I’m about to say something I never thought I would say…. let’s play poker. Seriously, when I started this site, I never thought I would sit down and review a poker game for it. But here we are and here I am, after a round or two with Max, StrongBad, The Heavy, and Tycho. And while I could never argue with the company, I must be very up front here. This game taught me there are definitely some card games I just plain don’t like.
Story: So you must have heard about this gaming club, and it’s your first time there. Looking around you will be greeted by a captain who, after talking your ear off about the foundation of the club (although you can skip this if you desire), will guide you to your table… where Tycho, the Heavy, Strong-Bad, and Max are already sitting. He then announces the game is Texas Hold’em, the price of $10,000, and who gets to start…. You are off. There is no world to save. There is no epic crisis that you need to take care of… it’s just you and the guys playing poker tonight!
And frankly, I have to say that is kinda refreshing to have a game willing to put all the big stuff away and just let you have a night to play. It’s different and I applaud it.
Graphics: Telltale did a great job with this one. The moment the game starts, it gives the feeling of Sam & Max’s somewhat cartoony, but very nice looking world. It doesn’t look real, but it is cleanly rendered, stylized, and looks like it’s up with the times. When you actually click to play, the intro walks you to the door where the elevator brings you downstairs, revealing a large room in which the game will take place. Just about everything looks in place here, rendered in the same stylized fashion as the outdoors the main menu showed… almost.
If you played the Sam & Max Telltale games, you will recognize just about everyone in the bar section of the room as well as your guide. They are straight out of those games, though to explain who they are would only give spoilers to games I honestly feel you should play for yourself… and then the weird looking giant orange ball of a bouncy guy goes by who’s style looks outright 2D and kinda like shit. This is one of the character of Homestar-Runner and he proves completely out of place here… and yet not. His home-games are the same as StrongBad, one of your opponents for the evening… but thankfully Strongbad, being a key part of the game, is rendered a lot better (as is Tycho, who’s source (Penny Arcade Comics) is also 2D in nature).
Sound: But if you chose to play this game, this is probably why, and it is very well done over all. Everyone sounds as they should, and hearing your favorites talk among themselves should be a treat. Personally, I found Max and StrongBad the better conversationalists, but it was amusing for the Heavy to personally threaten me over the table because I went toe-to-toe with him in the card game. Everyone is perfectly in their personality, be it insane to oozing so much sarcasm they could slither away on it. And to add a nice touch to this, you can adjust the amount of this chatter to your liking, with the options letting you pick from a handful of levels from dead silence to constantly going at it. VERY well done.
Gameplay: This is a tough spot for me to rate, to be rather honest. Before playing the game, I had never played Texas Hold’em, so while I knew I was about to play cards, I also had no idea how the game would be played… but this is not a card game I found myself liking.
Each player at the beginning of the game is handed 2 cards, and the each in turn decides based on those cards whether to bet, raise the bet (and all must match it) or fold. The a card is dealt in the center and repeat the process. In the end, you will be looking at a set of cards in the center along side the two in your hand to decide which ones make the best hand you can make and win at the table… or fold out if you don’t want to loose anymore and you think that hand isn't going to win.
While this sounds interesting, it quickly proved dull for me, as I wanted to interact with the cards themselves, not just look at them and play by adjusting my bet on the table alone. Curious, I looked up the game on Wikipedia and found the description matched what I was playing very directly, so I can not fault the game for doing it wrong. It was played exactly right. The problem is I just do not like Texas Hold’em.
For what it is, Poker Night at the Inventory is true to the real game, so fans of it should enjoy a few rounds, provided they like the characters at the table… but it is a game really only for them… and even then, it is a game to be played in small doses, as community games generally are always better when played with friends, not characters. This game would have been better if you could have replaced characters at the table with online players who also liked the actual card game.
Bugs: Absolutely none. The game ran perfectly for me.
Overall: Are you a fan of Texas Hold’em? You will probably find some fun to be had here if you are between the game being true to the actual card game and the witty banter it will offer from the characters you play against. But even then, you will get a few rounds out of it before deciding most likely you would rather play with your real friends and walk away. It’s worth having, but only if the price is cheap enough, because you will only play it in bite-sized doses.
If you don’t like the game, chances are this is just not the game for you. No matter how amusing the characters are or can be, if you are not having fun playing a card game, you probably shouldn’t be the one at the table.
out of 10