Poker Night 2 Review
Poker Night 2 Box Art
System: Xbox 360*, PS3, PC
Dev: Telltale Games
Pub: Telltale Games
Release: April 24, 2013
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Violence, Suggestive Themes, Strong Language, Simulated Gambling, Use of Tobacco
Bring Your Poker Face
by Josh Wirtanen

Poker Night at the Inventory was an interesting little title that allowed players to challenge popular video game characters to several rounds of Texas hold ‘em. While it was certainly an enjoyable take on poker, it was the characters themselves, and the way those characters interacted with each other, that made the game worth playing. (Team Fortress 2’s Heavy and Penny Arcade’s Tycho Brahe were especially fun to watch.) So can the sequel, Poker Night 2, still hold our interest?

Well, that’s a silly question. Of course it can! Telltale has dealt up another group of opponents with extraordinarily large personalities. In fact, these characters are some of the largest personalities in all of gaming. For starters, Borderlands’ Claptrap is in the mix, and his presence alone is enough to make this title worth the price of admission. Throw Brock Samson from The Venture Bros., Ash Williams from Army of Darkness, and Sam from Sam and Max, and you have one of the zaniest collections of characters you could ever hope to see together in one place.

Poker Night 2 Screenshot

This time, however, the roster spreads beyond your opponents. GLaDOS from Portal is your dealer, and she’s here in tip-top evil form, just as she should be. She will be constantly undercutting you, making you question your choices, and just being the gloriously nasty A.I. that only GLaDOS can be. (Seeing GLaDOS interact with Claptrap is flat out brilliant.) If that’s not enough, Mad Moxxi from Borderlands will be your bartender, and Max, of Sam and Max, is just sort of hanging around for no real reason other than to support his good pal Sam and interject random bouts of insanity from time to time.

Like its predecessor, Poker Night 2 is really just another poker game on the surface. This time around, you have the option of choosing between Texas hold ‘em and Omaha. But the poker really isn’t anything more than just an excuse to gather all these personalities together and let them go completely nuts. In fact, you’ll be spending more time watching the absolutely crazy character interactions than you will actually be playing poker. Of course, you can always skip all the non-poker elements if you’d like, but there’s really no reason to ever do that. The dialogue in this game will have you practically rolling on the floor, and there’s enough of it that you shouldn’t have to worry about it getting repetitive until you’ve put in quite a few hours.

Poker Night 2 Screenshot

Just like its predecessor, the personalities in Poker Night 2 extend to the characters’ playing styles. For example, Claptrap tends to play incredibly unpredictably, oftentimes going all in or throwing around large amounts of chips while acting like he doesn’t exactly understand the rules. And you’re allowed, encouraged even, to use this to your advantage. You can actually learn your opponents’ playing styles and use that knowledge to determine when you think they’re bluffing.

Poker Night 2 Screenshot

As you win hands, you’ll be given special Inventory tokens, which you can use to buy new decks of cards, felts for the table, or poker chips. Of course, all of these things are themed around the games your opponents come from. (There’s a Borderlands set, for example.) It’s all just cosmetic, and none of it is all that exciting, but it’s a fun little quirk that certainly doesn’t hurt the game, by any means.

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