Also On: PSN, PC
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Telltale Games plays host to another Poker Night at the Inventory. Poker Night 2 is a sequel to the popular original starring Max from Sam and Max, Strong Bad from Homestar Runner, Tycho from Penny Arcade and the Heavy from Team Fortress 2. It was a neat idea to see what would video game characters do on their night off. Now Poker Night is back with a whole new cast of popular characters and a new dealer.
Like the original, Poker Night 2 features (drumroll) … Poker. But instead of just offering Texas Hold 'em, this time Omaha Hold 'Em is added for variety. We also have a brand new cast of characters in Brock Samson, from the Adult Swim Show The Venture Bros. Claptrap, the annoying robot from Borderlands 2. Ash Williams from Army of Darkness and, in place of Max, we have Sam from Sam and Max. Granted only 2 of these characters are actually from video games, but believe me once you start playing with these guys you won't care. Rounding out the new cast is GLaDOS from Portal as the tournament dealer.
Each of the characters have different interactions with one another as well as with you, depending on what decisions you make with a hand. Your only goal here is to be the last one left at the table with money and basically sit back and laugh at everyone's quips, which GLaDOS has some of the best directed at everyone. The A.I. is very tricky. Sometimes they can seem confident with raises and insults at your expense to make you fold, only to be bluffing through the entire hand. Other times they could act like they have a bad hand, giving you a false sense of victory, only to slam you with a Full House. All of the characters have specific tells that change depending on the hand that get somewhat easier to spot if you buy them drinks with your tokens. It may take a few complete games to master them all, even after extensive playtime, I was still being duped.
There are more rewards for getting through a complete tournament. The original gave you codes to unlock items in the PC version of Team Fortress 2 and the sequel continues that tradition with new special items. Winning tournaments and meeting pre-selected goals, you can unlock items in Borderlands 2. For those players who do not have BL2, the game offers Avatar rewards that are offered up when you complete 3 set goals or earn enough tokens. Each reward is based on the character that offers it up. Brock will offer a mystical all-knowing orb created by Dr. Venture, and Ash may offer up the Necronomicon for your avatar to play with. Other treasures I've seen include ClapTraps Spike TV Video Game award for best character he won in 2012 and Sam's prized banjo. Other in game unlocks include new felts for the poker table, chips and decks based on the 4 worlds represented in the game. Losing a chance at the special treasures only makes you want it more, so you keep trying to win until it's yours. One big downside to the entire game is the absence of an Online mode. I would of loved to see some sort of option where you could play with friends, but given that the game is heavily character based, it would get boring if you couldn't play with the cast. Still a 2 player Online mode is do-able, and you could get the best of both worlds, but sadly this is a solo affair.
Graphics look really nice and colorful. Since Brock is from a cartoon series, he has a more of a 2D look than the other characters who are based in 3D. All of the models fit together well, especially GLaDOS, who you can see dealing the cards since she is installed directly into the table. Her eye portion is free to move above the table at times to either make fun of you, the other players, or make a snarky comment about life in general. Sound is a mix of smooth jazz music and the comments made by the players. One huge problem I have with the voice overs is the fact that everyone has their original actors doing their voices, except Ash. Instead of Bruce Campbell, you get a mimic actor that basically sounds nothing like him. The attitude is there, but when combined with a bad voice it just doesn't mesh well. With the exception of a Not Bruce Campbell Ash, everything sounds great and serves up a nice atmosphere. When a player is eliminated, they retire to the background, either to drown their sorrows at the bar, or in the case of Claptrap, swing from the rafters.
There isn't really much else to say about Poker Night 2. It's a quirky poker game with interesting characters that everyone can recognize. You don't even need a deep knowledge of poker to know how to play, since the game has an easy to follow tutorial for both types. If you don't like card games then you are not going to enjoy this one, since that's all you get. But if enjoy playing a game of poker with characters who feel like old friends then you will enjoy playing for a while. it won't hook you in for very long, even with all of the unlockables offered, but you will have some fun for the time you spend with it.
Now, if Telltale Games could get a few more licenses for even more popular characters, we could get a really fantastic series of games. Maybe in Poker Night 3 would see Peter Griffin from Family Guy taking on Ryu from Street Fighter in a rousing game of 7 card stud. One can dream.