Poker Night 2: Re-Stocking the Inventory

Poker Night 2 builds upon what its predecessor nailed, making a fun, silly and legitimate poker night experience.
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When Poker Night at the Inventory first released, even the developers thought of it as a joke. Why was TellTale Games, a company known for episodic story driven adventures, making a poker simulation? Honestly, I don’t know, but I’m glad they did.

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Setting the Scene

At the game’s open, you are re-introduced to the Inventory, an underground poker club hidden in what seems an abandoned factory, hidden in obscurity. As soon as you enter your host, Reginal Van Winslow, guides you past all sorts of eaters eggs- characters, art work and other memorabilia. The whole scene creates an atmosphere like an underground club during prohibition– with video game characters. Where else would you rather play cards?

The InventoryCharacters from all branches of life greet you at your table in the underground. From The Venture Bros’ Brock Samson to Clap Trap from Borderlands, with GLADOS from Portal as your dealer. Talk about characters.

Once the introductions are out of the way, you can start to play cards. In Poker Night 2 you have a choice Texas Hold ‘Em or the new Omaha style of poker. From there, you play until there is only one man (or robot) standing. Pretty standard poker stuff, but that’s not what makes Poker Night great.

The Usual Suspects

Let me be the first to admit, I am not particularly good at poker. I don’t play it often, and when I do, it is not for glory. More often than not, it’s with a few friends, where we each put in five bucks and we drink a 24. Maybe even while smoking a cigar, just to stay classy. We talk about the most recent happenings and generally have fun, this is what I like about playing poker. I don’t want to play for the competition; I want to play the game. Poker Night is the first poker video game I have ever played that captures that feeling. 

The Usual SuspectsWith all the banter going around, one-on-one side conversations and reactions to in- game plays, you really feel like you’re at a table of friends you’ve known for years. Friends you can get drunk to give you that slight edge (this is an actual in game mechanic). This is a great game to play a few hands to blow off some steam, while unlocking some achievements along the way.

Raising the Stakes on Achievements

Speaking of achievements, the game comes with about 18, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. By accomplishing certain in-game challenges, known as bounties, you are able to unlock new items in other games. Depending on which platform you are playing, unlockables are available for titles such as Team Fortress 2 and Borderlands 2. There are also plenty of in game unlocks, from new card decks, tables and chips. None of these really add to the gameplay, but are a nice reward nonetheless for customization and a more immersive experience. Personally, I prefer this reward system which actually makes me want to pull off crazy bluffs.

All In?

For a simple game of poker, TellTale does a great job of creating an engaging, memorable experience. While it closely resembles its predecessor, it adds what is needed: new dialogue and a new diverse range of characters that you would never expect to see in the same room together. Even though you will eventually start hearing repeated dialogue, you are able to milk several hours of enjoyment from this game. For 4.99$, it is money well spent in my opinion.

If you are looking for a realistic, online poker experience, this is not the game for you. It never tried to be the most realistic poker game out there. Instead, it captured what I like most about poker: the experience of playing with friends who know virtually nothing about playing properly, and that is fun.

Poker Night 2: Re-Stocking the Inventory
Poker Night 2 builds upon what its predecessor nailed, making a fun, silly and legitimate poker night experience.

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Max Graham
Born in Canada, currently living in the US, I am part of a startup that designs games for physical therapy. In my spare time I like to keep up on games and share some of my thoughts with the community.