home > review > Review: Stacked With Daniel Negreanu
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ups: online play, Connectivety with the PSP
downs: Predictable AI, Horrible Interface

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Review: Stacked With Daniel Negreanu
game: Stacked with Daniel Negreanu
two star
posted by: Matt James
publisher: Myelin Media
developer: 5000Ft
ESRB rating: T (Teen)
date posted: 10:48 AM Fri Jul 14th, 2006
last revision: 11:03 AM Fri Jul 14th, 2006

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Click to read.I have to admit, I\'m a little bit of a Poker junkie. There is just something about the thrill of...well, taking your friends money. Sometimes it is hard to find a game though. Often that is when I\'ll end up watching poker on tv. Even still, there are about three hours a week when Celebrity Poker isn\'t rerunning on Bravo. Thanks to Poker\'s surge in popularity there are now dozens of Poker sims out there. Many of them are free to play online and some of them you can even play with real money. So, a junkie like me can always get a Texas Hold \'Em fix.

Console developers are trying to cash in on this craze as well. The problem with these games is why pay for something that you can already get for free? They would really have to offer something that these other games do not, or cannot. Unfortunately, Stacked with Daniel Negreanu doesn\'t do this.

The box would have you believe that Stacked is the Madden of Poker games, or some blither like the Halo of chips. Unless they are referencing the fact that you have to use a controller to play all three games, I\'m not sure how they come up with this. The much-touted AI that Stacked uses is less than impressive, the graphics are nothing special, the soundtrack is non-existent, the interface stinks, and then there are Daniel Negreanu\'s tips. They are to be ignored for sure. Not that they are all bad, but the validity of his advice is so hit and miss that you could never differentiate between the good and the bad. There is never any reasoning given behind the advice either. So you don\'t have any information to make an informed decision with. Halo with Chips? This isn\'t even Perfect Dark Zero with chips.

You begin Stacked by creating a player. The amount of manipulation you are granted is so minimal that you are really just picking from the already created character models. You are allowed to create your name with the entire 26 letter alphabet and the numbers 0 through 9, though. That is pretty sweet.

Stacked isn\'t all bad. Probably the best feature is Stacked\'s ability to link with the PSP version. You have to own both versions but the ability to take your game with you and then link it back up with the PS2 is pretty cool. It is the only thing that Stacked has over the free versions of Texas Hold \'Em. Of course you have to have a PS2, a PSP, and Stacked on each system. Even though Stacked comes at a reduced price point, $29.99 on the PS2 and the PSP, that is still $60 for one nice feature. Way too much if you ask me. You can find cheap handheld poker games anywhere for a fraction of that price and they are a lot easier to lug around wherever you go than the PSP.

The interface is, at the very least, inconvenient. In order to access even the basest of information you must scroll through the entire menu bar. Then to act on the information you must scroll back through. Even looking at your hand is difficult. It shows you your hand at first but then it is hidden from you. What the heck for? I am used to being able to quickly make a selection and to have all the information that I want available to me. This slows the game down to a crawl and is frustrating.

The AI is supposed to be impressive, but I found it predictable. In every single hand you can count on 80% of the players to fold before the flop. With almost any bet, on almost every hand you cut it down to just you and one other player. Then, with a last aggressive bet you can usually bluff yourself the pot. Unless they have a great hand. They stay in then, but that is an easy tell. So you just get out at that point. You can use this to your advantage and take all the money, but it isn\'t much fun. You are pretty much left with the online play for a challenge.

The online play is fine. It is basically the same as the computer play only you are facing real people instead of the AI. You still have to contend with the annoying interface. Also, you will never find as many players to go up against as you will at Party Poker or any of the other poker web games. Oh, and they are all free. So why not play the free, more user-friendly, poker games with thousands of players to interact with?

Unless you don\'t have a computer or the internet, Stacked with Daniel Negreanu can\'t offer you anything that you can\'t get better elsewhere. Of course if you don\'t have a computer or the net then you can\'t be reading this. So skip Stacked.

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