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Review: Playwize Poker & Casino - PS2

by Steven Williamson on 27 November 2006, 12:35

Tags: Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO), Simulation

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qahe7

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Gamble without fear



As a poker enthusiast and a one-time professional croupier I’ve played plenty of console poker and casino games, as well as trying my luck in casinos and online tournaments. Without exception, every console poker and casino game has been plagued with poor menus, unrealistic gameplay and a severe lack of the bustling atmosphere that you find in many real-life casinos. World Poker Tour by 2K games clawed back some credibility for the poker genre by creating realistically structured tournaments and intelligent gameplay, but let itself down with a few annoyances that suggested that the developers had never played in a real poker tournament. Playwize Poker & Casino has tried a bit harder than most to create a realistic experience of a casino night out, but it still doesn’t do enough to get that adrenaline pumping. The big draw of gambling is the thrill of playing with real money and the buzz on the casino floor, and while playing the likes of craps, roulette and poker on a console is decent practice for the main event, this latest game from 505 games still fails to engage you enough to want to keep on playing until the early hours.

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Before entering the casino there are a number of customisable options allowing you to amend the look of your character and whilst changing your clothes, body and facial features is a great option in most sport’s titles, in Playwize Poker & Casino it’s an unnecessary inclusion that neither adds to the gameplay experience nor let’s you get remotely close to making your character into a clone of yourself.

Once your character is created you’ll head to the 3D environment of the casino floor where you can wander around choosing from 12 different casino games.

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For newcomers to the casino world, Playwize Poker & Casino does allow you to learn about the games in some depth. Jump into a game of Texas hold-em, craps or blackjack and you can read the rules inside out which may give you an advantage if you ever enter the world of online gambling or a real casino.

Ultimately, the main problem lies in the fact that the rewards for winning the casino games aren’t as exciting as playing for real money. With your hard-earned money you can purchase a variety of accessories, from sunglasses to hats, in one of the casino boutiques. ‘Pimping’ your player is hardly a reward at all and this is where I feel that Playwize Poker Casino and other gambling games of this type will always fail to capture the imagination of the gamer. Of course, we can’t gamble for real on console games, but unfortunately that means that creating games that revolve around gambling will always be an unreqarding gaming experience. Playwize Poker & Casino may appeal to those who have never gambled before or those who want to take a sneak peak at what a casino may look like, and may even help in some small way to improve a poker player’s technique, but ultimately the fun and risk factor just isn’t present.