Platform: Microsoft Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS
Developer/ Publisher: Telltale Games
Genre: Card Game Platform Played: PlayStation 3
Including the flop you are one card away from a straight, but you currently have a pair of 6’s in your hand. Ash has raised $2,500, so the pot stands at $6,000, so he must really like his hand. He’s probably got a hand better than a your pair but do you gamble and stay in hoping for that card which gives you your straight or do you fold and consolidate your money.
Picking your battles and making decisions like this are what happen in poker in real life and the game, you’ve got to read your opponents, what do they have. This is something Poker Night 2 does well.
As it turned out, the card for the straight came out in the river, with $32,000 in the pot I lost due to Ash having a higher straight than me. However, being aggressive in the next few hands I turned it around and became the leader at the table and eliminated Brock, that’s also part of the games downfall.
Poker Night 2 sees you playing one of the two popular types of; Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha. The only difference between the two game modes is the number of cards you have in your hand but in both you play poker against Brock, Claptrap, Ash and Sam. With Portal’s GLADOS being the dealer. Yes that’s right, GLADOS is alive and armed with her typical quips. The cast itself sums up the kind of game this is, a funny and surreal combination of characters from different games. I cannot remember a cross over like this in a game. These characters are the main reason you will play this game. The interaction between the characters, in between hands is funny with many nods to the respective games. The characters make some funny pop culture references too, which I won’t spoil in the review and let you hear for yourselves. I will admit there some of the games which I’ve not played so some of the references washed over my head but there’s still enough for me to enjoy these. It does however become a point where the dialogue begins to repeat itself which begins to grate so after a while of playing I put a podcast or music on while I played the game.
Poker Night 2 is not a difficult game by any stretches of the imagination, but then it’s not the intention of the game to be so. The game itself could be a quick hit and never played again, yet Telltale Games have got round this in a couple of ways, firstly at the end of each game you will get tokens which you can use to unlock new table felts, token and card designs. All of which are based on the games of your competitors. These tokens can also be used to buy your opponent a drink which can give you an advantage over them as their “tells” become a bit more obvious. So it’s easier for you to know if they have a strong hand or are bluffing. I felt that this wasn’t integral or important, its easy to understand by someone in the games behavior the type of hand they’ve got. When you go “all in” with a player the game goes into a head-to-head scenario with tense music playing and the odds of whoever is in winning. This adds a nice little edge to the game and it can be quite exhilarating if its even until the final card comes out. The game is full of these nice little touches, which make it a fun experience but that’s it.
My only issues with the game, which I played on PS3 for review, is that at times the game will freeze and stutter as it changes to a player about to say a one liner or cards being drawn. I found this to be very jarring and sometimes would remove the flow of the game. The other is that I found it quite easy to recoup money I had previously lost going big by being a bit more aggressive as the player with the most money at times became reckless. It lessened the challenge of the game.
Those are my only issues with the game, it’s a pretty solid game but that’s all it is. Poker Night 2 is by no means an instant classic but a game that you can easily and dip into play a couple of hands and do something else or best on a commute where you’ve got a bit of time to kill. On a console it is fine but at the end of the day it’s a game based on poker, which should be played in real life chewing the fat with your friends. If you’re playing console you’ll be playing for longer periods and I don’t believe there’s enough here to sustain you for a few hours of play. The references and interaction between your opponents is good but after a while it wears thin and when it starts to repeat itself it gets old. The core of the game is solid as I said but if you want something greater to sink your teeth into then there are other titles. I cannot fault Telltale games for what they have achieved, its dialogue is clever and the mechanics are solid enough but it lacks a real wow factor. However, if it’s a quick fix you’re after, you cannot go wrong with this title.
– Pretty solid game which you cannot go wrong with.
Hugh Simmonds is Senior Editor here at Analog Addiction follow him on Twitter or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to ask him anything about his review. Or simply just follow him to see how much of a “sports junky” he is when he’s not playing games.