Posted by Julian Martinez follow him on Twitter
Hand of Fate was quite the fun and challenging indie gem of a few years back. It had everything from adventure, an intriguing story that let your imagination run wild and it had the sassiest card dealer I have ever seen. While the combat was very basic, and the graphics were on the simple side it’s a game I can gladly recommend to anyone at full price. Let’s see how the sequel stacks up in Hand of Fate 2.
In Hand of Fate 2, once you customize your character you’ll find yourself traveling with the mysterious dealer from the previous game. This time he isn’t completely out to get you and lets you know that the world’s problems are due to someone else taking over his game. He has made an updated version, so you may be ready to take vengeance for him. While you play his game, you learn of just what’s going on in the outside world through the new cards he has made for you.
Before you pick any level in the game you first build a deck just like the previous game. You now have one companion you can take with you in each level, you have a preset number of event cards you’re allowed to take in each stage as well as equipment and supplies you can start with. Now we have card rarities to consider as well. New platinum cards are valuable events or items that can really save you from a dire situation if luck swings in your favor. Crimson cards are very dangerous events or items that can make you game over very quickly, however with skill you might just be able to use them to destroy any challenge in your way. After you set up your deck, the dealer will add in more cards of his own depending on what level you’ve chosen. Just like the last game, some cards will be marked with tokens of various colors, by completing the event or challenges on the card you will unlock more cards to use in future levels. Some weapons have these tokens now to unlock new weapons, the challenges can involve things like defeating certain factions of enemies a certain amount of times or deflecting attacks and performing a riposte.
Your character is represented as a small gold game piece to move across each face down card like it’s a board game. As you move along each card will play out its event with text and then you make whatever choice you feel is right. Sometimes the spaces are just for shops or trading equipment, yet some could have you risking a deal with a den of thieves or hoping a group of goblins is kind enough to give you food. Each step on the table will cost one food, as you consume a piece of food you get a small heal, if you have no food you lose health. You have gold to purchase items and now you also have fame to worry about. Certain equipment or events will require different amounts of fame to be used. Some events choices will require you to play a particular mini game to determine success or failure on your choices. You have the return of the classic success or failure cards in which you choose one face down card to determine what happens. You now have dice events and events based on a spin of a wheel as well. Some events have a skill based mini game in which you must stop a pendulum of light from swinging on a certain space. If you land on a gold or silver part of the pendulum you succeed, anywhere else and you fail. Once you beat the final challenge of a level, you of course unlock more cards and you unlock more levels.
Combat in the game is still very simple and straightforward. You string together attacks and you can block attacks from foes if they have a green mark when they are attacking, red attacks are unblockable and must be dodged. The game has various trinkets you can equip for limited use if you find them on the board. Aside from a sword and shield option you can also find hammers, axes and dual wield weapons. Be aware some attacks can only be blocked with a shield. Keep in mind you can wear as many rings as you desire, and you do not have an inventory limit in how many weapons and pieces of armor you can carry with no need to equip them.
So, the game does improve on the original but it’s not without its own flaws or annoyances. Let’s talk about the good first. The combat does feel more fluid and heavy then the original. While the Combat wasn’t bad in the first game you felt like you and your enemies were moving through air with no solid ground to walk on. I am glad that there are more mini games to determine success or failure then just the success and failure chance cards. The events are fun, and the story is rather intriguing as well. I am excited to see how this new adventure with the dealer ends. The enemy variation is decent, each faction has its own backstory and it really adds to the immersion of the story. The equipment that I’ve found so far in the game isn’t very fun. Most of the armor I’ve found either increases gains of gold and food or it gives you a little extra luck on the mini games. Most of the weapons I’ve found just do extra damage to certain factions of enemies. When you’re being teleported to a combat section of the game the loading time seems a bit longer than the last game, it doesn’t flow naturally at all and it takes a while to get in and out of battle. Some of the levels, such as the strength level seem to be a little to luck reliant, even for me. In order to get the extra token at the end when you defeat the ogre you have to have at least 60 defense by the time you get to the end. I’ve had to redo this multiple times due to failed dice rolls when I had a chance at retrieving equipment from enemies. Sure, the dealer can tell me I can try a new level to unlock new cards to help me. It doesn’t help if I still don’t get the cards that I unlocked during an event. I still love games with a bit of luck but if you’re not patient with luck based challenges you might not have as much fun as I am.
The graphics are decent to look at and I haven’t had any stutters or issues accept on loading in and out of battle. The soundtrack is ok but can get repetitive after a while. Controls are fluid just like the first game.
Hand of Fate 2 is an improvement on an already fantastic game and I can recommend both to people. It has a lot of replay value and an endless mode is going to be coming in an update to the game soon. Just remember that sometimes a bit of luck can either put a golden hammer in your hands or you can go from 100 hp to 10 in the blink of an eye.