November 27, 2010

Nothing is More Hilarious Than Calling Someone A Baby

Have I mentioned I like Telltale Games? I like Telltale Games. They make funny stuff, and I always find games of theirs that I play genuinely enjoyable. Still, I was on the fence when I heard the announcement of Poker Night at the Inventory. I don’t know anything about Poker. Okay, that’s not true, but it’s not a card game I really enjoy. The concept of betting actual money just doesn’t appeal to me, so I never really got into it. Still, when I saw it was only going to be $5, I went ahead and jumped in. I liked the characters, and I trusted Telltale. The TF2 unlocks that showed up later also made me feel sure I made the right decision.

The game itself is kind of what you’d expect. You play Texas Hold’em Poker, and these characters you recognize say funny things. The dialog in the game is genuinely hilarious. I’ve laughed quite a bit while playing through it. Each character is true to their nature, and they have nice discussions back and forth that are meta and appropriate. For example, Tycho understands the Heavy is a character in a video game who gets drops from kills, but also discusses his background as if he were not. Similarly, Strong Bad and Tycho go back and forth on the relative popularity of their respective websites, for example. It works, and it’s really well-written and voiced.
There’s only so much voice work and funny jokes, though. It does run out. I had the game set to “idle chit-chat,” meaning the characters rarely talked, and I heard most of the jokes after a few hours or play. Sometimes another one I haven’t heard slips through, but if you had it turned up to more verbose settings, I’m sure you’d blow through the dialog in a much shorter period of time.

However, the game itself is just Poker. It’s sweetened with the TF2 unlocks, but it is Texas Hold’em. Rock Paper Shotgun seems to think that the Poker AI is not very good at all. This very well might be true! I don’t notice it, but I admit I only know the very basics of actual deep poker strategy. It does seem designed around people who aren’t particularly Poker players, which seems a weird decision when you’re making a Poker game. However, I have to say that, as a person who isn’t into Poker, I do find the gameplay pretty fun. I probably won’t keep playing it after I get all the TF2 unlocks (I’m only missing the Iron Curtain at this point) but I am enjoying myself. I have no problem with it.

Just know you’re getting a budget game, and that it isn’t anything more than Poker, and you’ll know whether or not this is a game to pick up. If you like Telltale and play TF2, this is really a no-brainer, though I hope you preordered and got the badass Poker Visor. If you just like Telltale, think about it. It is very entertaining while the dialog lasts, and you may discover that Poker isn’t as boring a game as you once thought.

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