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I hate to say it, but you dropped the ball.

posted by BrianBoyko on - last edited - Viewed by 2.5K users
Okay, I really, *really* was looking forward to PN2.

But I can't help but be really disappointed by this game. In short, Telltale phoned it in.

It is difficult to script, animate, etc., all the different interactions. I get that.

But unfortunately, this is an inartful sequel, that suffers from problems that you had three years to fix.

Problem 1: Poker

Despite three years since the last Poker Night, you didn't actually fix what were serious flaws in the poker engine. Misreading hands, illegal moves by characters (such as re-opening betting when a re-open isn't allowed) - these are basic mistakes in the hard and fast rules of poker. Certainly, there are strategic mistakes as well, such as offering No Limit Omaha instead of Pot Limit, only offering 25 big blind tournaments, etc, but honestly, the poker engine has to be the easiest part of the game to playtest, fix, and improve.

Problem 2: Dialogue

The game is like a Skinner box with the laughs. 97% of the game is repeated dialogue, and I'll go three or four tournaments without hearing something new. But the fact is, there is new dialogue, it's just doled out randomly. Additionally, many of the animations are annoying as hell. Like Claptrap's bbbbbbbbbb stuttering, which is only funny the first time, AND prevents the player from taking actions in the hand.

A simple algorithm which weights material which hasn't been played recently heavier than material which has would have fixed this problem immensely, and would have been relatively easy to implement. But you guys didn't do that either.

Problem 3: Scripting.

While you guys did an okay job, I'm not sure that you got the character's scripting right. Glados being the notable example - Glados was ironic and playful, teasing, and subtle. Glados the dealer hits you with a brick with the "kill yourself" remarks.

Problem 4: AI

This may improve with further play, but honestly, at least in the beginning, the aggressive AI of Ash AND the 25 big blind structure makes the game into a crapshoot. You can't wait for good cards, either, because the blinds go up every five hands. They're not as fun to play against, strategically, as the original Poker Night players. Considering how bad those guys were at poker, I think that's saying something.

Conclusion: You phoned it in.

I hate to say it, but you really phoned this one in. Maybe it was considered a throw-away title, but anything worth doing is worth doing well, and you just didn't do this well. I'm not saying that I'm angry or anything, I'm not demanding a refund - hell, I'll keep playing the game, but I am saying that I'm very disappointed in this game. Instead of being the first to preorder PN3, when that comes out, I'm going to hold off and wait for the reviews.

This could have been a knockout. But, it's just not very good.
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