previews\ Apr 2, 2006 at 8:00 pm

STACKED with Daniel Negreanu - PSP - Preview

Given the extreme popularity of the subject, Texas Hold em' Poker has now infected pretty much any and every gaming system. And with all of the hype going on behind Daniel Negreanu's seemingly elusive title, STACKED, the simple fact remains that the people out there REALLY want to play this game on this or any other system. Well, I'm here to tell you that I have now played this bad boy on not only the PC, but now the PSP. And though this was a preview copy of the game, I must tell you that I was, for the most part, pretty happy.

Now the PSP has a nice tight screen and does a real bang-up job of producing graphics, whether it's movies or games, the screen really seemed so dialed in. Which is why I wondered why the developers chose to go with a game function that doesn't really seem to do the PSP's screen justice. Of course all of this taken with a grain of salt since it is only the preview but ... er ... let me explain. In STACKED you play poker, when you are dealt your two cards, the screen flashes your two cards to you, albeit briefly. This just doesn't seem to do it for me. Now don't get me wrong, you can access the menu and take a look at your cards if you need to take a second, third, fourth or even fifth look, but it all just feels a bit clunky. 

Not that this is enough to stop me, as in all the STACKED games, you can ask Daniel for advice on any of the cards you are dealt and after the flop, turn and river. He normally provides some pretty decent advice and gives you an idea of how he plays, but like anything, it's not 100%. 

And like the console versions of STACKED, you can pick your character and change their body shape, hair, accessories. It's an interesting way to play as you can give tells during play in order to confuse your opponents (the PSP version will feature a multiplayer mode) and for some having your character wear a hat and glasses can be all part of the game. 

The graphics that Battleborne is putting in the game are looking fairly decent, some pixilation and ghosting is occurring but that's to be expected with this being a preview copy. I like the good use of atmosphere and they have done a good job at capturing the pacing that really occurs in Texas Hold em'. The game reminded me of how a classy backroom game in real life may be. Plants in the corner, soft, red carpet - the game just oozes high-stakes poker and I like how it comes together.

I said that you can access tips from Daniel Negreanu; well, the bits of information sound very clear and with just a hint of smarminess. I thought that the voice work is more than appropriate and that the end product will have most players smiling.

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