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World Poker Tour PlayStation 2

Published by 2K Sports
Developed by Coresoft Inc.
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £19.99

World Poker Tour, an introduction.

It seems in recent years the appeal of Poker has been getting stronger and stronger. One variant of the game, Texas Hold'em, really seems to have a huge amount of interest. Naturally with interest in Poker being this great it's inevitable that PC and console games based on Poker would be released in an attempt to capitalize on that Poker fever.  World Poker Tour is the latest Poker game to hit the PlayStation 2, providing both an online and offline experience for Poker fans.

What's the game about?

World Poker Tour allows you to create your own character and either play online against your friends or take part in a single-player game. The single-player modes on offer are Quick Draw where you can play a one-off game with as little as 2 players or take part in 200 player tournaments. The main single-player mode is the World Poker Tour mode that sees you beginning as an amateur taking part in a ten tournament amateur season. There is also a Create-A-Game mode that allows you to create your own Hold'em, Stud or Draw game. In short then it certainly looks like a game that will appeal to Poker fans.

What's good about the game?

World Poker Tour has a variety of games and isn't just about Texas Hold'em. The other games on offer are Super Hold'em, Double Flop Hold'em, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Pineapple, Crazy Pineapple, Crazy Pineapple Hi/Lo, Tahoe, Billabong, Shanghai, 7 Card Stud, 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo, 5 Card Draw and Triple Draw 2-7. The character creation options in World Poker Tour are pretty impressive although many of the customisation options, such as tops, bottoms and shoes will have to be purchased with chips (that you win for accomplishing certain things in a game such as managing to beat a pair etc.) so you can't purchase these initially. The World Poker Tour mode is actually a well structured career mode that provides plenty of longevity. During a game you can make various facial expressions to attempt to throw off your opponents. Whether it actually does anything is another matter (and difficult to ascertain) but it's certainly an interesting addition.

What's not so good about the game?

What surprised me with World Poker Tour is that there aren't any tutorials in the game. Our review code didn't come with a manual and as I wasn't familiar with the game of Poker I had to resort to reading card game books and playing card game collections I have on the PC to learn the rules, which is not ideal. Of course the game rules might be explained in the game manual so we won't let this criticism affect the overall rating. What does deserve criticism though is the AI in World Poker Tour. The AI checks far too much and goes all-in (betting with all the cash they have) far too often. The AI will persevere when they have a less than ideal hand which gives an easy win to you. Even playing the game's strongest opponents it really doesn't feel like you're playing competent opponents, which is very unsatisfying. What makes this behaviour even more annoying is that the AI does actually play quite well at times but it keeps allowing the silly mistakes to creep in and spoil the game somewhat.

How does it look?

The graphics in World Poker Tour are quite poor. The character models are on the basic side but they look quite good and the various expressions they make are quite humorous. However when you play in a tournament you'll notice the players in the background (that are seated at other tables) hardly have any detail to them at all which is really disappointing (although hardly important). The locations you play in look OK but don't exactly push the PlayStation 2. At least you would think that but there are frame rate dips which is rather strange given the lack of graphical complexity on display here. Load times are on the long side, which is unfortunate.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Whilst deaf gamers will be able to play World Poker Tour without much hassle, the game doesn't go out of its way to be deaf gamer friendly. There are no subtitles in the game meaning that you'll miss out on the commentator's comments as well as those from the players you are playing against. The movie clips in the game which introduce the 'celebrity' players aren't subtitled either, although to be perfectly honest this isn't really a problem as they are quite dull and don't add anything to the game. If you press your square button during a game a small box will appear that displays the actions of your opponents so you'll know if they've checked, called or folded etc.

Final thoughts.

All things considered World Poker Tour is quite a decent Poker game that will allow you to enjoy a fairly detailed career with the World Poker Tour mode as well as allowing you to play online against your friends. The AI's crazy behaviour at times does spoil things somewhat and when you factor in the lack of subtitles, it dilutes the experience even further. Still if you can put up with the AI's foibles and don't mind your opponents' comments not being subtitled, there's enjoyment to be had here.

Overall Game Rating: 6.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

World Poker Tour is actually a decent Poker game but the occasional odd AI behaviour prevents it from being anything special. It's also very disappointing to find there are no subtitles in the game.