Telltale Games is known for making a title that came out of left field and won numerous Game of the Year awards… the Walking Dead. This time around they are collecting various characters from other franchises for a friendly game of poker, Poker Night 2. Does it merit a buy-in or should you pass up this tournament all together?
Story | 7
So what does Borderlands 2, Army of Darkness, the Ventura Bros. Portal, and Sam and Max have in common? Characters from all of the listed franchises are in Poker Night 2 of course. While none of these characters are playable they all offer some great insight on how to tell some amazing poker stories. Most notable is how each character defines their specific franchise.
This is found with characters like Claptrap who is loud and obnoxious yet, Ash is more reserve and unsure of himself. The games dialogue really helps this game come to life and feel as if you are sitting at the poker table with these clowns. If you are looking for a more in depth story sadly that is all that is provided. The biggest drawback is that after playing a few hands in the game starts to recycle dialogue.
Gameplay | 8
Players get to choose from either Texas Hold’em or Omaha. Both games are fairly similar and the computer AI doesn’t look to break new comers to the game of poker. The lack of difficulty settings is a bit of a let down especially for the card sharks. With no online capabilities or character selection some might be a bit let down. Even with that said this is a great learning tool for those looking to find out how Texas Hold’em is played.
The standard rules of poker apply so don’t expect any off the wall gimmicks which would’ve helped keep the game a bit more interesting. The real prize here is the amount of unlockable content included in the game. With each character having a distinct item the player can win by winning a tournament. Throw in unlockable tables, cards and bar themes and the game gets a tad more interesting. Not to mention the unlockable content specific to which platform you play on, 360 players unlock Avatar Awards, PS3 players unlock premium themes and PC players unlock Team Fortress 2 items, but wait there is more! Borderlands 2 owners will also unlock skins for their game saves on the platform they play on! With these goodies and a nice game distraction this is how DLC was meant to be delivered!
Graphics | 8
The game looks great especially when depicting the different franchises. A unique art style is given to the characters to better represent their specific form of media. For example, Sam & Max are perfectly rendered to their specific style, while GlaDOS portrays a sarcastic dealer and jumps into the screen to make remarks to the charcters and the player. It is this kind of charm and sincerity which draws the player into the game.
However not all is well in Poker Night 2. The occasional freeze could last up to 10 seconds and is far to long to be ignored. For a game that isn’t action packed with a lot going on this is what will annoy you the most. Including the redundant stories once you try to unlock all of the items in the game and it is clear only those that are able to hear the same story 3 times in one sitting will be in for the long haul. Aside from long play times if you are able to boot this up once a week or even once every two weeks for a nice distraction this is the perfect game for you.
Lasting Appeal | 7.5
While this game isn’t as ground breaking as the Walking Dead series. It does offer gamers a nice distraction from collecting loot from Borderlands 2, playing online multiplayer in Team Fortress 2 and watching Adult Swim’s the Ventura Bros. re-runs. Those who purchase should be warned that a standard poker game is what you are ordering, with lots of unlockables both in Poker Night 2 and in other games such as Borderlands 2. If you are looking for a friendly game of poker then you have found it in TellTale Game’s Poker Night 2.