Poker Night 2 Review: Telltale’s iOS Card Game a Blast, Most of the Time

At first glance, mixing characters from Borderlands, Evil Dead, The Venture Bros., Portal and Sam and Max and making a poker game out of it all wouldn’t work. But with plenty of voiceovers and a solid poker engine, “Poker Night 2,” an admittedly “unnecessary sequel,” is a more than capable card-sim. Oozing with personality and unlockables, “Poker Night 2” turns your iPhone into a late night game of cards you won’t want to fold on.

This has everything to do with the conversation between the characters. Claptrap, Glados, Brock Samson, Ash Williams and Sam work together wonderfully. The banter during gameplay is weird, irrelevant and insane. You’ll love it. Every character has plenty to discuss and boy, do they. From their epic adventures on television, film, comics and video games, the five-some let it all loose. Potty-mouthed, lewd and silly, “Poker Night 2” is entertaining before the cards are dealt. At the same time, the words that are exchanged between players and the dealer during each hand are easily the game’s biggest selling point.

Regardless of the smart use of the creative licenses, the actual poker game is well-executed. Players respond realistically to behavior such as raises, checks and all-ins. But don’t let the whimsical nature of the game fool you; “Poker Night 2” is tough. More often than not, you’ll find the players skilled and smart. Playing “Poker Night 2” could actually make you a better poker player. At the same time, the game flows at a reasonable pace, which makes it easy to play a few hands on mass transit or in between work or console gaming.

There are a few reasons not to go “all-in” though. While there are plenty of voiceovers in the game, it all gets repetitive . After a while, you’ll just want to play poker, making all the silliness overdone. While that takes hours to actually happen, you will get bored of the chatter. There’s also no way to bypass it all either and just get to the game quicker. The 439 MB file size is also a bit much for iPhone owners with limited hard drive space.

In spite of the few misgivings, poker aficionados looking to get their card on, who have the hard drive space, will find it a stimulating and challenging sim that never lets you forget the characters across the table.

The game is also available on the PC, MAC, 360 Arcade, Steam and Playstation Network.

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About Patrick Hickey Jr. 12824 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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