Saturday, 27 November 2010

Review: Poker Night at the Inventory

Before Poker Night at the Inventory the only card game I really knew much about was Liar which I was obviously terrible at. I have no poker face, getting decent cards means huge grin appears on my face before I attempt to look serious or disapointed - by which time it's too late and my opponents are onto me like a shot.

However having now played against Max (from Sam and Max hit the road) I have learnt the perfect poker defense - consistantly crazy comments and wild bluffing. Somehow I doubt I could pull it off as well as the master but I'm pretty sure I could muddle through a real game now.

Or Could I?

That's right, I'm bluffing. I'm still useless at any card game, especially poker it seems. One of the reasons I'm still rubbish is because there's a lack of any useful poker guide within the game, they kind of assume you know what you're doing straight from the get-go. It took me a while to learn the different rankings of card combinations and I'm still not 100% sure. If I win a round without it being based on doubles or three-of-a-kinds its due to complete and utter luck.

Some kind of "Strong bad teaches you poker" would have been an awesome addition to this, or perhaps you could have been taught by your favourite character of the four. What Telltale have done however is create a guide on the different hands outside of the main game here

Lets put the poker game aside for now, because lets face it, no one is going to buy this for the gameplay, there are too many poker games out there for this. No, if you get this it'll be for the characters involved and their interactions.

And they're as awesome as Strongbad's Dangeresque shades, having these 4 "giants" of the gaming industry just chatting is great to watch. I could spend all day giving examples but that would be completely spoileriffic. I laughed so many times however and even after several hours of play I'm still hearing new stories from Max and new insults from StrongBad. The heavy was surprisingly entertaining especially the moment he refered to StrongBad as "Hey, Little-Heavy..."

Tycho was a mixed bag for me, I kind of imagined he'd be more sarcastic than doom & gloom and that he'd use bigger and longer words to appear more educated than the others (although education did come up!) Plus I'm pretty sure that's not what the real guy sounds like so that was constantly at the back of my mind. His best comment was when he turned to me (eg, the player) and said "I'm going to be 100% completely honest with you: you should call me on this..." to which my response was "arghh! Is he bluffing? Or is he really being honest?! Arghhh!"

I also think a trick or two was missed by Telltale (providing this doesn't happen and I've just not seen it yet) that we should have seen more cameos from their other games. We did see Stinky and Mama Bosco from Sam and max playing something or other and also Sam the dog (doing his g-man thing.) But What about Morgan Le Flay (from the Monkey island adventures) serving us drinks? Or Guybrush being thrown out for being poor? That would have been awesome.

Defeating everyone is possible however, even for a complete no-hoper like myself. Winning a tournament means you'll be able to unlock certain items depending on who you defeat - like different poker tables or decks. Occasionally a character will be strapped for cash at the start of a game and will instead offer up a personal item as collateral, for instance the Heavy Weapons Guy will offer up Sasha, his Mini-gun. If you then defeat this character you obtain this special item! Woot!

If you're a fan of any of these characters this has to be worth the purchase for you, after all it's dirt cheap anyway!

Pokernight at the Inventory is available from Telltale games here!

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