Updating my review on this fairly meh Poker game.
I didn’t actually think I was going to update this review for several months now but today I suddenly wanted to. I’m fickle that way. The original review was pretty awful though a lot of the same thoughts and feelings are still within this one. I actually did replay it the past couple of days to make sure my opinion was still the same. And it is. Hope you enjoy!
A Paladin’s Steam Review: Poker Night 2. Amusing High Stakes Poker with a Hint of Potential AI Cheating.
- Genre: Single Player Comedy Card Game.
- Developed and Published by: Telltale Games
- Platform: Windows and MacOSX.
- Business Model: Base Game
- Copy Purchased by Myself
Overall Gameplay Thoughts
It’s a cross-over poker game, plain and simple. Where the player plays against four other characters from different universes in media The four characters, Brock, Ash, Claptrap and Sam, add to the atmosphere chatting and bantering to each other. They’ll talk about events in their universes, stories of what happened to them and generally hang out. It’ll help to know at least half of the cast or much of the humor/references will go over your head. As far as the poker aspect is concerned, there’s the option to play either Texas Hold’em or Omaha rules. The objective is to win the Poker Tournament and not lose the $20K buy-in. Good luck, you’re probably going to need it. This game has a vicious difficulty that I can only surmise is due to quite a bit of cheating on the AI’s part. Far too many times I’d have a pair of aces only for the AI to bet high and get a straight or flush. That’s one example of many where the AI feels far too omniscient for its own good. Even if it isn’t cheating, it’s way too convenient how many times the other players win. Outside of winning poker, you can get chances at earning each character’s special trophy and earn poker coins to unlock cosmetic items. To get said chance at winning a character’s special trophy item, you’ll need to complete the objectives given to you. Once you’ve done that, win a tournament. Again, good luck on that.
The Characters and Interactions
It’s a pretty good selection of characters in this game that work off each other rather well. Claptrap is his usual self. So, you’ll like/dislike him just as much you do in Borderlands. GLaDOS makes for an entertaining poker dealer with her usual biting barbs at the contestants. I didn’t find Ash Williams to be all that interesting. I’m curious why they picked him over any other number of Telltale characters they could have used. Brock is an amusing straight man and carries himself well. While Sam makes his entrance to the series with Max in the background being, well, Max. They tell some interesting stories and really, this is where the meat of the game is. Which shouldn’t be surprising as Telltale is really good with character interactions. There’s quite a bit of amusment to be had just hearing these five characters talk to each other. Whether its about how good that bet was or what kind of dog Sam is, there’s quite the range of subjects brought up at The Inventory. You’ll get at least a couple of hours of lines that are new or fresh before they start getting repeated. After that, you’ll hear quite a few lines repeated with a the occasional story being brought up now and then.
PC Settings and Stability Problems
Graphics options are pretty limited. There’s a rendering quality slider that swaps between low and high. Anti-aliasing is only switchable between on and off. Additionally, there’s a plentiful amount of screen resolutions and full-screen on/off. There’s music, sound and voice audio sliders as well as subtitles. The only gameplay options are “how to play”…so not much to be found here. There’s no difficulty slider so if you think the game is too easy/hard: you’re out of luck. I should also note that there isn’t any Steam Cloud support.
Upon replaying it for this review, I had it crash on me a couple of times for no discernable reason. I did try making it a windowed game and that seemed to help but I can’t be 100% certain that fixed it. There’s also been a number of reports on the Steam community that also seem to indicate crashing problems with the latest releases of Windows 10. So, I’m not too sure how long this game will continue to run if it’s this unstable already.
If you’re going to pick up Poker Night 2, pick it up for the characters and interaction. Playing poker against AI is a tricky business at best and it’s easy to think its cheating even if it really isn’t. Though in this case, I do think PN2 is cheating at times. The convenience of how good their hands can be is just a little too much for me to buy. PN2 is good for a couple of hours and by then you’ll have heard all the fresh lines before the characters start repeating themselves ad nauseam. After that, there’s really not much of a reason to keep playing. Tells are too telegraphed and there isn’t much to really draw you in. Still, if you want to listen to GLaDOS berate Sam for making a lousy bet, I’ve heard of worse ideas.
Thanks for reading!