When the trailer for Telltale Games’ Poker Night 2 was released to the Internet on April 1st, 2013, I thought to myself, “Haha, this is a great April Fools joke. I wish it was actually a real thing, but who would put this cast of characters into a poker game? That’s crazy!” Little did I know then that I was very wrong. I later found out that the game was real, so I shelled out my five dollars to see what was up. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually pretty awesome.
Telltale Games’ Poker Night 2 (Xbox 360, PC[Reviewed])
Devoloper: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Released: April 26, 2013
Poker Night 2’s main attraction is the interactions between the characters. You’d be surprised at the amount of conversations that could arise between Brock Samson, the badass bodyguard from Adult Swim’s The Venture Brothers, Borderlands’ cute robot mascot (roboscot?) Claptrap, Ash Williams from the cult classics Army of Darkness and The Evil Dead, Sam from the Sam and Max series, and Aperture Science’s evil overlord, GLaDOS. The game is well written, with witty jokes and fun interactions flying around between all characters. If you are a fan of one or more of these characters, I recommend that you stop reading this review and go buy the game right now. The characters are all true to the source material in their dialogue and actions, and are a lot of fun to play Poker with because of it.
You may be asking me right now, “Sure, the character interactions are great, but how’s the poker?” I’m happy to report that the Poker AIs are actually pretty good (as far as I can tell, I don’t play much poker). The available variants are Texas Hold ‘Em, where each player must make a playable hand out of any combination of their two hole cards and 5 community cards, and Omaha, where each player is dealt 4 hole cards, and they have create a hand using exactly 2 hole cards and 3 community cards.
No matter what variant you’re playing, however, the gameplay is challenging, but not insurmountable (again, though, I’m kind of a poker noob). Each character has a different playstyle, too, corresponding to their character. Brock is mostly conservative, but will go big when it suits him; Claptrap is kind of derpy, playing bad hands more than he should; Ash bets big, often going all in on relatively weak hands; while Sam is super conservative, with moments of idiocy. Altogether, they provide a varied and interesting game. Also, you can win Team Fortress 2 items, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Overall, Telltale Games’ Poker Night 2 is a decent poker simulator, with well-written and well-acted character interaction and plenty of interesting unlockables. It’s definitely worth $5.