Sometimes the game you want to play the most is the simplest one. Modern console titles are terrific and there’s no shortage of games with complex, innovative gameplay and jaw-dropping graphics. But less can truly be more, and there are certain types of games that are always fun no matter how they’re played.
One would think that someone would have already cornered the market on online card games but apparently not. Pure Hold’em, developed by VooFoo, is the first of its kind available for the PS4 and we can’t believe it took this long for a decent poker sim to come to the Playstation.
The “Pure” series has already done chess and pool in the past and is well known for its hyper-realistic simulations and attention to detail when it comes to recreating classic games on modern consoles and PCs. Now the respected simulation series is trying its hand at one of the world’s most popular card games, Texas Hold’em.
Pure Hold’em allows players to test their mettle against up to eight different competitors either offline or online. The game provides one of the most visually detailed poker experiences available with realistic backgrounds, pitch-perfect sound design and tables so detailed you can practically feel the felt.
If you remember the garish caricature avatars of poker simulators from back in the day you’ll be pleased by how Pure Hold’em eschews the format entirely in favour of a much more sleek tablet system. It also displays a player’s chip stack, how many times they’ve raised and other pertinent info. The statistics go a long way to improve the nature of the poker-sim as it requires players to focus more on the game itself rather than become distracted by some stereotype standing in for your competition.
While we definitely enjoy the level of detail put into the tables and the cards by the developers, the most important part of any card game is the interaction between players. One thing we’ve never quite been able to get over when it comes to poker sims is the digital dealer.
While a player is going to have the same odds as anyone else, it’s tough to shake that nagging feeling that the computer AI is rigged against you. Providing players with real dealers allows for a more realistic experience in addition to a wider variety of card games and playing styles, but much less presentation. A card players’ relationship with the dealer can be just as important as the one with the other people at the table. There’s just no substitute for a live dealer, if for no other reason than to have someone to blame when a hand doesn’t go your way.
Those looking for a little variety with Pure Hold’em will be disappointed as this game only features one version of the card game with no options for Omaha or other game types. Although, developers have hinted these could be in the works. The presentation and gameplay are already excellent, and with a few more game types and expanded online options, VooFoo could definitely have a hit on their hands with both poker fans and casual gamers alike.