I’m not much of a Poker player, but I made an exception for Poker Night at the Inventory. The idea of playing with some characters from video games made the idea of playing poker more appealing to me. Now, Poker Night at the Inventory 2 (or just Poker Night 2) released across many digital distribution systems. Once again we dive deep into The Inventory, a hidden speakeasy for video game characters to meet up, to play poker.
This time around we are joined by Brock Sampson (The Venture Bros.), Claptrap (Borderlands), Ash (Army of Darkness), and Sam (Sam & Max). It’s an interesting mix, and nice to see some non-videogame faces at the table. Oh and the dealer? It’s GlaDOS (Portal). So let’s deal in shall we?
I wanted to write this as a review, but I don’t feel up to the task. See, I’m not a poker player normally. I know a bit about the rank of hands, and how Texas Hold’em kind of works, but I’m not into the strategy of the game and I almost never play it, video game or otherwise. But I’m writing these impressions like a review on the areas I feel ok doing that.
To me, the poker is a secondary element of the game. But lets talk about the poker for a second. You’ve got Texas Hold’em style and Omaha Style poker that you can play. I thought it played fine and the mechanics worked, but then I’m not a big poker player. There is no multiplayer to this game, so don’t buy it thinking you can play poker with your real friends.
But that brings me to the what I think is the best part of the game, who you’re playing with. The graphics style of each character is nailed wonderfully. The Brock Sampson in game is a 3D model, but with cel shading to make him look as he does in The Venture Bros. cartoon. And somehow he doesn’t look out of place next to Claptrap, who isn’t cel shaded but retains his rough Borderlands look. This mixture of graphic styles works well.
Then we have the voice work, which is fantastic. Everybody, save Ash, has their original voice actor behind them. Instead of using just voice clips for the characters to say what they are doing (bet, check, etc) there’s all these wonderful interactions between people. Brock comments that it’s funny Sam is a dog playing Poker. Claptrap tries to convince Ash to try a Torque shotgun instead of his trusty Boomstick. These little intersections and dialogues are why I kept playing Poker Night 2. I wanted to hear everything they had to say.
Yes, you will start to hear repeats. And you might hear repeats within the same tournament (though not very often). That’s just the nature of the beast unfortunately. But there is a lot of dialogue in the game and while I’ve played a good couple hours over the weekend, I’m still hearing new things.
There’s also unlocks in the game. Decks, chips, and felts all themed to the players respective franchises. There’s also some bounties you can collect; a special item from each player. I’m playing on Xbox so each bounty gives me a themed avatar item, as well as a Borderlands 2 skin (Borderlands 2 skins are available on the other platforms as well.) I thought it was a cool idea to include things like that.
I did have some issues where the game kind of locked up for a minute, but then resumed itself. This happened a couple times, but wasn’t a game breaking lock up. There were also small things like characters not looking at who they were talking to quite right or such. Overall there might be a few little issues, but it plays fine and was nothing that made me stop playing.
So I think Poker Night 2 is a fun little game of Poker with some really fun players. I love the dialogues you get to listen to while playing, and the unlocks are kind of neat. The game is only $5 on Steam for PC/Mac versions. The Xbox Live Arcade version is 800 MS points ($10) and the PSN version is also $9.99. I don’t understand why it needed to be double the price to be on the consoles compared to Steam. Ten bucks is a little bit more than I’d like to pay for a poker game so you might want to check it out on Steam and play on PC/Mac instead. At the five dollar price point I think it’s a great little time waster, even more so if you’re big fans of any of the characters.
Poker Night at The Inventory 2 is developed and published by telltale games. It’s available for PC/Mac on Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network, and iOS. It costs $4.99 to $9.99 depending on your format of choice.
I played it on Xbox 360 for a couple hours, being not great at poker, but loving all the dialogue.