I never thought I would come home night after night, spending hours on end sitting in my home office playing poker. Telltale games has a true gift at being able to target gamers like myself that normally wouldn’t have any interest in poker or card games in general, but can’t help themselves to play just one more hand in Poker Night 2. The cartoony visual style and charming personalities from various games, television shows and movies blend together into a coherent and highly additive package.
Thanks to the likes of the loudmouth tin can Claptrap from Borderlands, Sam from the Sam & Max series, Brock Samson from The Venture Bros. and “Hail to the King” Ash from Army of Darkness, Poker Night 2 features some of the most colorful and charming characters. The dealer in the game, GLaDOS never misses an opportunity to throw an insult in your general direction either. It’s an outrageous cast of characters (including additional cameos) that you would never think would appear in the same room together, yet alone be found playing in a high stakes poker match.
With the characters constantly bantering back and forth throughout, the camera pans around to give the best view of the conversation. The dialogue is clever and witty with a majority of the jokes chuckle worthy. While the actual poker gameplay may only be adequate, gamers will buy Poker Night 2 because of the included personalities and humor. The poker itself comes in two different varieties, Texas Hold ‘em and Omaha Hold ‘em, neither comes closes to the amount of options that can be found in online poker websites. In fact, the game doesn’t feature any type of multiplayer, so if you are have no interest in the characters; you will find the game very bare bones.
Performing well in a tournament rewards you with tokens that are used to unlock various items within the game, as well as pay for drinks. Nothing beats a drunken Claptrap. There are multiple sets of themed poker chips, card decks and table felts that can be purchased based on the characters in the game. Not only does using one complete set change the appearance of the room, but it will open up different sets of dialogue.
The addition of bounties allows you to try and win a special item from the other players, such as the Necronomicon from Ash – just don’t forget to say Klaatu Barada Nikto. Eliminating the player with the bounty item rewards new skins to customize your character in Borderlands 2, as well as platform specific items: Team Fortress 2 items on Steam, Avatar items on Xbox 360 and exclusive themes on PlayStation 3.
The personality and charm of Poker Night 2 only goes so far once you have heard all of dialog and unlocked all the items. While not a big poker player, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the title, even if I still go “all-in” more often than I should. I swear GLaDOS and Claptrap are secretly working together. While the lack of options hurts the game in the long run, Poker Night 2 doesn’t disappoint.Note: Poker Night 2 was reviewed on PC. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.