Hand of Fate 2 from Defiant Development
I never knew I could be so engulfed by a living board game until I experienced the dark fantasy world of Hand of Fate 2. The unforgiving gameplay, on the other hand, tested my patience numerous times as I screamed profanities at my computer screen. Nonetheless, adventures awaits as a random spread of player-chosen cards defy the fate of our new hero.
Confronting and accepting failure as part of the package will ultimately bring you one step closer to mastering the twists and turns of the hero’s journey. That’s what molds Hand of Fate 2 into such an enjoyable experience: the rewarding feeling of finally standing victorious.
Putting Your Cards on the Table
Defiant Development did an excellent job creating the second chapter of this challenging board game expedition. I personally never delved into the first installment of Hand of Fate, but luckily that doesn’t matter much. The Dealer walks players through the basic mechanics in the introductory quest, erasing a substantial amount of imminent confusion.
Health, hunger and gold are the most significant features of gameplay to keep an eye on as the adventure unfolds. If your supply of food reaches zero, the hero begins to starve, thus generating a deterioration of life after every turn until more food is found or purchased.
Relying on luck of the draw from acquired cards proves that Lady Luck is either on your side or she isn’t. I discovered very early on that the randomized manner the Dealer places the cards can very well determine whether or not you’ll be successful. Sure, possessing strategy and skill are definitely relevant in Hand of Fate 2. Sometimes, being masterful can’t even dig you out of that hole your hero has dug themselves into. Sometimes, your luck is really just that terrible.
Retreating to Camp after a turn, though, offers the opportunity to eat food for life points or purchase or sell equipment. Every little bit helps.
The Cards Fall Where They May
The beautifully rendered environments where the action RPG combat transpires embellishes the gameplay a considerable amount. Staring at a mundane table covered in playing cards isn’t exactly appealing to the eye. Nonetheless, depending on what card I stumble upon depends on whether or not there’s a chance of a conflict arising. Sometimes, rolling a trio of dice and outmatching the set number on said card bypasses a combat scenario. Other times, wielding a weapon and strategically evading enemies is inevitable.
Though the mechanics of Hand of Fate 2’s combat aren’t perfect, battles are fairly straightforward.
When the first introductory quest is completed, the option to briefly customize a male or female hero becomes available. The Dealer also unveils a companion along with new encounters and an official view of the world map. Typically, multiple quests present themselves and others are unlocked as the hero prevails.
If you grow frustrated with a challenge and just can’t seem to prosper, sometimes the best option proves to be temporarily putting it on the back burner and attempting to succeed elsewhere. I cannot even begin to explain how incredibly infuriating it is to fail at the same scenario over and over again, just because good fortune is misplaced.
Bad Luck of the Draw
During one challenge early on in Hand of Fate 2, an array of blizzard encounter cards was scrambled with my chosen batch. If happened upon, these unfortunate climate-infused buggers deduct life points, sometimes up to 25 or more per occurrence. To stir the pot of tragedy even more, four cards present themselves: two of them success, one failure, and one huge failure. The Dealer now shuffles the cards hindering your fate. If the failure card abruptly shoves misery in your face, even more health is subtracted, and sometimes even an unwanted battle transpires. Why must life be so cruel? I just want to win.
To be honest, though, it’s the ruthless challenge that keeps me on my toes. There is nothing more maddening than doing so well and suddenly having your world turned upside down. When Hand of Fate 2 throws you one of many curveballs, switching up your encounter cards, equipment, or your companion could make a huge difference.
Unfortunately, though, your hand-picked equipment is scattered amongst the cards as well. It took me an annoying amount of time to comprehend why I didn’t begin my journey wielding my super powerful axe. Once again, my option was to rely on chance. Life goes on.
If you don’t happen to trust your diligent decision-making, a nifty little Goblin will build you a deck based on suggested cards. Even if your equipment and encounter cards are up to par, sometimes you just can’t evade choosing the short end of the stick. Better luck next time.
A Game of Chance
Hand of Fate 2 is as addicting as it is unforgiving. The ranking you get on a quest determines what cards are gifted to the hero. Trust me – it does make a difference. With a lot of trial and error, the light at the end of the tunnel becomes a little brighter. Though some aspects of the gameplay presumed to be a little unfair, the consistent challenge present throughout each scenario compelled me to try again. I have to admit, there is something extremely rewarding about triumphing in Hand of Fate 2’s brutal and beautifully rendered atmosphere.
Hand of Fate 2 is available via the Microsoft XBox Store, the Sony PlayStation Store and Steam.
Watch the official trailer for Hand of Fate 2 below: