7.0

Bicycle Casino review
A decent alternative to losing your shirt for real

The good:

A nice selection of popular casino games and variations. Online play available. Authentic casino-style sound effects. Cool create-a-player feature.

The bad:

There really aren't the 500 promised variations. Graphics are too simple. Poor CPU AI.

Summary:

The first casino game for Xbox, Bicycle Casino brings to the table a collection of various popular casino games and subsequent variations. The games include several variations of Poker, Blackjack, Slot Machines, Craps, Roulette, and other lesser-known table games.
The graphics are both authentic and simple-the tables and slot machines show excellent detail, lending authenticity to the casino-style experience and themes, but players at the tables rarely, if ever, show their faces and they look like their designs were rushed with no details whatsoever. Additionally you do not see characters moving to do typical actions like colelct their winnings or put chips into play. Sounds are generally limited to various game-related effects like stacking chips, the ball rolling around in roulette, and slot machine beeps & whistles, but on the menus there is very nice "background noise" that makes it sound like you are in an actual casino, but it's too sot to hear without turning up the volume. Controls are extremely simple, just one button is normally used to do everything except at Poker, where you can use the thumbsticks to display various emotions, which you really won't see onscreen. Gameplay is much like in a real casino, with the freedom to move between games pretty much at your leisure, and you can even "buy in" to various tournaments if you have earned enough money. There is a very cool create player feature, which actually you are required to do before you begin playing. You can choose from all kinds of facial features and accessories like caps and sunglasses to make your ideal gambler in terms of looks. Although there is a lot of variety in gameplay variations, there really are not the 500 promised variations, and normally they are just different in the amounts of betting limits in games. You could maybe count 100-150 at most if you add it all up, which still is almost too many for the majority of players. Although multiplayer via Xbox Live is fun and challenging, it's a little disappointing that you can't play multiplayer offline, even on games where it wouldn't hinder gameplay (like Blackjack, Roulette, and Money Wheel). Adiditonally, the CPU-controlled AI is extremely flawed: You can't adjust their skill level, and in Poker they always seem to just call your raises with garbage and when they're "thinking", they really are not, they just want you to think that for about 1 or 2 seconds. Casual players really won't mind this, but more serious players will be disappointed by this lacking of depth you probably would see in every other such game.
While casual players and those who don't mind playing by themselves for fun will get some enjoyment out of this title, the more serious player or those who primarily prefer Poker will want to look at other games. This is not bad for what it offers but lack of offline multiplayer options and serious AI flaws really bring down the replay value and overall enjoyment of this title.

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