April 2, 2007

PC Poker Gaming: World Championship Poker 2


Poker is a fickle mistress. You can win or lose, and sometimes, no matter how skilled you are, you can end up with some poor luck, and that can cost you a boatload.

Well for those of you who have just been burned one too many times, we have the surest bet around. Poker on your PC (or video game console of choice).

Now, this game is no spring chicken, its naerly 2 years old. So don't think that the graphics will be flashy, or that the social references will be current. What this game is though, is some solid poker.

Gamespot still ranks it among the highest review given to a poker game, and this is in a category with A LOT of bombs.

Here's a little of what they thought:

The Good: Smart artificial intelligence that plays any of the available poker variations quite well; 14 poker variations; fairly realistic character models and reaction animations; upgrade points give some intriguing boosts to your game; online across all platforms.

The Bad: Bluffing minigame is an interesting but flawed concept; commentary and soundtrack aren't particularly listenable; character-customization feature is weaker than in last year's game; psp version is more expensive than the rest, despite not offering any differing content.

Isn't it a quaint thought to remember back to last year, when a game like World Championship Poker could provide a fairly unassuming but playable game of console poker, and could be good simply by virtue of the fact that there weren't 12 billion other poker games available on the market? Yeah, well, those days are over. Marginal poker games are the new World War II first-person shooters, and you can't walk past a bargain bin in a game store without tripping over the spillage of middling card games for various platforms. But even with all that said, that doesn't mean that a poker game can't still deliver the goods when done right--it's just not done very often. World Championship Poker 2: Featuring Howard Lederer does just that. Despite a changing of the guard for the franchise to developer Point of View, the game bearing the Professor of Poker's name manages to improve in a number of key areas over its predecessor, not the least of which is in the realm of artificial intelligence. It's still got some presentational hurdles that you'll need to overcome to truly appreciate it, but in a year in which poker games became the most groanworthy trend in the industry, World Championship Poker 2 stands out as a diamond in the rough--if only comparatively.

So there it is, go read the rest of the review , and pick up this game so that you can practice your strategies, hone your odds calculating skills, and do it all for one low price, instead of countless big losses.

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Posted by Russell Miner at April 2, 2007 9:38 AM
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