Poker Night 2 is the second release in the Inventory Series brought to us by Tell Tale Games, who have a habit of bringing to us a host of fan favourite characters and making them play poker with us. What could be better? Tell Tale have a strong history of excellent games in their library – Tales of Monkey Island, the Sam & Max series, Back to the Future: The Game, and of course they currently have the gaming world in tears with their The Walking Dead series of games. Though Poker Night at the Inventory 2 doesn’t share the same weight and depth of these past games (It is just a funny poker sim after all) it’s still an excellent title for Tell Tale to add to their development history.
As far as the poker goes for this game it is pretty standard – there are two modes available, Omaha and Texas Hold ‘Em. Omaha gives the players four cards but they can only use two of them when pairing them up to the dealer’s cards on the table. The game is very beginner friendly, so if you’re new to poker but want to win some of the sweet Team Fortress 2 and Borderlands unlockables then go for it – the game will provide you will a great tutorial and a handy ‘cheat sheet’ you can refer to before you bet, check, fold, call, to have a look at how you could change your hand into a winning hand. Actually, if you’re new to poker or a bit rusty and want somewhere to learn and improve then this is a pretty good place to start in regards to learning rules and trying to figure out strategies in a safe environment. Though it must be said that there is little thrill in this game due to no money being bet – which is not a criticism of the game, more a problem that poker simulators have really. Especially since the money in this game doesn’t get you anything.
The only things you’re playing for are tokens, tasks and unlockables. Tokens are great – you are awarded 50 tokens for coming second and 100 for coming first. With these tokens you can unlock themed chips, cards and felts which, if you purchase and select a set, will change the entire background of the Inventory in addition to a characters outfit/skin. For example, if you purchase and set all the Portal gear (gear is themed around all characters at the table and GLaDOS) then Claptrap will have a Turret skin and the Inventory will be themed as Aperture Science Laboratories, and GLaDOS will drop turrets on the table when you’re out, because she’s GLaDOS. Tasks are an interesting feature of the game which makes sure you get your monies worth – instead of just putting forward bounties (items character gamble which, if you win, will grant you TF2/Borderlands goodies) all the time, in between each bounty game there are task games which will set three random challenges you must complete before being allowed to nab another bounty. These tasks range from easy – come second or better in two consecutive tournaments – to headache inducing rage – win a game without going below $10,000 (You start off with $20,000). The latter took ages to complete, if a computer calls or raises you to a point where you go below $10,000 then you probably won’t have enough money to cover the next few blinds anyway so folding isn’t an option – you’ll probably need to start over. The unlockables in this game are fantastic, both for Borderlands and TF2. That’s probably going to be the main reason most people are playing this game – and it’s worth it. Chell’s Long Fall Boots look brilliant on the Scout. They’re the best item there – which is probably why it’s the last item you can win to keep you playing. Smart move Tell Tale.
Outside of the poker and the unlockables, the main aspect of the game which makes it is the characters you’re playing against and how they interact with each other – the poker is the backbone of this game, but the main meat and attraction is all the personality that oozes from each character you’re playing with. We have Brock Samson (The Venture Brothers), Claptrap (Borderlands), Ash Williams (The Army Of Darkness/Evil Dead), Sam (Sam & Max – though Max is still in this game and interacts with all the characters too, he just isn’t playing poker) and of course GLaDOS (Portal – like you needed telling). A lot of care has obviously been taken to make sure these characters are just how they are in their original franchises, and a lot of effort has been made to make the game funny – which it is, it’s very funny. We get to find out a whole lot about Ash and his partner Wendy which any Evil Dead/Army of Darkness fans will love. Claptrap is his annoying self, he gets some great dialogue with GLaDOS due to the two of them being robots. Brock has some of the best facial expressions though he’s a man of few words in comparison to the loudmouth that is Claptrap. Sam is a dog of few words, though he talks to Max often who sits behind him. The dialogue between them all is well crafted and hilarious. When Ash is getting annoyed at Sam he refers to him as Clifford or Marmaduke, there’s a nice bit of dialogue between Brock and GLaDOS about Cave Johnson. You need to play the game though to truly appreciate the characters and effort that’s being put in. For £3.99, considering all the unlockable items, if you’re a fan of poker, want to learn, or are just interested in the array of characters that are in the game, then you really can’t go wrong.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.