World Championship Poker 2 Review

It seems as if everyone is playing poker these days and this is due, in no small part, to the popular poker television shows broadcast by ESPN, the Travel Channel and others. The country has been going through "poker fever" as small informal games have cropped up all over the nation with players saying the infamous words, "all in," with delight and glee. So it is no wonder or surprise to anyone that a series of video games have followed suit. In this review, we will see if the game, "World Championship Poker 2," is just bluffing or is really of world championship status.

As poker games go, WCP2 offers a good variety of games–from the familiar "Texas Hold,em", to the more esoteric "Razz." There are 14 games in all, and quick instructions accompany each game for those unfamiliar with how to play. A ranking screen is always available for reference in order to help you see which hands are higher than others. This is very useful for beginners or the not so experienced card player.

The game interface has you starting out with selecting and configuring the physical attributes of your character. You can either choose the default look, or have a few minutes of entertainment in putting together your own character. The process is much like what you would expect a police graphic artist to do in assembling the likeness of a "perp." You select all the features of the player from a palette of face and body characteristics and voila, you are done. Some may find this part of the game a bit cheesy, but it does ad a little humor to the game.

Gameplay offers a quick-game mode and tournament mode game. The quick game is a sit down with several computer players around your standard darkly lit, smoke-filled back room. The computer players vary in strategy and aggression and are able to bluff quite realistically. The tournament game involves traveling around the world in search of poker action. Each tournament requires an entry fee, and these fees are accumulated by winning in previous tournaments. As you progress, the stakes get higher. Of course, during the course of the game, you’ll be running into Howard "The Professor" Lederer and his equally famous poker sister, Annie Duke.

WCP2 has a very realistic feel to it. The computer opponents gab and talk trash, as well as trying to bluff you. The game interface takes over the chores of tracking what is in the pot, what you need to do to raise, and what your options are. So for those who can,t keep track of the mounting raises, this is good news. As the human player, you have the option to "send" false signals to the other players by means of a "HUD" (heads-up display). By pointing an arrow within a status circle, you have the ability to give "tells." These signals are meant to throw the computer players off.

The game certainly feels as though you are in a real poker game. Each player inspects their cards, makes the appropriate raise, check, fold, or other action, says a few words, and then, onto to you, the human player. This realism, however, serves as one of the major problems of the game. While the pacing is very realistic, as compared to live poker, the slowness of play does not translate well into the video game world. Instead of increasing the anticipation or suspense, the video game counterpart starts to quickly bog down in a plodding manner. You,ll find yourself screaming; "Hurry UP!" after a few hours of play. For the impatient, this game is definitely not.

The computer opponents play with different characteristics. Some are aggressive and will bet on every pot, while others are more cautious and will only play strong hands. It is up to you to watch each player, make a mental note of their strategies, and use this information to your advantage. I was able to win a big hand by observing my opponents. In one particular game, my hand was not especially strong, but the rest of the table, except for one player, folded. I took a chance and guessed that if everyone dropped out this early, the cards must be bad for everyone. In the end, the computer opponent went "all in." A bluff? The opponent was coming on too strong. I called the raise. I had a pair of sevens. He had a pair of threes. It,s good to win.

The graphics for this game, are shall we say, underwhelming. As with many low budget produced games, not a whole lot of attention or time was given to the artwork. The characters appear almost two-dimensional and the animation sequences are pre-PS2 quality. This game has a slight advantage in the AI department, but the horrible graphics constantly remind you that it is not a well produced game. Again, this is another title that is more suited for the last-gen game console, PS1, than for the PS2. Nowhere, does this title utilize the powerful graphics capacity of the PS2. It is total underutilization of computing power.

World Championship Poker 2 serves more as a tutor on how to play the different variations of poker, rather than as an entertaining video game title. The game is able to prompt you when you make "questionable" calls and helps you to understand the game better. If you are someone who knows nothing about poker or is new to the game, WCP2 may serve as a valuable tool in getting you ready for the next home game.

However, WCP2 is a disappointment for people who are looking for an entertaining simulation of poker. WCP2 lacks imagination, quality graphics, and the "fun factor" which is required of any successful game title.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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