Hand of Fate 2 – Review
Follow Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Defiant Development
Publisher: Defiant Development
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac OSX, Linux
Tested On: PC

Hand of Fate 2 – Review

Site Score
8.8
Good: Great expansion on the existing systems of the previous game
Bad: Difficulty can feel forced at times
User Score
0
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Made up of “a bunch of grizzled industry veterans seeking a better life”, Defiant Development has gone live with the follow-up of their well received game Hand of Fate. This makes it the second time they’ve released for console and PC. Let’s see if they can improve on the concept that allowed them to not only launch an acclaimed indie studio, but also release a physical card game based on their concept.

hand of fate

Story

Sitting in a covered wagon, across a shady character, Hand of Fate 2 does not offer a lot in the way of an overarching story, which is luckily not that obvious because of the abundance of small individual stories. Much like in a game of Dungeons and Dragons, the shady man across you is the game master who gives you most of the information you’ll gain about the world. The game master sends you on quests, where each is a small individual adventure with just the setting of the game in common. These quests will send you to villages festering with blight, through snowstorms to rescue princesses, and to reunite two lovers. The dealer will deliver some great flavor lines that will give you more insight into the blight infested world you traverse.

Hand of Fate screen (2)

Graphics

Hand of Fate 2 looks extremely similar to its predecessor. This isn’t a bad thing of course, as both games are amazing to look at. The setting of the game is a moving gypsy’s caravan with no discernible direction. Across from the player is the game master, separated by only the table the game is played on. Besides the set-dressing behind the game master, on the table are a lot of the items used in gameplay, such as the decks and cards, miniatures, dice and the pendulum. There is a large number of different interesting looking cards that serve as the encounters, all of which have beautifully animated effects such as the fire pictured above, or blue cards which serve as more rare encounters.

Sound

Hand of Fate is largely an atmospheric game, and will not have a lot of large music compositions. Most of the game’s background audio is the background noise of the wheels of the caravan and the hooves of the horse pulling you along, or the sound of swords hitting each other when you land on a combat encounter on the map. The dealer is a brilliant companion though, he has a large amount of flavor texts related to the cards he is dealing you: how well you did in gambits, or he will scold you if you don’t take any actions for a while. Even though the game master does have a large amount of different lines, in our testing we did unfortunately heard very few of them and they may get a little repetitive, especially on the chance encounters.

Hand of Fate screen (4)

Gameplay

The game is an action adventure game that plays as a deck-building game, where the game master lays out an adventure made up of the cards you and he decide to put in the deck. Once the cards have been dealt it is then up to the player to play through them in order to accomplish their objectives. The cards that make up the game range from enemy encounters, to small little stories like captured maidens, lost little boys and bridges guarded by trolls. All of the staples of RPG games can be found, and all have several different outcomes that help the game be so varied and interesting. Some of the encounters you’ll have will come with a bronze coin at the bottom, which can be earned and used to obtain more and different encounters later on in the game. Luckily, this time around once you’ve earned the coin you have actually gotten it, regardless of you finishing the adventure or not. Those coins also serve as your progression. You will get more and better encounters and weapons, and unlike in the first game, if you gain these coins you will not lose them when you fail the encounter.

Hand of Fate screen (3)

When starting a session, players will decide which mission to play from the map screen. From here you’ll get to build your deck, to be shuffled in with the dealer’s deck. Player decks consist of four categories: companions, encounters, equipment, and supplies. The dealer’s deck then, is based around messing up your strategies and encounters. Between the small story based encounters he will hand you stacks and stacks of enemies, which feels like the game is throwing more enemies at the player in order to make it harder. Missions will start with the dealer shuffling both of your decks together, and laying out a map to represent your current adventure. You will gain the equipment you picked as part of your deck and your health, food, and gold will be handed to the player. You then “walk” from card to card and dealing with each micro-adventure on the card. As mentioned before these can range from combat encounters to small parts of your companion’s story. These are all based on established RPG tropes, but the twist in how you expect them to play out makes them all feel unique and interesting.

Moving from encounter to encounter will make you lose food, and encounters can make you lose equipment, health, gold and food, which you will have to manage to successfully finish the mission. The combat encounters play out like an action beat ’em up, but the real change for the better is in the new chance games. These can include rolling dice, picking a card out of four, or a metronome mini game where you have to hit a specific area with its light. Coming from the first game, where all you had was the game to pick one of four, this is a real improvement that made the game quite a bit more interesting. Each mission has different requirements to finish, and bonus objectives with which to gain more coins at the end of the mission.

Hand of Fate screen (6)

Conclusion

Hand of fate 2 offers some great improvements over the old game. The game does not focus as much on the combat system by including more gambits like the dice game and the pendulum. The addition of the companion also makes the game a little less lonely while also adding some much needed perks and bonuses. A good amount of the systems have been expanded, and the addition of the companion makes the game a lot more varied and interesting to play. While overall the game can take a good amount of time, each of the missions only last an hour at most, and that is how we recommend playing it. It is an excellent game to sit back and relax with, whether that be during your lunch break, on public transport to work, or on the couch at night with a beer.

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Brustenhoven
Brustenhoven


Bryan, Dutch, gamer, metalhead. 24, and been playing games for as long as I can remember. Pokemon gold for life!

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