Having not played the previous installment in the series, Hand of Fate, as I’m not a fan of card based games, I decided to give the sequel, Hand of Fate 2 a chance. May as well keep an open mind and see what all the hype is about. It’s also worth noting, that I don’t board the hype train these days, as I can guarantee that they will derail for me in some way or another. So it’s with caution that I installed, then booted up Hand of Fate 2 wondering what lay ahead for me.
After the game had loaded, and shown me that I’d be face to face with a mysterious card dealer and story teller, who is fully voiced and covered in wraps to hide his identity, I realised that this was taking place in a dark, wooden caravan. The table at which you sit, is where the cards are placed, and this is where your adventure begins, and it was far from what I expected. Cards are taken from a deck and placed down in front of your where a small character to represent you will move along one card at a time. Seems reasonable enough and even though it’s not something I’d have ever imagined myself playing, considering something like this boring, I was entranced. Each card had a diﬀerent eﬀect on me, and the world around me. Would I ﬁnd treasure, a place to stay on my journey, a troop of ne’er do wells to hand out justice too? I was genuinely intrigued, and wanted to ﬁnd out more about the world around me.
The ﬁrst mission works as a tutorial of sorts, giving you an easy ride, with some decent rewards, an accomplice and easy foes to smite. Nothing hard here and this can lull you into a false sense of security if you’re not careful. Speaking of enemies, the combat was not what I had expected it to be. I thought it would defer to a card based combat on table top, but I could be more wrong. Once combat has been initiated, you are transported to a small arena of sorts, where you and your ally take on a preset amount of enemy troops that you must defeat. On occasion, you will encounter named bad guys who not only deal out more damage, but are a part of the story and cannot be avoided. These are usually found towards the end of each mission, of which there are over 20, and vanquishing these oﬀers up rewards that consist of new weapons and armour among other goodies.
New items can be equipped in your subsequent missions, but only once you ﬁnd them, and if you’ve chosen them from your deck to add to the mission at the preparation screen. At ﬁrst this seemed a strange choice, but it does prevent you from heading in completely over powered and breezing through the game. It’s not hard to happen upon them, and with the increased stats they provide, you will soon be winning battles and making headway towards your end goal. All the while, the mysterious card dealer narrating your journey, or mocking you should you take too long to perform any actions.
After the ﬁrst mission is completed, the camera pans left to show you the game world, and lights up new quests for you to undertake. Only those lit up can be accessed, and even then, they can prove challenging should you pick gear that isn’t up to scratch. Far from impossible, but it’s always advisable to plan ahead as much as you can. If you want to revisit a previous mission for any reason, then you’re welcomed to do so. Although you won’t be unlocking much in the way of new items from challenge tokens, new companions and the like. The selection of unlockable equipment is varied and will have you desperately seeking out something just a little bit better, so you can dish out more punishment.
Little things such as rolling a trio of dice to decide your fate in certain situations, where a preset score is required for success. These situations can vary, as can the score, leaving it all to Lady Luck, as to whether or not she smiles down upon thee. I found I was successful more often than not in these dice rolls, and grateful too.
Had of Fate 2 is an addictive game, and surprisingly so for one such as myself. Given the choice, I’d rather be sinking time into a good RPG, with an engaging narrative instead. For a game that sees you collecting various cards, my usual response would be to scoﬀ at you, especially if you told me beforehand that I’d be playing a game of this genre. But here we are, with me playing Hand of Fate 2, and enjoying every minute of it. Working out a strategy for combat, selecting the gear that would suit my character, and exploring the land via pre-selected cards from an ever increasing deck. Not only that, but making sure the correct weapons have been chosen when dealing with certain enemies, who may be susceptible to quick attacks from dual-wielded daggers instead of a battle axe. It’s not as simple a game as you’d ﬁrst think, and requires thought, crucial decision making and a deft hand.
Hand of Fate 2 has very little in the way of ﬂaws, bugs, or any issue that could prevent a review full of praise. In fact, I’m ﬁnding it diﬃcult to pull it up on anything at all. Visuals are good, soundtrack, gameplay mechanics, and even the depth of the game is going to keep you busy as you hunt down new gear without getting bored. It’s not often I’ll ﬁnd a game that I thoroughly enjoy like this, especially when it’s a genre I would usually overlook in search of something else to play.
Overall, Hand of Fate 2 is a game unlike any other on Xbox One. There’s plenty of exploring to get yourself involved in, plenty of equipment to discover and unlock, and a mysterious man who doesn’t seem to have picked a side, and instead guides you gently further towards your end goal. I couldn’t recommend it more, even to those who wouldn’t normally consider purchasing a game like this. The price isn’t to be sniﬀed at either, and it’s a worthwhile investment. You will get your value for money, and once is all said and done, you won’t regret it.
Overall Score 9/10
Developer: Deﬁant Development Publisher: Deﬁant Development Release Date: 1st December 2017 Price: £24.99 File Size: 2.62GB
Xbox One copy provided for review purposes.
Available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 & Steam