into words, but you feel it when you play. Compared to something like Aerosmith or Batman '66, Star Wars just has a more refined feel to its geometry.
The sounds on the game are pretty cool. That spinner sound is the best since Metallica. Lots of neat little sounds are found throughout the game. Stern usually does a pretty solid job on sound packages, and Star Wars is definitely no exception.
I'm really not digging the code on the game. Bugs aside (and holy jeez there are plenty), it is totally the wrong type of game progression for how fast it plays. Shots get back to the flipper so quickly, that it's hard to keep up with what you're doing in the game. It's a bummer, because while the game has TONS of modes, they all end up feeling so samey because the ball is just flying around and you're fighting to keep control. Game of Thrones is also very fast, but the modes feel better differentiated, and it doesn't feel like a constant race against ticking timers. Star Wars gets in your face with too many hurry ups, too many timers, and too many dang layers of things going on. And you better like multiballs, because they are to be had at every turn.
Then you have the action button. It's way overused, and there's nothing fun about having to constantly babysit that thing. You have to use it to unlock, move, and lock in your multipliers, you have to blow up TIE fighters with it, you need to hold it down to add a ball in multiball, and you have to unlock and move your multipliers again. Don't forget to lock them or else you'll make your shots but they'll be worth, literally, a 40th of what they could. The game barely gives you a chance to breathe, but you're expected to keep up with slapping that action button so often? That was not even close to fun.
There are also some real head scratchers with Star Wars. Why do they even have pop bumpers in this thing? The ball rarely goes in there, and when it does, it's completely hidden from view. You can't see the pop action at all, because the mini LCD screen blocks it. They feel like they're in there simply because "a game should have pop bumpers." The mini LCD is nothing special either. It helps you on the "skill" shot, and then it's used fairly sparingly from there. You barely have time to check it for indicators anyway, because the ball is always at top speed. The kind-of-a-scoop is a bummer. I've played on 7 different machines now, and all of them had reject issues. Stern could have spent an extra buck and put a proper scoop in there. The eject from that shot is wild too. Blah.
The plunge on this game is terrible. By ball 2 of your first game, you already know the exact timing to get the max skill shot reward, but it sends the ball into an out-of-control state in the lower half of the playfield. Not a fun way to start a ball. Less fun when the ball saver just throws the ball back into chaos again. I would prefer the option to short plunge for the stand ups or to full plunge to the pops. Make it so you can risk chaos for a multiplier or play safe if you want to. But no, Star Wars never takes its foot off the pedal.
The game is always teetering on the edge of control. That can be fun in bursts, but to always have every shot leading to a blazing fast return is just too much. All the stand ups cause a lot of airballs. Bad ones. I think the flippers are overpowered here. It's just one speed to experience: maximum. The Star Wars films aren't some adrenaline-fueled spaz fest. They are very measured in how they dole out action, and the speed of the game just doesn't feel like a good match to the franchise at all.
And that's really my biggest disappointment here. It doesn't feel like Star Wars at all. It looks like Star Wars, but once you start playing, it just melts away. Stacking up Hoth and Tatooine stuff seems so strange. It's like an extreme over reaction to people not liking the Ghostbusters ladder system, so they just let you throw everything in a blender. Makes for a weird use of the theme.
The game is still very much in development, so things can evolve on the code front quite a bit, but I doubt it's going to dramatically change how the game feels to play. It's always going to be too fast for all the layers it's trying to put into the experience. Once the rush of the game's speed wears off, it just feels overwhelming. It's really hard to parse out why a shot scored the way it did, because some shots will have so many things stacked on them beyond what the game can adequately indicate.
I have a feeling that this game will have a hot moment of popularity and then people will get fatigued by it. Once you start getting dialed into the shots, you start having these insanely long ball times of super fast play. Multiball rolls into multiball, modes sit on top of modes, and it all just blurs into a samey hot mess. Almost all the games you play start feeling so alike. Even Ghostbusters, as linear as it is, has games that feel very different from one another. I can't seem to find out how to do that in Star Wars.
I was cold on Aerosmith out of the gate, but I am liking it more and more these days. I hope Star Wars goes through a similar process for me.