Have you ever said to yourself, "I want to play high-stakes poker with Brock Samson (Venture Bros), Claptrap (Borderlands), Ash Williams (Evil Dead / Army of Darkness), and Sam (Sam & Max)?" Me neither.
Therefore, I've now added Poker Night 2 to the list of things I never knew I needed.
Released back in 2013 by Telltale Games, Poker Night 2 is "the unnecessary sequel" to Poker Night at the Inventory, and plays pretty much the same. It does offer some new content, most notably adding an option to play Omaha as well as Texas Hold 'Em, but anyone who's played the original Poker Night will find this to be more of the same.
With that said, the game is very well done. The art is good, the banter is spot-on, and most of the characters have their actual voice actors playing them (to my disappointment, Ash is not voiced by Bruce Campbell, but Danny Webber does a good job with it). The players even have their own distinctive playstyles and tells—for instance, Brock bets and bluffs very aggressively, while Sam tends to be cautious and folds quickly. Most of the game's charm is not from the play itself, but from the characters' back-and-forth. My personal favorite so far has been hearing Brock and Ash discuss the pros and cons of the latter's mechanical hand and the neural interface it uses. "Looks cool but it's glitchy as hell."
The play itself is smooth and intuitive, the controls are simple and clear, and it gives a quick tutorial the first time you play in case, like me, you aren't much of a poker player. Let's be honest: this is just fancy, digital poker...but it's fancy, digital poker with some great voice acting, injecting humor into a game that can be stressful (and expensive) when trying it out at a casino.
Poker Night 2 isn't ever going to be an Earth-shattering, genre-defining game, and that's perfectly fine. This is a pleasant little diversion that was never meant to be anything else, and at five dollars on Steam, the price is just about right. So take a seat, ante up, and have a few laughs with some murderous psychopaths.