Poker is very popular throughout the world. In fact, you can say that it took the world by storm recently. Sure, poker has been played for years, but now we see poker on TV and it’s more of a big deal. People play poker as a career and for some people it’s a way of life. For gamers, there aren’t that many poker games on consoles to satisfy our wants. We had many bombs with Activision’s series of Poker games and we’ve had a hit with Full House Poker on the Xbox Live Arcade, but now Telltale Games has given us a brand new Poker experience. Let’s just say that it’s AWESOME.
Poker Night 2 is the sequel to Poker Night at the Inventory. From the opening moments when you’re walking down into the Inventory, you see all the craziness that’s going on. Every door on your way down is filled with characters playing games and partying. You make your way to the Poker table where you meet your competition and friends for the night. We have Sam accompanied by Max from Sam and Max, Brock Samson from the Venture Bros., Ash Williams from Army of Darkness and Claptrap from the Borderlands series. To make things even better, GLaDOS from Portal is our dealer.
Once you start playing, you can choose from two types of Poker. You can either play Texas Hold ‘em or Omaha Poker. I’m very familiar with Texas Hold ‘em, but it took me a while to get the hang of Omaha. There’s such a difference between the two that there was a slight learning curve. The mechanics in the game are basically like any Poker game. You can call, check, raise, go all in and everything you normally do in Poker. Poker Night 2 adds a few fun things to make our experience fun.
There are bounties that you can undertake. Some of them could be like: “Come in second place in the tournament”, “Go all in and win the hand”, “Steal the pot” etc. When you complete the set of bounties, you play a tournament to win a prize brought in by one of the characters. If you win the tournament after the prize is revealed, you’ll get the prize and a bonus. No matter what you play on, you will get Borderlands 2 gear. If you’re on the PC, you’ll also receive Team Fortress 2 items. If you’re on the Xbox 360, you’ll get avatar items and if you’re on the PS3 then you will get some premium themes. It’s really great to actually “win” things for completing tournaments.
Poker is a game that usually features multiplayer, but this game is strictly single player. It’s weird to think that a poker game can be only single player and be so awesome. While playing, I didn’t feel like I was playing alone. In fact, I felt that I was part of the gang. Ash, Brock, Claptrap, Sam and GLaDOS invite you to spend the night and play poker with them. They talk to you and to each other. The dialogue is absolutely hilarious and it’s great to see them reference the worlds where they are from. Ash will ask Sam a question like “If you’re a cop, how come you don’t bust us for gambling?” Claptrap talks about killing humans and wondering if they want to go back to Pandora with him. It’s so great that they’re all aware and know about each character. It’s also great to be known as the invisible/silent guy. What I love most about the characters is the fact that they play like their character would. Each of their playing styles seemed to fit their personal characteristics and I loved that!
One other cool thing is that you can buy decks, chips and felt based on the characters in the game. When you equip a whole set, the Inventory takes up the theme of either The Venture Bros., Army of Darkness, Sam & Max, Borderlands or Portal. Plus, when an opponent gets booted from the game, sometimes there will be a few surprises!
There are a few downsides. In my time with the game, there were some moments of slowdown. occasionally, I felt that the game was unfair because everytime it seemed impossible for me to lose, the opponents miraculously got the winning cards that they needed. It’s annoying, but it doesn’t take the fun away from the game. The last negative thing is that while there is A LOT of dialogue in the game, you’ll hear almost all of it a few hours in. So eventually, you’ll hear repeated dialogue. It’s still funny after the 5th time, but it makes me wish for something new every now and then.
Poker night 2 may not seem inviting from the look of it. It’s a Poker game that doesn’t feature multiplayer, it can get repetitive and it’s not always friendly for players due to the luck of the draw, but Poker Night 2 does a lot right. It’s a game that features hysterical dialogue, fun gameplay, actual rewards and it’s a game that always makes you feel like one of the gang. It’s not a perfect game, but it’s a lot of fun and definitely worth playing!