Hand of Fate 2 is an interesting hybrid collectible card game where… the cards ARE the dungeon.
It’s like, choose your own adventure, with a lighthearted combat system that reminds me of Batman’s Arkham games, with the graphics of Fable.
You have a guy who places a bunch of cards on the table, and you move onto each card. Each card is a different type of encounter, with potential dangers, perks, items, or even stories to explore. This is a unique system in that you’ll end up repeating a lot of content multiple times, but, it’s always done in a different order and under different circumstances, which is excellent.
Graphically, I thought the game looks very decent, though, I was sort of put off by the lack of character customization options. I’m all for setting a stock character in games for people to play as, with a defined personality and such, but, if a game gives me the option to customize, they should go full bore with that system and let me change far more than a few hair styles and what ethnicity my guy is. That’s probably my biggest complaint, as, overall the rest of the game’s look is fantastic, nothing seems out of place, and watching your character get knocked around when he’s blocking with his shield gives every moment of battle a sense of urgency.
The game’s combat system is jarringly different from the game’s setup to take you into it. You go from basically a text-adventure game right into the 3D action-fighting of titles like God of War or Batman’s Arkham series. It seems like a huge departure from the text, but it ultimately gives the game enough action sections to feel refreshing when the text-based gameplay would start to get slow. The controls are responsive, and I never felt like I was pigeonholed out of using different types of weapons, even though some had clear advantages against certain opponents. The game’s text-adventure sections are quite punishing, but are usually solvable by just brute forcing your way through. Just remember to stop and heal.
The design philosophy that went into this game is super neat. Nothing you do is ever original or unique, because every single mission is based on the cards you already have. This isn’t a criticism, it’s actually refreshing for the game to tell you what you’re getting yourself into.
The first time you play the cards, they’re a mystery to you, but, the next mission, you can play those same cards, and know what the potential outcomes are. This is the crux of every game ever, knowing and learning the rules.
Everybody’s had a thief snatch their coinpurse in the middle of a busy trading center in a fantasy game, it’s cliché, and this game doesn’t hide from that, instead, it allows you to fail at it, and doesn’t destroy your entire game because you didn’t catch the thief, you just stuff the card back into your deck next time, and you’ll eventually catch that cutpurse.
This game prevents itself from becoming a tired cliché by encouraging the reuse of missions, in an attempt to point out that all fantasy type games, in effect, are just retellings of the same stories over and over. At least, that’s what I got out of it, and I thought it was pretty spectacularly done.
A fantasy adventure game sharing commentary on fantasy adventure games from within it’s card and dice based roots… which is where a lot of us took up fantasy in the first place.
All-in-all, I find this an incredibly fun game with a lot of innovative mechanics. A card-building roguelike with a much more in-depth and fun combat system than the first iteration, Hand of Fate 2 releases on November 7th, and it’s definitely worth adding to your wishlist.
Disclosure: We received this game for free.
Developed and Published by: Defiant Development
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