Poker Night at the Inventory
takes you to an underground club, The Inventory, that was established when a fear of banned gaming abounded. Now, the place is a sanctuary for whomever wants to play games. In particular, Poker Night at the Inventory
lets you play Texas Hold'Em against the four popular game characters mentioned above.
Personally, I'm pretty bad at poker. Given enough games, I will typically break even, but I'm not practiced enough to know the best strategies concerning when the cards in your hand simply have no hope of winning, or when I should go for the long shot and attempt to win the big pot. That, combined with the fact that your opponents are A.I.-controlled and hard to read (this isn't a simple case of insult sword fighting after all), my win-loss ratio drastically changes, and into the red I go.
Quite frankly, while the driving force of the game is Texas Hold'Em and the card game plays out as it should, the real draw is being able to play opposite Max, The Heavy, Strong Bad and Tycho, and with that comes the hilarious dialogue that develops between the characters.
After losing big and early in one of my first rounds in Poker Night, I was surprisingly presented with the option to watch the rest of the game. This first watching allowed me to gain a lot of appreciation for the product and for the sheer amount of conversation the four characters could have with each other.
While I did hear several repeated conversations, for the most part, the game does a good job of supplying a steady stream of new topics for the characters to discuss. This, combined with a hefty collection of one-liners for the characters to say as they hold, call, raise or fold their hands, adds a lot to the natural feeling of the experience. I also found it a nice touch whenever the conversation would get interrupted because a hand played out, and the character talking would simply say "So as I was saying" and casually go back into the discussion. It's a little thing, but it was done well.
Where the game seems to break down is the fact that all there really is, gameplay wise, is Texas Hold'Em, but considering the $5.00 price tag, Poker Night at the Inventory shouldn't have to do much more than it does to be impressive. What I'm hoping for is that Telltale will continue their episodic style with future "at the Inventory" episodes featuring other games, or maybe just more versions of poker with different characters.