Saturday, 27 November 2010

Poker Night at the Inventory

When you think of poker, what do you think of? Texans, gamblers, cartoon rabbits? Telltale try to remove the whole Texans and gamblers part of poker (mostly), and replace it with a pinch of insanity by adding four of the...strangest people ever. Now before I start, I would like to add that I am in no way a gambler. Why? Because I've never seen the point of putting money on a game where you have a 25% chance of winning (that's poker not slots, which I'm also not a fan of). Also I'm below the betting age... of sorts, but even so, I do not bet on anything. So what do I think of Poker Night? Well I'm getting there, I'm getting there.

Gameplay: Being that this is a poker game, there is no story of sorts. You're at the inventory, a place where video game characters come together and play games in secret. These characters include; Strong Bad, Max the Rabbit, Tycho and the Heavy from Team Fortress 2. All these characters come together to play games of poker. There are some characters in the background, like Sam the Dog. There's also a big cameo from Reginald Van Winslow (the captain from Tales of Monkey Island), which hints towards another series of Tales, from what he's wearing and what he says (which I sort of look forward to). Talking of characters, there is one character I would of loved to see in a game like this, which is Guybrush! I know he's not the maddest character, but with his witty lines he would of made a great character to include. I would of preferred him over Tycho, but no. This just proves how much Lucas Arts have changed over the years... *sigh* I miss the days where Lucas Arts was a company who made original games and didn't puke out a Star Wars game every year... hmmm. Oh sort of got distracted, where was I again? Oh yeah gameplay.

Well as you expect, everything from the real game of poker is in the game. You all start off with £10,000 each, and you must get everyone's money to win. A simple game really. However, sometimes characters will put down special items, like Sam will put down his gun and badge, and when you get them out, you get their item to use in Team Fortress 2, and if you don't have TF2? Well tough. And why the hell don't you own TF2?! Anyway, the items don't really give you any bonus, they're just re-skins of old items. There are other unlocks, such as different sets of cards and tables...not much excitement there but still. There are some nice nods to other Telltale games, which is nice I suppose.

The writing is top notch here, from the lines that the characters say when making their moves, to them talking to one another about random stuff. This is probably one of the main reasons to buy the game. However, there is one problem with this. When you knock someone out the game, they just walk off into the background and you never hear from them again. This later becomes bothersome when you are left with one person. It slows down the game tremendously, as there's no funny chats between characters, so it almost becomes a bore to finish the game (remember what i said at the beginning). The witty puns are still there, but they don't match up really. Another thing is, after a few games you've basically heard all the dialogue in the game, and then it becomes repetitive and a rarity to get new dialogue.

One of the biggest problems, and for some people a deal breaker, is the multi-player... There is none. No LAN games and no online. I can't see a proper reason why they didn't add one. I can think of a way to add one; like single play, where no one plays the characters but you pick avatars to play, which don't talk but you have text boxes to chat to the other players while the madness goes on in the background. There. Simple. I came up with a concept in two minutes. Because there's no multi-player, the game has little legs and extras don't cut it these days. Now I know I've always gone with "A game must always stand on it's single player" but still, with a game made for lots of people having no multiplayer seems very odd.

All in all, the game doesn't have much substance, however, what's there is very good, a lot of Polish to hold up for what you pay WHICH IS £4! The game just rubs me in the right way, and as every woman knows rubbing me in the right way gives great rewards. My final thought is if you're the type of person who loves playing games with good writing, who likes betting games or can get hooked on games like club penguin, then I recommend them to pick up this game. It's funny, addictive and well crafted. Everything wanted from a game like this.

Liam Hackett
Maria Matthews (Editor)

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