Stacked with Daniel Negranu actually rises above the standard in some ways but is about the same in others. It has Daniel Negranu as its main character. Daniel, Kid Poker, as he is known in some circles has a reputation as being one of the all time great poker players. He is a part of the game in all senses. The title, which bears his name, as well as his tips throughout the game bring him into your living room to help you learn and master the art of playing Texas Hold’em.
I won’t delve too deeply into the ins and outs of poker or even Texas Hold’em here but suffice to say that the game of Hold’em is more about the social element than any other poker variant. This is part of what makes console poker games not so good. Stacked, on the other hand, does a decent job with the computer AI of the opponents. They seem to act differently than each other as well as reacting to your playing style better than in previous poker games. They aren’t as good as playing against real people though at the same time you don’t have the reckless, all-in mentality that you experience in the play for free games online.
On that note, there is a decent online component to the game as well that I had little time to check out. There didn’t seem to be a great amount of people playing the PS2 version online but that might be due to the fewer amounts of PS2 owners with the adaptors to play online with. I can imagine there is a bigger following on the Xbox or PC online side.
My biggest complaint on the game is that it is only Hold’em. While that allowed them to do better in the game play for that game it also means that it gets old fairly quickly. The addition of a few variants of poker would have gone a long way to the longevity of the game.
Visually, it is nothing special. The UI and the models look ok but are nothing special. The backgrounds are nice and the animations look good but there are very few of them and they seem to recycle often.
Audio is decent in regards to the character voices but they happen fairly infrequently. The soundtrack is nothing memorable or special. The only good audio seems to be Daniel’s own voice but that makes sense at he is the main focus of the game.
Overall I would say that this is a solid Hold’em game in most regards. The solid AI makes the offline game fun and varied but the other elements don’t make the game shine. The game is definitely worth a rental if not a purchase for people that enjoy the game of Hold’em but don’t have the time or energy to play a game online or in real life.