TA Review: Poker Night 2

TA Review: Poker Night 2

Why would I want to be all-in a jackass?

Written by mancide (mancide) on 24 April 13 at 17:01

Poker portrayed in video game form has always lacked one element that getting a group of your friends together for a poker night has, the conversation. Telltale Games' Poker Night 2 takes the focus off of the cards, and brings it to the conversation at the table. But this begs the question, does that conversation enhance the quality of the game?

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The premise of Poker Night 2 is simple. You are the fifth man at a $20,000 cash buy in tournament hosted at "The Inventory". Your competitors are multi-media stars from various forms of media: Brock Samson from Adult Swim's animated show The Venture Bros., Claptrap from Gearbox Software's Borderlands franchise, Sam from the Sam & Max video game and comic book series, and finally Ash Williams from the classic Army of Darkness movie. Your ever-so-gracious dealer for the evening is none other than Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System from Aperture Science research facilities, otherwise known as GLaDOS. Your ultimate goal is to be the last man standing at the table, however you should not rush to your goal. The banter between your competitors and the dealer makes the journey all the more interesting.

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You start out playing Texas Hold'em, but after your initial tournament you have the option to play the Omaha variety of poker as well. For those of you unfamiliar with this variant of poker the premise is similar to Hold'em. You are dealt four "hole" cards, of which you must use your best two. You then need to use the best three cards from the five community cards that are dealt in a similar fashion to Hold'em. In addition to unlocking the ability to play Omaha after your first tournament, the bounty system is also introduced. To participate in the bounty system, you are given three random tasks you must complete. These do not all have to be completed in the same tournament, and once you have completed the tasks you are able to play for a special prize that is put up by one of the contestants. You must win that tournament to collect your bounty reward and the Avatar item associated with that bounty.

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During the evening, you can also purchase libations for your whales that will help you identify their signature "tells". The more your competition imbibes, the easier it is for you to identify the strength or weakness of their current hand.

The card playing mechanics are just as great as the conversation itself. You can easily identify your hole cards at all times on the screen, as well as the community cards. Checks, bets, raises, and folds are easily indicated at the top of the screen. The presentation during all-in-showdowns is very much reminiscent of televised poker, with the camera angle zooming in on each contestants face as the next community card is turned over. Winning percentages are also displayed at the top of the screen during these moments to give you a real-time status of your probability of winning, or losing, the hand.

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The achievements for the game are fairly straight forward. There are achievements tied to winning your first hand, your first tournament, and buying the first round of drinks. Additional achievements are tied to unlocking each character's bounty item which will also unlock a related avatar item for your use. The bounty achievements will probably be the ones that keep you coming back to the table for more witty banter and chip-splashing, as each of these require you to meet three bounty requirements before attempting to win the item. At minimum, this would require playing at least eleven tournaments, assuming you could complete all three requirements in one tournament and win the bounty item on your first attempt. The remaining achievements are tied to unlocking and using various themed chips, decks, and room decor at the same time, as well as unlocking all of the variants of each of these items.

Poker Night 2 succeeds at breaking the fourth-wall during the entire game. This game should be viewed more as a social simulation rather than a poker simulation. The entertainment experience is highly tied to the conversations and banter between your competitors. The poker, along with the adult-beverages, are simply used as a method to facilitate this process.

The reviewer spent over 7 hours splashing-chips, buying drinks, and unlocking 9 of 18 achievements. A review copy was provided in advance by the developer.

Review score: Given 4_5 stars by mancide
T0X1C Z0MB1E TZ - TA guys...you rule.
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Last post: 22 Feb 14 at 00:54
Posted on 24 April 13 at 17:04
I really want this game, I might get it! :D
HUstlinonradio - I hate that you can now only purchase dlc on xbox.com with a credit card
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Last post: 29 Mar at 16:14
Posted on 24 April 13 at 17:19
Still kinda peeved that it's 800MSP and it's $5 on PC
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Last post: 30 Oct 13 at 18:48
Posted on 24 April 13 at 17:20
eh id rather get the team fortress 2 item instead of avatar awards+ its cheaper on steam
Aaronius Rex
Aaronius Rex
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Last post: 12 Mar 14 at 18:31
Posted on 24 April 13 at 17:28
I am excited by the game due to the characters but over-all it's still just poker and I will probably wait for the price drop.
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Last post: 17 Dec 14 at 18:00
Posted on 24 April 13 at 17:39
Already preordered on Steam, but it's going to release in 2 days (why Valve? why?).

