Hand of Fate 2 Review

A New Hero Rises
Developer: Defiant Development Publisher: Defiant Development Platform: PC

The Dealer may be back, but whether he’s better than ever is another story

The Dealer is back and out to seek revenge in Hand of Fate 2. The table may have changed, but your fate is still in your hands. Will you perish on your adventure or will you come out on top to reign over The Dealer?

Much like the original game, Hand of Fate 2 is essentially a living boardgame of re-playable quests. Mixing together an RPG and card game, players will adventure through a fantasy world generated by The Dealer. Each move you take reveals your fate; whether this comes in the form of a combat trial, a mini-game, or just a quick trip to the tavern, every move writes your history.

Throughout Hand of Fate 2, the meta board game is played out on a table in which you take control of a token that is used to move around through the generated levels. When moving around, you will reveal your fate (signified by a card flipping over) and encounter an interaction of some sort. These interactions can range from mini-games to simple dialogue, to trading with merchants, to intense combat. You never know what will happen when you make your next move.

There are four distinct types of mini-games that players will encounter and take part in. The first type of mini-game encounter sees you having to make decisions based on drawing a success/failure card draw. This mini-game appears to be based on the idea of the classic ‘cups and balls’ magic trick. With that in mind, this is a simple, yet devious encounter that can see the player failing some important tasks if they can’t keep track of the success cards locations.

The second type of mini-game encounter reveals itself to you in the form of a dice roll. Though straightforward, this mechanic can be quite devious as it revolves around you rolling a few dice to try and hit a target number. Reliant on decent random number generation, this mechanic isn’t as bad as it may seem. Why you ask? Well, that’s because The Dealer can be a pretty generous guy, and with this mini-game encounter, he allows you to reroll any (or all) of your die once (per encounter). You may also receive a perk for this mini-game obtained through certain items and/or companions.

Beware the devil’s dice

The third kind of encounter is like that of Wheel of Fortune, in the sense that there is a wheel, and you may (or may not) win a fortune. As the name implies, this mini-game sees you having to stop a wheel of cards to do various things such as encounter enemies (as seen below), or create a potion. This mini-game is all about timing, although much like the dice mini-game, you can take another spin of the wheel if you wish to do so, though this is based purely on certain items and/or companions rather than The Dealer’s generosity.

The final kind of mini-game encounter takes the form of a pendulum. Once again, this mini-game is reliant on timing and can be quite a pain if not timed correctly. With this mini-game, you are required to hit the spacebar or click on the select button (based on personal preference), to stop a laser. Ideally, you would be aiming for the silver or gold platforms, as these represent success and huge success respectively. If you happen to miss all the platforms, this is counted as a failure, and if you hit a red platform, this represents a huge failure.

The pendulum will swing back to the other side… one day

For those who played the first Hand of Fate game, you will be aware of the lacklustre experience that was the combat system. I’m pleased to tell you that whilst this iteration of the game hasn’t entirely fixed that issue, the combat is now a lot more fluid, and the animations and transitions are a lot nicer.The combat throughout Hand of Fate 2 is simplistic and consists of straightforward attack combos, blocking, and counter-attacking. Though the system is very barebones, the combat throughout the original Hand of Fate game was ridiculously awkward and unintelligent, though that has been rectified throughout Hand of Fate 2.

On top of the enhanced combat, the team at Defiant Development has also included a major quality of life feature, which now allows players to see a bosses’ health. Other additions include the ability for the player to choose between a male or female character model, though this was a little unclear when I encountered it. Once the player has chosen the gender preference of their character they are then able to further customise their appearance. The customisation options are quite limited though, and the character models appear to have quite strange baby-esque, derpy faces.

Is this the hero we need, or just a giant baby?

In an attempt to give players more reason to explore their generated worlds, Defiant Development has introduced objectives. Whilst these sound like a great idea, they aren’t as engaging as they could have been. Often, objectives can be quite unclear, resulting in you missing out on tokens and having to re-do the level if you wish to unlock everything and complete each level at the gold standard. Similar to objectives, there is another quality of life feature which allows you to see ahead of time what the adventure may entail. This is quite useful as each adventure differs in rules and objectives, and this feature allows you to construct your encounter deck a deck in which you as the player can use to encounter specific events (i.e. encountering a merchant) based around the knowledge you’ve now gained.

Hand of Fate 2 also introduces a companion system. Unfortunately, these companions aren’t dogs, instead they are human companions who you meet throughout the games progression that you can then take on adventures. These companions are each unique, and each has their own in-combat abilities, perks, and unique storyline.

Another strong addition to Hand of Fate 2 is the campfire system. Throughout an adventure, you can opt to visit your campfire, where you can cook food to heal yourself, trade with a merchant, review your mission, and even change your appearance on the fly. This is particularly handy when you’re in dire need of supplies and have not come across a merchant in a while, though be warned that the campfire merchant can price things quite highly.

Whilst gear acquisition in this game is quite like that of its predecessor, the team has also introduced the acquisition of fame. Through noble acts successfully completed throughout an adventure you can acquirefame. This is important to note, as some pieces of gear in Hand of Fate 2 have a fame requirement before they can be equipped.

Seemingly lacking in the original Hand of Fate, Hand of Fate 2 creates a strong introduction to the game and its various mechanics, which is most definitely an appreciated addition, especially when considering new players. To round everything off, I’d like to mention that this game, much like its predecessor, has amazing voice acting and a story that really draws you in. Though not required to complete the game, for those interested in story, I recommend taking the time to read anything and everything you encounter throughout the game, as the stories can be quite interesting.

Final Thoughts

All in all, Hand of Fate 2 is a well-rounded game that addresses a lot of the concerns that its fanbase had upon the release of its predecessor. Though essentially a replica of the first game, Hand of Fate 2 offers some unique, quirky additions that justify buying the second game. Whether you like games for their story, their puzzles, or their banter, there’s something for everyone to enjoy with this indie gem.

Reviewed on PC

Good

  • Immersive narrative
  • Great aesthetics
  • Improved combat system
  • New and interesting mechanics

Bad

  • A lot of reading
  • Loot doesn’t feel as rewarding
  • Strange difficulty scaling
7

Good

Tegan began gaming with her father when they would play Street Fighter together on her Nan’s PlayStation. Since then she has fallen in love with indie games, AAA games (I’m looking at you Tekken) and everything in between. Starting off as a console player, and more specifically an Xbox player, Tegan has now recently begun her new gaming ventures on PC. You can find her playing dating sims on Steam @carrotphernelia if you so wish.
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