World Championship Poker 2

Format: PS2
Oxygen Games

5 060015 535718
Age Restrictions: PG
20 April 2007

World Championship Poker 2 features a much more detailed one player game, where you now have to work your way up the ranks, starting in your mum's basement. Once you start winning and accumulating money, you can spend your winnings on increasingly better pads, and furnishings. Hit a losing streak, and you may have to sell your stuff to stay in the game. Fourteen types of poker are featured, including Texas Hold'em, Five Card Draw, Seven Card Stud and Pineapple...

First things first. If you don't like poker then there's no point in reading any further. If you are an avid player, or are interested in learning how to play the many varieties out there, then this is not a half bad place to start.

I don't know whether many parents would approve of their kids learning to play poker, but apparently this managed to get a PG rating. No doubt something do with training our young ones up for the impending number of super casinos that will soon be coming to a plot of land near you.

Oddly enough, for a budget priced game, there's quite a good character design facility that allows you to create a fairly passable likeness of yourself from a limited range of options. And once you've created your character you get a range of gaming options.

One of the biggest problems is that having a poker face, or being good at reading other players faces is totally redundant with most poker games - a skill that most poker players will tell you is essential in playing a good game. The developers have tried to get around this with the introduction of the Eye Toy USB camera. Not having one handy I can't comment on how effective this is. However, the fact that it is even used is an impressive step forward.

There are lots of great touches like this which you have no right expecting from a budget game, yet they're crammed in there.

Okay it looks ugly and the sound is laughable, but as far as fun goes this game has it by the bucketful. And to be honest that's all that really matters when it comes to games like this. However, there's not enough variety here to warrant purchasing this title if you already own the first volume.

In short, a good, solid release that is great fun to play. And, and under £20, it won't bankrupt you. Certainly worth betting your cash on.

Nick Smithson

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