In terms of intentions, Pinball FX3 has the same idea for visuals as its predecessors do. Take a modern pinball table with all the trappings, and have its theme permeate the table in ways that could never be achieved in real life. Characters come to life in organic, animated fashion; they move about the outskirts of the table, interacting with each other in ways that only they can. Itís surreal the first time you experience it; thereís a clear disconnect between the mechanical perfection of what youíre used to seeing and the flights of fancy that serve as window-dressing. But it works.
Zen Studios is touting a graphical upgrade with Pinball FX3; to be honest, I donít really see it. Granted, Pinball FX2 and all of its subsequent iterations look fantastic, between the superb visual theming and the photorealistic physics model powering the action. Maybe there just wasnít much room for improvement. Pinball FX3 offers backwards compatibility with Pinball FX2, and while some tables are certainly more thematically ambitious than others, there doesnít seem to be that much visual disparity between the likes of Pasha and V12 and Marvel Pinball or Star Wars Pinball.
Sound design is consistently on-point in terms of technical quality, but itís all over the place when it comes to artistic merit. Classic pinball machine noises are here in a limited capacity; thereís a certain mechanical sweetness in the activation of flippers and bumpers, but sometimes the theming takes over. Provided the table you choose is original or doesnít feature enough representation in entertainment media to compare, music and voice acting is generally good.
However, if itís a licensed product, thereís a chance things will go south. There are definitely some good examples: Portal, The Walking Dead, and Aliens vs. Pinball use instantly-identifiable assets from the source material and are all the better for it. However, there are clearly some instances in which the developer was unable to obtain either the rights or the capabilities to include certain well-known elements from the license. And while I admire the intentions behind them, the resulting "homebrew" efforts often kill the illusion by being cringeworthy and painful to behold: the recently-released Pinball FX3: Universal Classics is easily the biggest offender in that regard, so check out that review for more details. Per capita, considering how many tables that Pinball FX3 is capable of playing, the good easily outweighs the bad Ė just know that there are some stinkers in terms of audio.