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World Poker Tour PSP

Published by 2K Sports
Developed by Coresoft Inc.
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

World Poker Tour, an introduction.

Poker and all of its variations has been enjoying enormous popularity of late. Texas Hold 'em in particular seems to be enjoying a staggering amount of popularity. Of course anything that's popular is going to end up as a PC or console game in one form or another and Poker games have been appearing left, right and centre over the last year or so. Earlier this year we looked at World Poker Tour for the PlayStation 2 (click here to read our review) and it's fair to say it was OK but it had a few problems. Let's take a look at the PSP version of World Poker Tour to see what it has to offer.

What's the game about?

World Poker Tour offers quick games and a fully fleshed out career mode. In total there are 4,000 Poker variations available, six Tour exclusive casinos and a handful of Poker professionals (as well as a whole load of fictitious AI characters to play against). 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 it offers a whole lot of Poker.

What's good about the game?

It's a natural assumption that the PSP version of World Poker Tour would simply be exactly the same as the PlayStation 2 version but whilst all the content of the PlayStation 2 version is present and correct, there is also plenty of additional content here as well as an improved AI. The PlayStation 2 version had AI that checked far too often. The AI would persist with hands that were of no use and this made winning far easier than it should have been. The PSP version has improved in this respect. Sure you'll still see a few odd decisions here and there but for the most part it's a good improvement and on this basis alone the PSP version is the one to go for if you have the choice.  Other additional content includes a further 20 WPT Invitational Events, Poker Lingo Tips, and 200 WPT AI opponents to play against,  extra clothing and items for your character and you can now have up to 1,000 players in a WPT Tournament amongst other things. Unlike a lot of PSP titles the game supports Infrastructure play meaning you can play against anyone who is online in multiplayer games and not just those who are sitting  next to you on the sofa. You can even play against PlayStation 2 gamers online (as well as PSP gamers) which is excellent.

What's not so good about the game?

The biggest problem with World Poker Tour on the PSP is the load times. Although most PSP games are dogged by long loading times the ones in World Poker Tour seem longer than usual. It can take around a minute to load up a game and it even takes around 30 seconds to quit a game and return to the main menu.  This kind of defeats the objective of having a quick game whilst on your travels. Perhaps rather more annoying is the wealth of dialogue in the game that still hasn't been subtitled.

How does it look?

Essentially the graphics are on a par with the PlayStation 2 version of the game. Being on a smaller screen makes the character models and environments look a little crisper.  The real problem here though is the loading times (as we've already mentioned). It's all very well have 3D character models and real-life casinos rendered in full 3D but personally I would sooner settle for a no frills 2D game that loaded much more quickly, didn't access the UMD half as much and was a lot kinder on the PSP battery as it would make the game more desirable for taking on long journeys.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

As we've already mentioned the game isn't as deaf gamer friendly as it could have been. Game commentary isn't subtitled, movies aren't subtitled and comments from the players aren't subtitled. The Poker Lingo Tips, which are messages that explain the terminology that the commentator and other players are using,  are displayed in text but it doesn't make much sense having them enabled when they are helping to explain the verbal comments that aren't even subtitled. Thankfully, despite the awful support for deaf gamers, the game is still perfectly playable for deaf gamers. The game manual helps somewhat as it explains most things you'll need to know to enjoy the game.

Final thoughts.

If you have wanted to get your hands on World Poker Tour and have yet to do so (and own a PSP), then this is definitely the version to purchase. The improved AI and extra features easily make this version superior to the other versions that appeared earlier this year. The AI is still prone to make odd decisions at times (although it's much better than in the PlayStation 2 version we played) and the support for deaf gamers still leaves a lot to be desired. Load times are also rather bothersome. Still it's great to see you can play online against friends who own either the PSP or PlayStation 2 version and this goes someway to compensating for the game's problems. The Career mode is also lengthy and satisfying meaning you'll certainly get your money's worth from the game.

Overall Game Rating: 7.0/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

The PSP version of World Poker Tour is easily the best version. The AI improvements and the additional content all help to make this a superior product to the PlayStation 2 version. It's great that you can play online against either PlayStation 2 or PSP gamers. Sadly though the support for deaf gamers is still very poor.