I can safely say that Hand of Fate 2 is unlike a lot of games I have played before. It mixes the elements of a choose your own adventure, table-top game with the play style of an action-RPG. The story follows directly after the events of the first game and the Dealer is back to get revenge due to what played out during the first game. You, as the player, will step into the role of the hero and face the challenges the dealer lays out for you.
In this entry, you are able to customize your character at the beginning of the game. You are able to pick between being male and female. Though the character creator isn’t as in depth as most RPG’s, it gives you enough to create a pretty unique hero. You are then faced with your first challenge from the dealer. The bulk and most interesting part of the game takes place atop the table with the cards. Each challenge is thematically different and offers different cards and gear to earn throughout. Depending on the challenge, the dealer will lay out semi-randomized cards on the table for you to navigate through. Each new card flipped will cost you food, which if you lose all of your food, your health starts slowly dwindling. Subsequently if you lose your health, the encounter will end, so don’t die. Before new challenges, you are able to set sort of a load out of cards that will be included in the map. The cards you pick will also determine the equipment you take, your companion and the events on the board.
Each challenge comes with different cards to complete that are always there. Some of these cards, if you succeed will award you with tokens that you can open at the end of every challenge for some extra cards. Each challenge will end with a boss fight and have some sort of special condition tied to it. For example, if you gain enough fame in one of the challenges you are able to equip one of the platinum weapons that will help you out in the boss fight. Speaking of equipment, your character does have an inventory he/she can access. You can wield a weapon, a shield, armor, a helmet and any number of rings are allowed. You will have to earn different gear for each challenge. The gear you wield matters when you get into battle as the enemies act on a light, medium and heavy scale. Certain weapons do better against others, for example, heavy weapons don’t do as great of damage to thieves than light weapons due to speed of swing. Different gear will have special moves if you are able to build up a certain amount of hits before being struck by the enemy. Each special is usually unique to the weapon, some do area of effect blasts and some do a critical hit to the enemy. You are also joined by a companion in combat that will have a special move to use if you are near them.
The AI in combat isn’t really the smartest though. I never really felt like the combat was much of a challenge. At some points I was able to stand around while no one attacked me. The enemies also have tells which let you either dodge or counter their attacks. Depending on the weapon you are holding, you can riposte a countered attack for extra damage. Overall, I would have to say that the combat has to be the weaker element of the game, as it hasn’t changed much from the first title unfortunately. The story telling and tabletop aspect of this game is what really shines through. It seems like they took the aspects from the first game, bar the combat and expanded on it. Now, not every aspect of the combat is bad, hitting and dodging enemy blows was pretty smooth on a technical level. Hand of Fate 2 really immerses the player with what is going on in each story and does a great job weaving a tale of revenge for the Dealer while challenging the player with surprises and twists around each corner. Even after completing more than half of the challenges in the game, there are still things surprising me and keeping my attention. If you are a fan of RPG games with unique elements, this is a game for you!
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Review statement: The code for this game was provided by the developer for the sake of this review.