Thursday, 24 March 2011

Full House Poker review

Full House Poker is the latest incarnation of the classic card game, using the Xbox Live avatars that have taken over Microsoft. Is it a royal flush or should you fold? Read on for our verdict.

FHP is classic poker, it adds nothing new to the card game. The way in which you play however, is completely unique. Using your Xbox avatar to play single player or online, you gain EXP and money which is added to your bankroll, which is available across all modes. Pretty simple stuff. Playing well also gives your EXP bonuses, which all adds up to help you reach new levels. Bonuses like win streaks, smart folds and bankrupting opponents all give you extra XP. Levelling up gives you access to new tables, casinos and outfits and again, your level remains the same across all modes, and you get points whether you play well or go bust. FHP rewards all players, not just the skilled poker veterans. This game is tailor made for this generation of gamers, who need extra rewards and incentives to keep playing.
The chip tricks are a great touch for the more casual players

Like most versions of poker, FHP is incredibly addictive, whether on single player tournaments, online tables or taking down poker pros. There are tournaments, standard games and one-on-one pro games. The standard games last as long as the players have chips, and are the best way to get used to the game, the controls and the tricks. You can have just you and one opponent, or you can have nine. It's up to you, the customisation is fantastic. The tournaments take place over a number of tables, and you can even see the other games taking place, which is a great feature. Hear the cheers of celebration drift across the room as someone wins a large pot. 

The only problem with offline play is the AI. For the most part, your offline opponents are way too aggressive. To see them going all in for a losing hand is not uncommon, as well as over half the table folding in their first move. It can be frustrating when you have a great hand but everyone folds, giving you a ridiculously low win and a wasted hand. This is why the online modes are where the real fun is at. Real players are much more cautious, not wanting to lose their hard earned chips. The only time you'll find someone going all in is for either a great hand or a last attempt to bluff their way into profit. The pots get much more valuable as the real opponents have much more incentive to increase the pot compared to the offline counterparts.
The tournament tables are all in the same room

It is great for poker newbies too, as there are mini video tutorials and a menu screen showing every poker hand and how powerful said hand is. The game really does accommodate all skill levels, as the more skilled players can join the higher stakes games and ignore all of the fun aspects if they so wish.

As far as poker games go, this is an excellent one. Each mode is fun to play for it's own reasons, the inclusion of avatars is really good, and the ability to play timidly or aggressively is great, as well as the chip tricks. 800MSP is definitely a good price for it, but it is probably only worth it if you know you are going to play for a long time.

8/10

Review by Louis Gardner

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