‘Prepare for a different kind of poker night in a very different kind of club.’
This was a game that really came out of left field. Who would think to put The Heavy from Team Fortress 2, Strongbad from Homestar Runner, Sam from Sam and Max, and Tycho from Penny Arcade together in a game, let alone a Poker game? Well whoever you are, I tip my hat to you. The result is a top notch game.
From the very beginning, Poker Night at the Inventory is dripping with atmosphere. As you take the elevator down from the back alley and are introduced to the various members of the club, part of you really believes that this could be a real place. The explanations are wacky, but with just enough of a hint of truth to make them palatable. Before you know it, you’re sitting down at the table with the other players, and it’s time for the game to begin. When the characters start speaking, you’re drawn even deeper into the game world. Every single one of these characters is pitch perfect, and it doesn’t seem out of place for them to be playing a friendly game of poker together. As the game continues, the various conversations that pop up seem very natural, and anyone with even a slight familiarity with any of the characters will be laughing their head off.
Unfortunately, if you have the conversation frequency set too high you’ll soon start hearing repeated conversations which will immediately pull you out of the experience, and hammer home that you’re just playing another video game. With the conversation frequency turned down, it will be quite some time before you get to this point. Something else that could have really helped with this would be having the option of more than just the same four characters to play with. I remember when the game came out there was a lot of talk of possible DLC to add new characters, but there has been absolutely no noise on that front since release. I realise that it’s probably very difficult to add new characters, as you would need to record all the new dialogue for that character, as well as the responses from the other characters, but I definitely think it’s be something people would be happy to buy as DLC, and it would greatly increase the longevity of the game.
Because, at the core, this is just another poker game. The mechanics of the game work really well (apart from some bizarre betting behaviour from the NPC’s on occasion), and I didn’t come across any bugs in my many play hours. But it’s the atmosphere that really makes this game, and after a while with the same old characters, the atmosphere starts to wear pretty thin. I would still highly recommend picking up the game if you’re a fan of any of the characters, but be aware that it’s a limited time experience.
What I liked – The banter between the characters. The atmosphere.
What I didn’t like – Not having more characters to choose from. Some bizarre play choices by the NPC’s. Repetitive dialogue after a while.
Rating – 4 out of 5 (Really Enjoyable)