Rusty Venture used to sell faulty products to S-mart and apparently had a working relationship with Aperture founder Cave Johnson until his disappearance in the 1980s.
That seemingly baffling sentence is a good test for gauging how likely you are to enjoy Poker Night 2. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, then it might be best to mosey on. However, if you recognize the references above and laugh at the very thought, then have a seat at the table.
Like the original, your enjoyment of Poker Night 2 will depend greatly on how well acquainted you are with the different franchises showing up. The group is a little more eclectic this time around, pulling names from television and film as well as video games. You're now playing cards with Brock Samson, the kill-crazy bodyguard from Adult Swim's Venture Brothers, Claptrap the robot from Borderlands 2, Ash Williams, the cursed warrior from the Evil Dead film series, and Sam, Max's long-suffering talking dog detective partner. To top it off, GLaDOS from the Portal series has dropped in to act as dealer.
There's at least as much dialogue as the first game had, and conceivably much more. Themed games (available once the player has unlocked a deck, chips, and table from the same franchise and activated them all at once) include exclusive conversations you wouldn't hear otherwise, and GLaDOS will often interrupt the players to ask if they could hurry up so she could get back to observing her tests. This is a far more volatile group than the original lineup. Brock has a temper that is always threatening to surface (especially when he loses a hand), while Claptrap and GLaDOS both make several remarks about killing humans. Ash seems rather calm, almost dazed, but he's just happy to be away from deadites for a couple hours. And Sam is the most level-headed of the group, even though Max is sitting in the booth behind him trying to throw him off his game.
Poker Night 2 has loads of additional content, including a new game mode (Omaha Poker), unlockable decks, chips, and tables for each character that offer new dialogue and a complete redesign of the Inventory (the Sam and Max 25th anniversary set is my personal favorite), and 5 bounty items to collect, one from each player and GLaDOS. The unlocks are gained by spending Inventory tokens earned while playing, while the multitude of unlocks for both Team Fortress 2 and Borderlands 2 get handed out when the player wins another player's bounty item. Unlike the first game, bounty items are not put up randomly, but made available when certain challenges are met in-game. Another change to the bounty mechanic has the item won once the player simply wins the tournament, rather than having to knock out the character who put it up. Cameos and in-jokes abound, some of them pretty freaking obscure. It's a treasure hunt for detail lovers.
As before, there is the chance of dialogue repeating. Unfortunately, Telltale did not include a skip option this time around, for no discernible reason. Another letdown is the fact that Ash sounds nothing like himself. Nothing against the actor who voiced him, but why not try harder to get Bruce Campbell? It would've really added to the experience, especially when all the other characters are faithfully recreated down to the original voiceover.
Still, this is a dirt cheap title with a fun premise and solid execution, and I for one would like to see it continue. I've even had fun just speculating with other fans online about who should be included in the next installment. If you're a fan of any of the properties that Poker Night 2 has brought together, or if you just want to see what all the fuss is about, you won't regret the purchase. Telltale Games has added more unlocks, more characters, and more dialogue, all for the same price. It's hard to beat such a deal.