I might get this if I need another game for punchcards, I loved the first one. And I don't play TF2 on PC so I don't need those items.
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Last post: 31 Jan at 03:21
Posted on 24 April 13 at 18:06
Definently getting this one at some point. Maybe I'll finally be able to grab that brass ring called a royal flush. Been playing poker for over 30 years and I've never gotten a "legitimate" (no wild cards) royal flush.
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Last post: 27 Mar at 05:35
Posted on 24 April 13 at 18:22
I didn't know this game was coming out lol but this looks really good
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Last post: 23 Jul 13 at 22:48
Posted on 24 April 13 at 18:33
I wish there was multiplayer. Nonetheless, this game will be fun and enjoyable. I can't wait to hear the chatter and banter. Tonight I dine in The Inventory!!
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Last post: 28 Mar at 23:28
Posted on 24 April 13 at 18:34
its a very slow paced poker game with no online. how can you possibly give it 4 and a half stars.
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Last post: 26 Mar at 04:33
Posted on 24 April 13 at 18:40
Hairy Cabbage said:its a very slow paced poker game with no online. how can you possibly give it 4 and a half stars.No online?? I was excited to buy this game until I heard that. What a disappointment.
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Last post: 01 Mar at 17:47
Posted on 24 April 13 at 18:54
Wait, no online? Well that's a dealbreaker. :(
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Last post: 16 Jul 13 at 04:35
Posted on 24 April 13 at 19:29
HUstlinonradio said:Still kinda peeved that it's 800MSP and it's $5 on PCWelcome to the Xbox.
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Last post: 22 Jan at 19:46
Posted on 24 April 13 at 19:37
Being a poker game you forgot to state that there is no online mode?! A poker game with no online wtf?! IMO That`s strange, very very strange shock

Also no Guybrush Threepwood either! He would have been perfect for this game!
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Last post: 14 Mar at 14:30
Posted on 24 April 13 at 19:37
Hairy Cabbage said:its a very slow paced poker game with no online. how can you possibly give it 4 and a half stars.I would give it 2.5 stars ... ...
osubluejacket - I think I'm going to stick by my decision to not re-play Inquisition until all of the DLC comes out.
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Last post: Today at 06:08
Posted on 24 April 13 at 19:42
Hairy Cabbage said:its a very slow paced poker game with no online. how can you possibly give it 4 and a half stars.Always keep in mind that this is just one person's opinion on behalf of the site. mancide's review was specifically focused on the experience of playing with the featured characters. While the lack of online may be a deal-breaker for some, it was clearly not the focus of the game or the review.
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Last post: Yesterday at 23:20
Posted on 24 April 13 at 21:27
Looks like a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. I don't understand why people are whining about an online mode. It's a single player game with you interacting with the 4 other players and listening to their banter. An online mode would defeat the purpose of the game.

As the reviewer stated:
"This game should be viewed more as a social simulation rather than a poker simulation."
That says it all.
Paul Wesley 91 - I wonder why they changed the win steak panel to show 5 instead of 10.
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Last post: 06 Oct 14 at 15:40
Posted on 24 April 13 at 22:16
I was going to get this, until they decided to double the price for xbox.
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Last post: 23 Jul 14 at 18:12
Posted on 24 April 13 at 23:04
Paul Wesley 91 said:I was going to get this, until they decided to double the price for xbox.800MSP is 12 bucks for me, compared to 5 on steam... sheesh, I'll just wait for a steam sale and get it for $2.50
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Posted on 24 April 13 at 23:44
Nice review guys !!!