PAYOUT POKER & CASINO / Namco / Sony PSP
 
 
Payout Poker offers a very solid array of casino games - video poker, table blackjack, a few varieties of slots, baccarat, craps, roulette, red dog, and the Wheel of Fortune. It also has a table poker room where you can play six varieties against four CPU opponents. Of course, there's usually little point to playing anything but poker and blackjack in these, so Payout also tries to spice up the other games with unlockables - you get "stars" for winning in certain ways in each game, and these stars are needed to unlock new casinos (each of which has a flashy Vegasy sort of theme, like ancient Egypt or Rome.)

All of these are welcome things, but Payout Poker falls flat on its face by making the same mistake most casino games make - slow, needlessly cumbersome interface. You start out with a custom character creation that rivals Mass Effect in terms of options (if not anywhere near the poly count or animation quality.) You can also buy new outfit items with your won lucre as you play. That's all well and good, but character appearance never comes into play in any way, and sashaying around the casino is sooooo slooooow ... controls like someone's first 3D project to boot. At least you can craft a nice ass of your choice to look at, I guess.

The games are actually mostly well executed, but table poker also just moves too damn slow. The CPU players take too long sitting there thinking on each of their plays; I think this was an attempt to bring reading their face and body language into play, but the animation is so primitive it's really kind of pointless.

With table poker being the weak point and moving between games being slow and annoying, the game is rendered kind of pointless, as you can find decent blackjack and video poker any number of places. Interesting overall ideas but the execution just doesn't come off.
 
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