Well here's my not so mini - mini review after playing a location TWD PRO (keep in mind I'm a walking dead fan and my wife wants to buy it for that reason):
First impression was wow great job with the pf, bg, cabinet and bringing the theme to life. The well walker is better looking than I was expecting and pictures don't do it justice. Wolverine is horrible; wellverine is great!
Dots + call outs:
the dots are amazing! There's a couple that look bad but for the most part They're awesome and supports the theme very well. If I'm watching just the dots, I feel like I'm in a zombie pin and a walking dead pin. I only wish the call outs surrounded this nature of the pin better. There are moments when the call outs fit well when redneck man says stuff like run from those walkers, watch out walkers , and call outs similar to that. But I'm taken out of the theme very quickly with a majority of the call outs and the cheesy humor. There was only one humerous quote that really belongs in the pin and it was something like, 'Holy Sh*t! That's a ton of points' - after hitting a huge combo'd JP. Had me rolling good. The cheesy humor just does not work in a pin that has a dark theme like the walking dead. If it was called redneck zombies from beyond the grave, then yea the call outs would fit perfect. I will say as I got deeper into the game the call outs did start coming to life and weren't bad. But Overall, the call outs are very disappointing for a walking dead theme.
Gameplay, layout, and overall feeling:
My first test was the well walker as I'm really not a fan of wolverine and well walker reminded me of it in pics. However, I was surprised how well the well walker played and felt as I was expecting another wolverine nuisance obstacle, not the case! Well walker felt good to hit and wasn't poorly placed. The well walker arm however blocks the players view of the PRISON inserts which was a little annoying. But the well walker gets 2 thumbs up from me!
The right orbit through the pops next to the well walker is an amazingly fun shot! Absolutely loved it. And combo'ing it into the right ramp even felt better. However, the right ramp by itself was a let down. The placement for a single shot or repetitive shots did not feel good. And I know this is a location game so it can probably be easily adjusted, but about 50% of right ramp shots deflected out the escape route near the exit of the ramp - very annoying!
Left ramp - kicks ass. Very satisfying shot all across the board. Makes me concerned for the LE machines because all the problems I've read about it. Hopefully when all is said and done the left ramp on the LE is just as good as the pro.
The left orbit really is a feel good shot especially following a left ramp shot but it is short lived as the shot went into the pops 100% of the time. It really killed the fun of the shot. It might not be as bad if Lyman could add some rules if you shoot the orbit into the pops up into the star rollovers. That happened a lot and if there were some cool sound effects or rules incorporated it would make the shot feel better and more like I accomplished something.
The overall pops location is a complete game killer for me. Not only do they kill the left orbit flow, but the pops exit is a complete wreck. The pops exit is single handily my most hated thing on the pin. While we got a few SDTM drains from the pops, that wasn't the problem. The problem is how the ball returns to the flipper out of that exit. When a ball exits a certain feature of a pin So much as it does on these pops exit, it needs to come out smoothe giving a player a good setup shot instead of having to play ball control so frequently. These exit pops alone may be the reason I never buy this pin.
Moving on, the riot (inner loop) shot felt great and I liked it a lot. I had no problem with this shot returning to the pops. However with two left side playfield shots returning to the infinite pops; it would be nice to see one of these end elsewhere.
The prison shot was okay. Not bad not great. Good overall. Typical center bash toy like sparky. I was disappointed with prison intro - didn't seem to have a good intro or build up.
The skill shot was cool and the Woodbury shot was cool too. Because the ball goes to the pops a lot and that the pops hold the ball for a good 5 secs or more, it made for some fun multiballs. It was a good change of pace from past Borg games (Metallica, xmen, TRON). This was also a bad thing for single ball play - there was one instance I could drink my beer while I waited for the ball to come out of the pops area. I don't want to sound like a broken record but the ball exiting these pops really is a dislike of mine.
Overall though, the game is good. But for the most part it lacked in an adrenalin dramatic build feeling of a sort. For example, one game I stacked a bunch of multi kill modes and the game was going off the charts awesomeness!!! Shots progressively scoring higher - call outs being great - sound effects for making those shots making everything about it FEEL GOOD. It was great. And it was even cool to lose my ball in the bit lane and get like 9mil points for it. But the build up to that point and the multiballs and other modes just take me out of the theme and are a mood killer for the most part. So while the climax was great, the rest of the build up was very lackluster. I did feel like I wanted to play again and again - part of that was to learn more of the rules and scoring. But it did have a good fun feel to it at times. I'm just not sure if that fun feeling would last in a home environment for me yet or not. The game has soooo many great moments followed by SOOO many horrid moments. It is the yin yang of pinballs for me at this point. Can't wait to play an LE/prem to compare.