- Poker with GLaDOS as dealer
- Not so serious poker business, but fun
- Poker with virtual money is a good thing
- Only £3.99 on Steam
- Repetitive dialogue, if Ash mentions that damn Oldsmobile one more time…
- No multiplayer
- Crazy AI all ins, lack intelligent play
- Suspicious of GLaDOS, can never tell if she is cheating you or not
ALL…IN! “Damn G, look at all that cheddar!” and while Claptrap is ogling at said cheese, I’m down one hundred thousand dollars in my bank account and staring at Mars Bars’ worth of chips. Poker is not my forte by any stretch, in fact this is the first time I have ever played poker. I have seen countless matches such as my trip to Las Vegas last year, and it scares the hell out of me. So it was to my surprise at how simple and addictive this game is. Granted, this isn’t going to be a poker simulator, watching that might be slightly snooze worthy. But what with some entertaining characters and the charming GLaDOS at the dealing helm, it’s a nice distraction.
You get to play as the “Silent Player”, you say absolutely nothing but your other poker chums are quite vocal. The ensemble consists of Brock Sampson from The Venture Bros., Ash Williams from The Evil Dead, Claptrap from Borderlands and Sam from the Sam and Max series. Max does make several wacky quips now and again as he watches behind the scenes. It’s strange to find Brock and and Ash in this game, I would have thought Telltale would have some other gaming types involved (also I don’t watch The Cartoon Network so I have no idea about Brock as a character). Perhaps Chell was busy doing her hair. Either way, they are humourously chatty, with some deep conversations between them.
Sam: I feel like another dog question coming on.
Claptrap: I can’t help it, I mean you’re a talking dog. it’s like interviewing a unicorn.
The banter is funny, the first time around. But the problem is having to hear the same conversations multiple times. There doesn’t seem to be any way to skip them either, as certain chats pauses the game and you have to revisit the scene over and over again ad nauseum. The only way is to reduce the Voice volume to 0 and just sit through the game silently. It’s not the best way but at least there is a mute button. GLaDOS is as cynically berating as ever, and her lines are well delivered. At times though, the characters get so excited that they talk over each other. Such as when Sam is trying to have a conversation with Brock, with GLaDOS talking on top of them to say how bad your last move was.
The poker game itself involves a $20,000 buy in for two of the game types available, Texas Hold’ em and Omaha Hold’ em. In Texas you are dealt two cards, with Omaha you are given four. Both have slightly different rules, but the community cards placed on the table are the same. As straightforward as poker is, there are some strange goings on with how the AI works. During the first set of blinds, Claptrap suddenly shouts, “EHHH, ALL IN!” Wait what? A bit early to shove your entire robotic pension at such an early point in the game maybe? All ins are something you get used to after a while, Sam is quite famous for it and most of the time they have absolutely nothing apart from maybe a King High. You do however fall into a false sense of security, for subtle changes in betting behaviour means that they aren’t bluffing at all. Even more fun can be had by ordering drinks from Moxxi and ply your table friends with alcohol so that they make more mistakes. Their tells begin to show; Brock is quite animated with his knife and watching a drunk dog is always good for laughs.
Each tournament gives you a chance to achieve certain goals throughout the game, such as buying drinks for three people or unlocking all the different deck designs, felts and chips from Borderlands to the Portal set. Once these goals are reached, your next game gives you the chance to win a bounty which also unlocks items in Borderlands 2 and Team Fortress 2 for PC players. By winning the tournament, you will receive the selected bounty from a specific player, such as Claptrap’s Spike TV’s VGA trophy along with the accompanied items. Although not overly special, it’s always nice to get free items in other games.
The one thing that Poker Night 2 lacks is a multiplayer mode. How fun would it be to have other people play as Brock et al for a night of poker. It seems Telltale may have missed an opportunity with this, but since the game is only £3.99 on Steam right now, one can hardly complain on the content. For the price, you get what you get and as a standalone game it is still enjoyable, albeit with the repetitive dialogue. Although failing miserably with myself, I do however have this unassailable urge to keep playing, and win maybe… nope just lost another $20,000. Oh fuzz nuggets.